Q is for Quiet Play Activities

15 quiet play activities fpr 2-5 year olds

As Immy has been transitioning from nap time to quiet time I have been mentally collecting ideas for activities that she can play with quietly and independently. How long a child will play independently with any of the ideas listed below will be influenced by their age, development, interest in the activity and how used to the idea they are of having ‘quiet time’ or playing independently.

Quiet Play Activities for 2+


1. Teddy Bears Picnic – pop down a picnic rug, toy tea set and your child’s favourite soft toy friends

quiet time play activities

2. Threading – try pipe cleaners and large holes for 2 year olds and fishing line or thin wire and smaller holes for children aged 3+

3. Puzzles – those which provide an appropriate level of challenge are great for any age.

4. Stickers and a sticker book, or sticker drawing.


5. Collage – with lightweight collage materials, a piece of thin card and a glue stick for minimal mess, or try this sticky backed paper collage. And this foil and tissue paper collage is good fun too!

quiet play activities

6. Play with playdough – vary your usual ‘tools’ to extend extend interest in the activity. Try sticks and other natural materials, or cupcake wrappers and candles, rubber stamps and rolling pins, items with interesting texture, or add your child’s favourite figurines. You’ll find my favourite homemade playdough recipe here.

7. Set up a simple rice play tub.

Quiet Play Activities for 3+

8. Felt or flannel board stories – one of my girls’ favourite activities!

9. Listen to a favourite story as an audio stories

10. Set them up with a simple sewing activities – you’ll find suggestions here, here, here, and here.

11. Try modelling with air dry clay (look for the less messy porcelain white option) or plasticine/modelling clay. Here are some ideas for modelling.

12. Watercolour painting – once a child has practiced the process of using watercolours it can become a very independent, low mess creative option for quiet play.

13. Block construction with their favourite construction set. Here are some great ideas for extending block play.

quiet play activity ideas

14. Figurines – add your child’s favourite figurines to a simple play scene.


15. Try one of these fun ideas for playing with toy cars.

What are your favourite quiet play time activities?

Learn-with-Play book

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  1. I like those quiet books I have seen people make – one day (in my spare time) I am going to make one of those. This is such an important part of teaching preschoolers – thanks for sharing it on our ABC’s!

  2. I like to save most of our quiet activities to wind down our day – you have a great selection here!

  3. Great ideas here!
    Our 2 year old loves quiet matching games. I found some large buttons and large pom poms in various bright colours. I cut strips of cardstock in the same colours then she matches then up….there is a link to a photo of her doing it a couple of months back here:
    When she tires of this one, I get her some various size bowls, then give her some small tongs or serving spoons and get her to match them up using these implements. Sometimes she just likes transferring them from the box they are stored in the the various sized bowls. A fun quiet activity!
    Lusi x

  4. Hello, this isn’t on point but I wanted to ask what your views were about having ipads, loaded with educational games, set out on a play table in kindergartens? They are being discussed (heatedly) by our committee and I wanted to get your view. Thanks!

    • I am no expert but have been looking into this on my blog. If you look at the following quote as a starting point for expert opinions
      and under my “Power of Playing” you may get some direction about where to look
      Good luck

    • Kaarina – personally I struggle with this idea. I disagree with the argument that children who do not have access to this technology from a young age will be left behind. I can see the place of an iPad as a tool for a teacher to work with a small group of children to access and share online information related to a topic of interest that they are learning about but not as a ‘play’ toy. Let children be children for as long as possible, and encourage them to be physically and socially active in play and learning, these would be my preferences to using iPads.

  5. These all look like great ideas! I’m going to have to come back to this post when Baby gets closer to 2. He’s 14 months now.

  6. All very interesting activities. I will have to bookmark this post (maybe not ….thnaks to Deborah) to revisit. Love the sewing baskets. I have not tried stickers yet….maybe I shoudl give them a try.

  7. My own son would play for hours with plastic animals and in the sandpit!

  8. I love this because my children have been on nap strike and I think its important to have some quiet time in the day. Will have to try theses with my kiddos

  9. Question… how do you get all 25 preschoolers to engage in quite time simultaneously? It’s okay, I know the answer, I am just dreaming. I like to have a small table set up just for ‘one’ everyday in my classroom. Children sometimes need moments to ‘check out’ and engage in quiet solitary play during the day. The preschool classroom can be a hectic place at times!

  10. Quiet play/time is often forgotten with the focus on so many other things to do in a day. It’s easy to forget that sometimes children just want to be, not be busy.
    Thank you :)

  11. My three year old has suddenly given up his nap too. I really wasn’t ready for it yet and it kind of caught me off guard. Thanks for this great list, now I don’t have to use my brain when it’s tired at “nap” time. :)

  12. Julia Elliott says:

    Any suggestions for a quiet center for a pre-k classroom when you are trying to avoid using cloth? We’ve had a problem with lice and i’m trying to avoid re-infestation! We had a really cute set up with a tent, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, puppetts, books, and more… But we’re afraid to put them back out since we’ve had to take them out every couple of weeks all year long. Any ideas?

  13. Lovely ideas. Keeping this post in mind for when baby #2 comes along next year and I’m juggling active toddler and sleepy newborn! Thank you.


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