Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Quiet Bag

Don't you just LOVE finding wonderful new blogs? Heaven only knows just how many blogs are out there, but I love finding encouraging blogs as well as blogs that will help me grow!!!

I always find challenging articles The Dead Theologian. But just the other day, I came across A Place of Quiet Rest. The blog as a whole is absolutely wonderful!!!! The article that stood out the most to me (probably because we are expecting to find out about our little Elizabeth any day now!!) is the article entitled The Quiet Bag. Just grab yourself a cup of tea and read what Heather has to share with us!! What a blessing!!!

Every so often I have an inspiration that proves to be very helpful to my family. One of my inspirations has been 'The Quiet Bag' and over the years it has been a wonderful blessing and 'mother's helper'! I have shared this idea with other moms of young children, and I wondered if it might be something helpful to some of you as well - or even a gift idea for some young family.

Last night we had two functions in a row where the children were required to sit quietly for long periods of time, our Dreamer's piano recital and the children's Christmas Program at church. It was definately a night to grab 'The Quiet Bag'. Not only was it helpful for our family, but several children in the pew with us enjoyed the contents of the bag - we were the quietest row in the church, I think!

Our bag is an old used leather 'one shoulder' backpack style bag which we used to use as a diaper bag, but anything durable and 'husband friendly' will do. The contents vary occasionally as I 'trade out' less popular items and try to keep a rotation of fresh things to do.

The rules are simple, everything in the bag must be 'quiet', not too heavy, and requires no parental instruction. There is no playing with the contents of the bag at home or even in the car, unless we are on a long trip. It is reserved for special occasions like sermon time, funerals, the Doctor's waiting room, a fancy restaurant, or an 'adult' function where they need to be seen, but not heard. At 9, The Dreamer is expected to listen to the sermon and take brief notes, follow in the Scripture reading and sing in church, but there are still times when it is too much to expect her to be still for the length of time needed, so she enjoys "The Quiet Bag' too.

Now for the contents! We have a variety of things, but these are our favorites. Many have been purchased at the gift shop in Cracker Barrel's Old Country Store, at Wal*Mart, the Dollar Store and in educational type toy stores. There are no batteries or sound producing toys, nothing sticky, messy or glittery. Most of what we have was inexpensive, and of course has changed to be 'age appropriate' as the children have grown.

*Wikki Stix (these are so fun, but get sticky in warm weather, so they only get added to the bag in cooler months)

*Mini Etch-A-Sketch

* Mini Magna-Doodle

*Silly Putty

*Felt Story People, Fuzzy Felts or Felt Kids (a small felt board)

*Magnetic books (Construction set, Thomas the Tank Engine, Horses etc.)

*Sticker books (we like the little Dover books)

*Magnet face 'Willy' - where you use a 'wand' to put 'hair' on Willy

* 1/2 sheets of cardstock paper and mini paint sets (for in restaurants)

*Fun Pad, mini coloring books, maze books

*Fabric Activity Books

*Flip-A-Fish and The Peanut Game ( they are pretty quiet ;0)

*Magnetic Car Bingo

*Brain Quest games

*A mini photo album of family and friends

* Hand sanitizer, a small first aid kit, kleen-x, and dried fruit snacks complete the bag

We have had hours of quiet fun with this bag. When I was describing our use of 'The Quiet Bag' to the young mom beside us last evening, she was very positive and encouraging. I think she was planning to put together a bag for her own young boys. I decided that since she thought it was such a great idea, you might find it useful information too!

Click here to go visit Heather!!


Kelli said...

Oh, Mrs. U, how exciting that you may hear about your little Elizabeth soon!!! How wonderful!! I will be praying for you and your family! I'm also very glad to hear you have discovered Heather's blog! She is so sweet and her blog is one of my very favorites!!!

theups said...

Hi Kelli!!!
THANK YOU for the prayers!!

Heather's blog is sooo very encouraging!! I really appreciate her sharing her life!!

Mrs. U

Julieann said...

I know what you mean about so many wonderful blogs!!!

Hoping this comment goes through, I have been reading, but blogger hasn't let me comment for awhile on your blog:(


Mimi said...

The Quiet Bag is a great idea!

I'm so glad that people are talking
about how to train little ones to entertain themselves quietly in situations where silence is called for. I'm glad that practical ideas like this one are being shared.

I think many moms need help in this area; I've talked to quite a few who don't even know that young children can be taught to sit still and quietly entertain themselves. Since they don't even have it as a goal in their minds, they are caught unprepared in situations where it's necessary for little ones to silent.

As an old dinosaur, I can remember being taught this from a very young age. It worked, except for one time when I was about three. A little friend of mine was sitting next to her mom and I, next to mine. She randomly leaned over to me and told me, in a voice loud enough for the whole church to hear, excatly how old her mother was. It's a funny thing, but for several years after that, my mother never told me exactly how old she was. LOL.

I am sympathetic here. From having young children of my own, I know that helping healthy, energetic, toddlers and preschoolders be appropriately quiet can be challenging! But, it's well worth the effort. It's not only considerate of others, it teaches children valuable lessons about respect, concentration, and self-control.


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