She Says… Quiet Play

Something magical has happened at our house recently, friends. I hesitate to even write about it, lest I jinx it. BUT… I think I have seen the beginnings of “quiet, independent play” going on.

Many of you who have children with different temperaments may read this post and say to yourselves, “Ha! My kid did that ages ago!”. Well, while Owen has been ahead of the curve in many areas of development, playing alone has not been one of them.

The kid is an extravert through and through. He wants to talk through what he’s seeing and experiencing. He wants to SHARE it with you. He wants you to share your every thought with HIM. He wants you to sit right next to him and talk and chat and ask questions and have them answered and sing you a song and have you sing a song and make funny faces and bring you toys and ask you how they work and investigate them right next to you and tell you what he’s figured out but DO NOT DARE GET UP AND WALK AWAY BECAUSE THAT IS AGAINST THE RULES.

He’s never been one to sit on his own and flip through books. No, he wants to sit right in your lap and have you read and point and ask questions (about a million “What’s dat?”s per page, which has now morphed into “What’s his/her name?”s). To Owen, there is nothing interesting about a book until someone is engaging with him about it.

Believe me. I’ve tried.

We are constantly trying to “work on” this skill. I love Owen’s personality and his amazing mind and his ability to connect with people in an incredible way, even from a very young age. I love watching him learn new techniques of asking a question so he gets the right answer and I can clearly see that all of this talking and engaging we’ve been doing has helped him grow and learn in countless ways. But! However! Sometimes, I need a break. And sometimes, there are times when there just isn’t someone around to engage and entertain and play and read and share and sing. And those times with Owen can be a struggle.

But recently I’ve seen some growth in this area. Granted, all of these pictures were taken when I was sitting right next to him and engaging when needed (and things like painting need quite a bit of supervision at this age). But I have been making a conscious effort to find activities that I can get him started on and then back away slowly. He’s beginning to spend more time on certain activities and once he’s wrapped up in them, I find I can extricate myself and he barely notices. This could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Baby steps, people!

Reading on the train:


Stickers on the train (this book of reusable stickers by Melissa & Doug has provided many hours of entertainment so far!):


Painting with dotters (these “do a dot art” things are amazing for toddlers, by the way!):



Painting with paint (we have the Melissa & Doug easel and easel accessory set and love, love, love it — especially the no-spill paint cups and jumbo brushes!):




Playing various games with “memory” cards:



We have a long way still to go on this skill, but I can already seem some wonderful things about what being 2 years old will bring.

Longer attention span? Check!


9 responses to “She Says… Quiet Play

  1. Kate – What are the paint containers you are using? I’m always hesitant to paint because it’s such a huge mess (which I know it part of the fun, but seriously, it’s a pain). I’d probably do it more often if I could make the mess a bit more manageable…. And do you have a link to these “dotters”?

  2. My kid is such an independent player that she’ll get mad if you watch her. She has even started crying if my husband dared to go sit with her when she was reading books to herself. She’s very, very private haha.

    The secret life of toddlers!

  3. Actually I did find the dotters on amazon, but many reviews said they were not washable and stained their kids hands and clothes. Yikes. Have you had any issues with them?

  4. I definitely use the back away technique with Eli. I’ll start him on an activity, like Legos or Play Doh and then I’ll quietly walk away. He usually doesn’t notice until he wants to show me what he’s made, and even then, he usually just wants to show me and then I can back away again.

  5. Cameron is just like Owen in this way – constantly says, “sit Mommy” on the floor with him do to x,y,z. It’s really hard! I always struggle with the “he doesn’t see me all day” component during the week, so I want to sit and play with him, but it’s makes it hard when I’m also trying to get supper on the table. I have noticed some big improvements lately though as well. I think it must be the age. He actually stopped protesting the other day when I insisted that would be there “in a minute” when I finished cleaning the kitchen. I was floored that he accepted it and didn’t start whining! He also gets the “I’ll be right back” part if I have to get up for whatever reason – put the dog out, answer the phone, stir the pot on the stove etc.

  6. Hi all, in response to the questions about where I got these items, I just updated the posts with direct links to the items in our Amazon store. I buy everything on Amazon!

    As for the dotters staining, we haven’t had an issue with this. We have the “Rainbow 6 pack”, which is washable, but apparently the “Brilliant”, “Flourescent” and “Shimmer” packs are NOT washable. Oof, that would be a dangerous mistake to make. Get the Rainbow pack and you should be all set. That said, I still stripped Owen down, did this project outside on the deck and put him straight in the bath when he was finished 🙂

  7. May I recommend “water painting”? I visited a friend with 5 year-old twins recently who gave all the kids buckets of water and big paintbrushes. Your deck, there, made me think of it. They loved to taking a big house-painting kind of brush and just “painting” the railings of the deck, the deck itself, making designs in on the sidewalk, etc. It seemed pretty engrossing for them, and requires less supervision than painting with paints.

  8. Yes! I remember with my first, when he hit 2 things became easier in a way, he was way more independent with play. I was 6 months pregnant at the time, so that was comforting. It worked out so well, I purposely planned my third pregnancy to happen when my 2nd son was 2 years and 2 months old, perfect age gap! hope it goes well this time!

  9. It amazes me how so many of your posts are exactly on que with what we are experiencing with our little bean. She is just a couple weeks younger, but somehow is on a similar developmental pattern. I LOVE the independant play times we get…even if it is only 5 minutes, it is somehow ‘better’. Don’t get me wrong I love to sit and play and interact….but sometimes mommy need a break!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s