There are certain times of day that are a challenge in our household, and the hour before dinner has always been the most difficult one for me. I’ve got a new tool to help keep the sanity while I’m trying to get dinner on the table. My friend Erin recently told me about “Quiet Bins.” The name alone appealed to me – I loved the idea before I even knew what they were!
The concept is actually really simple – fill a bin with all the materials needed for a fun, engaging project or activity that will keep your little ones entertained for a while. When the kids are getting a bit out of control and need some downtime, just whip out a bin, and let them get creative. This lets the kids wind down and focus their energy on a quiet activity, rather than racing around the house and fighting with each other, which is our usual pre-dinner routine. Hah!
Erin told me about Sarah Noftle’s e-book, A Year of Educational Quiet Bins, and it was full of ideas for different quiet bins. The possibilities are endless, if you’ve got some craft supplies and a bit of creativity! I made a couple of quiet bins the other night, to get us through a tough week (both of the kids have colds – and so do I). The first bin idea was inspired the book: cut out rainbow arches out of construction paper, toss them all in the bin with some glue sticks and plain paper. We’ve done this activity twice so far this week, and the girls loved it. They had a ton of fun fishing around the bin for the different colored arches, but the best part was the gluing.
I filled another bin with a cutting project – some safety scissors, rubber bands, construction paper, a bit of yarn, brown paper bags, and some plastic straws. All the items in the bin can be snipped up, and they’re all different textures and materials. My kids are obsessed with scissors, so I expect this one to be a big hit (and a bit messy, but if it keeps the peace during dinner prep, I’m all about it!).
I think these simple little bins are really going to change our late afternoons for the better! I love how long these activities keep the girls entertained. Even I was engrossed! I have a list of different bin ideas that I’ve stashed away in our basket of craft supplies, so I can refresh the bins when the girls need something new!
How do you keep the peace in your house during your kids’ cranky time of day? What works for you?