Quiet Time Bins

Meet my newest mothering helps:


Aren't they lovely? What's that… you want to know what they actually are?

These are the newest addition to my arsenal of tools that I am using to make portions of our daily routine run that much smoother. To my 4 yr old daughter, they are her "quiet time bins". To my 22 mth old, they are simply a fun container of toys that Mommy puts in front of him.

They were initially inspired by an article in Above Rubies, on what to do with little ones while homeschooling. One idea was to create bins with entertaining toys and activities for toddlers, with a different one to pull out for each day of the week. The idea was further inspired by seeing Crystal's bins for her daughter's quiet times- activities that she can do during the 1-2 hours that she spends in her room each afternoon (this is similar to what we do with our daughter).


Abbie helped me put them all together and choose some of the activities. She also traced each of the days of the week, for both sets of bins and helped me tape them on.


Here is a glimpse into a few of Abbie's bins: One has drawing and coloring supplies, another has beading materials, and another has a wooden dress up "doll". Each bin also has 2-3 books that she enjoys.


Here are two of Caden's bins. The first contains measuring cups and colorful counting bears. The second is wooden clothes pins and yogurt containers. His other bins have similar types of creative toys to keep a toddler occupied. All of his bins have 2 board books (read: indestructible) as well.

We've been using Abbie's bins for a week now, and they have definitely helped her to look forward to her quiet times and stay better occupied, and they are also simple for her to clean up afterwords.

Caden's will be implemented this week, as I will be training him to have a "playpen" time (working my way up to 30 minutes at a time) each morning while I do home education (learning time, as we say in our family) with Abbie. He will be given one bin to play with while he stays put in his playpen, which will free me to help Abbie with things like her printing, math, etc.

Are any of you using bin systems like this? What do you use them for and what types of activities do you have in them?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. We have a bin of Busy Bags. Just search “Busy Bags” online and you’ll find hundreds of cheap, easy ways to entertain little ones! We also did a Busy Bag exchange so I only had to make 1 type of busy bag (but I did make 25!) A favorite is sorting colored paper clips into plastic 1 oz cups marked with a single polka dot (which matches one of the colors of paper clips). My 4 year old still does that one!

  2. I am trying this idea, but my 3 year old doesn’t want to play very long or at all with the things I have put in them. He doesn’t like to play by himself either and I’m working on that. Sigh!


  1. […] Archer refused to nap once he started staying home full time with me. I fought him on it until several weeks after Ellison was born . I stopped trying to make him nap and life got easier in some respects, but clearly we both needed a break during the day. I recently implemented quiet time during which he gets to play with a special “quiet time activity bin“. […]

  2. […] Also, stop by Keeper of the Home to see how Stephanie uses quiet time bins for her two older children as well as what is included in each bin. click here to repin from the original source :: image credit […]

  3. […] We used this concept for a few years and it worked well for us. Find more ideas for Quiet Time Bins at: ::Keeper of the Home […]

  4. […] surfing the internet for ideas on how to get the girls to play independently.  I found blog posts (here, here, and here), talked to friends, brainstormed, and came up with a new addition to our day.  […]

  5. […] 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 […]

  6. […] Nesting is kicking into full swing.  Monday morning I woke up in such a panic about life, especially life with soon-to-be-four little ones, that I couldn’t go back to sleep (not that I’m sleeping much anyways with all the potty breaks and 365-point turns to trade from one aching hip to the other during the night).  I realized that I need to be MUCH more organized with our days here at home for us to survive.  I also need to continue working during the afternoons, but don’t want to be dependent on the TV to entertain my kids so I can get things done.  So, I researched and came across this fabulous post from Keeper of the Home on “Quiet Time Bins.” […]

  7. […] after seeing this example I set off collecting bins from various closets around my house and collecting the goodies to put […]

  8. […] See how Stephanie implemented this in her home. […]

  9. […] creating less mess. We’ve done variations of this in our home with great success. See how Stephanie implemented this in her home. Friend Toy SwapThis idea came from The Bargain Shopper Lady:My boys started a “friend toy […]