10 amazing Montessori-inspired activities for quiet time

Have you reached that milestone that nearly every parent dreads? No matter how prepared you are, no matter how long you've been putting off accepting it, you have to finally face the fact that your child is ready to drop their nap. Since infancy you were likely using that break in the day for a little "me" time, but luckily that doesn't need to stop with the end of daily naps. Implementing a quiet time in your day has tremendous benefits for you and your child. Although they may be done sleeping, that doesn't mean that they can't have a break from the hustle and bustle of the day.

In a Montessori classroom you can typically find what is referred to as a "transitional shelf." This shelf holds toys and materials that are not your classic Montessori materials, but instead are things that are likely familiar to children (Lego bricks, wooden puzzles, lacing cards, etc.), and that they can work with on their own. Often this shelf is used for children just joining the classroom, as well as for children who no longer nap but need quiet independent activities to do while others sleep. With a little bit of practice and some prep work, you can build quiet time into your routine using some things commonly found on these shelves.

The internet is full of ideas for activities to set up for your child during quiet time, but if you are in need of some materials that are ready to use right out of the box we've got you covered!

Here are 10 Montessori activities that are quiet, mess-free, and can be done independently.


Foam magnets for quiet time

Children just seem drawn to the magic of magnets, trying them on various surfaces then sticking them over and over. This set of magnets comes with enough to rotate what you have available to keep it exciting. Giving your child a cookie sheet to stick the magnets on makes this a simple and quiet activity that can be used in any room.

Busy Book

Busy book for quiet time

Typically advertised as a car or airplane activity, a busy book can be great for quiet time at home too. With 9 different activities all contained in one book, your child will be learning practical skills while quietly enjoying this toy. Reviewers rave about the durability of this book, and love that it comes with a bag allowing it to be thrown into the washer.

Reusable stickers

Reusable stickers for quiet time

These colorful and exciting stickers stick easily and can be pulled up to stick again and again. The stickers come with multiple activity pads to encourage independent and quiet play. While having fun with the stickers your child is also improving their hand-eye coordination, practicing fine motor movements, and building their creative expression skills.

Felt board

Felt board for quiet time

With over 100 pieces of felt, a child-sized felt board, and wiggly eyes, this felt kit will get a lot of use. A great no-mess and quiet activity, felt boards can be used to make stories, build creatures, practice color and shape recognition, and more! Reviewers say children as young as two and as old as six can have fun with this activity.

Lacing cards

Lacing cards for quiet time

You'll find some form of lacing cards in nearly every Montessori preschool classroom. They're an amazing activity for many reasons, and having them as an option during quiet time is perfect. This set features a familiar character and comes with 10 sturdy cards and laces to provide hours of entertainment. Lacing cards help develop dexterity, sequencing, and fine motor skills through independent work.


Loom for quiet time

This large weaving loom may take a little adult guidance and teaching to start, but once your child gets the hang of it they can spend hours independently working with it. The kit includes an adjustable wooden loom, an oversized wooden needle, craft materials, a design book, and 91 yards of rainbow yarn. Multiple reviewers said that they ended up using it just as much as their child, so be ready for the whole family to take on a new hobby with this loom kit.

Cassette player for books on tape

Cassette player for quiet time

Although you can get audio books through the library or Audible, there is something unique about having a special device that plays them for you. This affordable (and retro) cassette player is easy to use and perfect for introducing your child to audio books. Amazon has a variety of children's books on cassette to use with this player. Headphones will need to be purchased separately if you want this to be a truly quiet activity.

Magnet tiles

Magnet tiles for quiet time

Magnet tiles, along with other building materials, are the perfect quiet time activity. They are open-ended, encourage independence and are just plain fun! This set of magnet tiles comes with nearly 100 pieces and has two car bases for even more building options. This kit is compatible with other magnet tiles and is guaranteed to provide endless entertainment.

Spelling puzzle

Spelling puzzle for quiet time

A Melissa & Doug classic, these puzzle boards are fun and educational. With over 50 colorful wooden puzzle pieces your child can practice spelling 3 and 4 letter words independently during quiet time. This set helps develop fine motor skills in a fun and unique way plus it can be used by multiple children at once. With 16 words to spell you will get a lot of play out of this.

I Spy riddle book

I Spy riddle book for quiet time

I Spy picture books aren't just for the doctor's office waiting room, they're great to keep around for quiet time. As one Amazon reviewer says, "The beauty of these books... is that when the initial riddle is solved, there are still extra credit riddles in the back, as well as countless other games of varying degrees of difficulty any imaginative parent or child can create. Readers of all ages, distracted by the bright, eye-catching objects, may find the challenge surprisingly difficult, and will delight in finding something new with every reading." (Ages 3 to 7.)


Timer for quiet time

This easy to use visual timer can be a great tool during independent quiet time. You can set the timer for up to 60 minutes and your child is able to see the red disk slowly disappearing as their quiet time is happening. This can be especially useful for a child still working on their independent play skills.