I orginally wrote this piece for Motherly.
Ah, the toddler stage, a stage where every bit of your routine can be thrown out the window in an instance as your child explores their newfound independence. This newfound independence can mean fewer naps, shorter naps, or gasp the dreaded time of no naps at all. It's a hard pill to swallow when your toddler starts phasing out of their naps. For most moms, naps are a convenient time to get work done or at the very least have a few moments to eat and go to the bathroom. While your toddler may grow out of naps, quiet time is still possible! With the right tools, you can encourage independent play and creativity for your child in a calm setting.
Here are five quiet toys that can foster your child's independence while improving their cognitive development and fine motor skills.
This washable fabric book involves nine Montessori-related activities, and the best part is everything is attached to the book! This book allows children to work on their fine mother skills while learning about shapes and numbers through play! You don't have to worry about missing pieces or your child putting anything into their mouth. These books are geared towards older toddlers and compact enough to stuff in a diaper bag for on-the-go play! Get it on Amazon
Put your toddler in front of a tissue box, and I can guarantee they will be pulling every single tissue out. Given how wasteful and messy this can be, I understand why this is something parents avoid. However, sensory toys have come a long way, and now you can buy this awesome cloth tissue box filled with colorful scarves. Now your child can enjoy playing this over and over! This sensory box teaches children cause and effect while engaging their senses in touch, sound, and sight. Get it on Amazon
Puzzles are a great teaching tool for children. From sorting to matching to shapes to colors, and so much more! Chunky puzzles from Melissa & Doug are my favorite when it comes to toddler quiet time. The chunky wood pieces make it easy for tiny toddler hands to grasp each piece, and due to their size, they can also double as independent play pieces. A toy that can be multipurpose is always beneficial to a child's developing imagination. Get it on Amazon
Toddlers love lift-the-flap-books! The Dear Zoo book is a personal favorite for my three children. My toddler can "read" and re-read this thing over and over again! Lift-the-flap books are great for toddler's fine motor skills. Interactive books like these are a favorite amongst toddlers due to the surprise element after lifting the flap and the sense of control they feel in doing so. They also tend to include illustrations of themes your child may be interested in, such as animals. Get it on Amazon
These blocks can connect and stack in various ways, allowing your child to create, imagine and build without restriction. These sensory blocks have high contrast colors while being made of interesting textures. Get it on Amazon