10 fantastic quiet activities for toddlers who refuse to nap

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If you’re looking for quiet activities for kids to keep your little ones occupied in church, on roundtrips, in the classroom, or on days they simply refuse to nap but need a little downtime, this collection of ideas is for you. Perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, these simple learning activities will keep your kids entertained and quiet while simultaneously developing their fine motor skills and giving you a breather.

Does your child still nap? Mine doesn’t. She was kind enough to give that fantastic habit up without any warning to me only a few months after her second birthday.

Sigh.

I remember feeling really desperate in those first few weeks when my afternoons of 2+ hours of uninterrupted work time came to a drastic end, but over time I came to realize that life as a parent is actually EASIER once your kids stop napping. We were no longer tied to a strict schedule, enjoyed an earlier bedtime, and life just seemed…better once the obsession with naps were out of the way.

The only problem is, there were still many days when my daughter needed some quiet time to help her recharge before we tackled our afternoon errands, and while her beloved iPad, LeapPad, puzzles, and books did the trick for a few days, she soon grew bored of those things and started pulling at my legs for other things to play with.

Of course, my daughter does not like to color, paint, or do anything else crafty, so most of the fun stuff I find on Pinterest does not interest her, but over time I found some great quiet activities for toddlers that did the trick.

And since I know there are other moms out there who struggle with nap time just like I did when my daughter transitioned from being a complacent infant to a crazed toddler, I decided to share 10 of my favorite quiet activities for toddlers who refuse to nap.

If you’re looking for quiet activities for kids to keep your little ones occupied in church, on roundtrips, in the classroom, or on days they simply refuse to nap but need a little downtime, this collection of ideas is for you. Perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, these simple learning activities will keep your kids entertained and quiet while simultaneously developing their fine motor skills and giving you a breather.

I tried to include a good mix to cover the two- to three-year range, so some of these may be too basic for your kids, while others may be too advanced, but I’m sure you’ll find at least a few ideas in here to help maintain your sanity on nap-free days. If not, check out the books 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments, and 150 Screen-Free Activities for Kids. They are LOADED with fabulous ideas to keep you and your little ones entertained for hours on end!

1. Grab a large, clear plastic bottle, some rice, and a bunch of small toys and make one of these fabulous DIY I-Spy Bottles by Meet the Dubiens!

2. Get out the felt and make some of your own felt activities. Don’t know where to start? I really like the Felt Button Snake by Happy Hooligans, the Pizza Pizza Busy Bag by My Little Sonbeam, and the Caterpillar Busy Bag by Toddler Approved!

3. Clean out an old yogurt container, grab some pom poms, and make this DIY Pushing Puff Balls toy by Fun and Engaging Activities for Toddlers.

4. Make some of these fantastic Quiet Time Boxes I found on Teaching Mama!

5. Grab a few foam sheets, a hole punch, and some shoe laces and make this easy DIY Foam Lacing Shapes Activity I found on Powerful Mothering.

6. Make some busy bags! There are SO MANY busy bag ideas on Pinterest, but I particularly like this collection of busy bags I found on Sweet Charli because they are engaging and easy to make. Also? The supplies needed to make them will not require you to take out a second mortgage on your home. Score!

7. Pull a few old cans out of your recycling bin, grab some ribbon and popsicle sticks, and make some of these fabulous (and engaging!) DIY Baby and Toddler Toys I found over on The Imagination Tree!

8. Get out the poster board, clothes pins, paint, and markers and make this Color Matching Game by Early Activities & Projects, which will keep your child busy for ages! And as she grows, you can do so many more things with this concept, including a letter wheel and a number wheel!

9. Grab some plastic buckles, ribbon, and fabric and make one of these amazing DIY Clipping Toys I found on Kids Activities Blog.

10. Need an excuse to buy some Pringles? Of course you do! So grab your favorite flavor, eat them all in one sitting while simultaneously enjoying a few of my Adult Popsicles, wash out the container, and make one of these fantastic DIY Pringle Can Pipe Cleaner Color Sort Toys I found on Learning With Bella!

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If you liked this collection of quiet activities, please share it on Pinterest!

If you’re looking for quiet activities for kids to keep your little ones occupied in church, on roundtrips, in the classroom, or on days they simply refuse to nap but need a little downtime, this collection of ideas is for you. Perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, these simple learning activities will keep your kids entertained and quiet while simultaneously developing their fine motor skills and giving you a breather.

And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun with your kids, please follow our Kids board where we share all kinds of great ideas!



Gwen
Gwen
Gwen is a 40-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 8-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.