Guest Post: Keeping Kids Occupied While You Get Organized

Guest Post by Katie from Frugal Femina

When I first started Frugal Femina, I read about people making quiet time bins for their kiddos. Mainly Stephanie from Keeper of the Home, Crystal from Money Saving Mom (she posted about them on her old blog), and Above Rubies (which one of the ladies at church sweetly provides for us each time a new issue comes out).
Always on the lookout for new toddler activities (!!), I immediately went to Big Lots and bought 7 plastic bins–each the size of a shoe box. That gave me one box for each day of the week. I bought a few little toys/books to use, but mostly I just gathered up some things that had been in the car or the bottom of Bradley’s toy box. He hadn’t seen them in a while, so he would think they were new. 🙂 I really wanted several books in there because Bradley loves to read, and it was kind of hard to find books that were small enough to fit into the shoe box. At least in our stash. So that’s the main reason I ended up purchasing a few things.
I made up some labels for the days of the week with some colored paper I already had (from long before I had a kiddo and was somewhat crafty). I taped the labels on with my free CVS tape–which is, unfortunately, another thing Bradley loves. That and dental floss. Then I put everything in the boxes, trying to group things in a way that would keep him interested.

But would he use the boxes since we had never had a quiet time before? Well, let me just avoid the suspense and tell you. Yes! He loves them! I put the box on the table one day, explained to him that Mama was going to work for a little bit, and he went right to it. The next day he said, “Quiet time, Mama?” He was hooked!
This boy kind of likes routine, so I had a great one worked out for us this summer. It has kind of fallen by the wayside since I started back to school, but he still asks for quiet time. I usually exercise or work on my couponing while he’s busy playing. Usually for about 30-60 minutes. Since there’s a new batch of toys each day, he doesn’t get tired of them. And when I had a touch of the flu recently, I put all the bins out on the bed, and he played happily for quite a while.

Here’s a quick peek into two of our boxes. We have books, stickers, crayons, paper, tools, a coloring book, a little magnetic farm, a harmonica, flash cards, random toys from McDonald’s, etc.
When we’re all done, I ask him to put everything back in the box, and we put it back on the shelf. I consider it just another little tool in my Mama bag-of-tricks. It was easy to put together, and I think we both enjoying knowing we’ll have that time each day.
Do you have any similar activities that help you throughout the day? Please share them with us by leaving a comment or linking to your post!

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