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Dear friends,



I'm looking for independent activity ideas for children in a quiet classroom. Please can you help me?


These first few weeks have been educational and even after a few years in the business the children continue to surprise and delight me! Initial observations have been interesting as the childrens characters are understood and all the details of who prefers to do what, where and how become evident. What to do when three children will not change for PE, from their point of view why even ask?!!!


Right now, my mind has gone blank as I try to think of stimulating, effective, motovational activities to get our reception children interested in the curriculum esp Lit and PSR&N. This has an obvious answer as there are many places to explore HOWEVER there are four classrooms for Reception in our setting and my class is the 'quiet class' with much less noise than the other three (where construction, painting, colouring, jigsaws, playdough, roleplay, sand and water trays etc) are available.


My class is for those who learn best in this 'less noisy' environment and also for children to filter from the other three classes in a 'free flow' environment as we have 118 on roll. I would be grateful for any ideas on what to give the children pref that they can eventually do independently so that I can continue observing and stretching them rather than myself for a change.


Ideas for stimulating activities in quiet class - no (glupy) mess aloud!

Writing corner : to consist of tracing cards, photocopies of colouring pages for sounds of the week,

felt tips, crayons, coloured pencils? and where do people get an endless supply of

envelops and other stationary materials?


Reading area: books, book box, display, tape recorder, CD & headphones, magazines/newspapers

and magnifying glass to find sounds in print, binoculars to find sounds and symbols in

and around the unit, teddies: and that's another point, my active full of

energy children use these larger than life fluffy toys to jump on, poor rabbit when he

had a 4 year old launching from a height to pound him or whatever the WWR term is.

I'll have no Igglepiggle or makka pakker for the rest of the year either if they carry

on. We have since had a discussion about this but wow I certainly wasn't expecting

the children to be that imaginative/physical in play!


I have three activity tables and the big floor space that can't get dirty. We provide

such a wide curriculum I know I can do much better than I am already, just asking for

advice. In some ways I feel I'm competing for children to stay in my classroom rather

than have 30 dribble in throughout the day.


Thank you in advance for any ideas you can provide, I am very grateful



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Sorry, dori - am having trouble coming to grips with the term 'quiet classroom'! :o


I'm in pre-school so not of much help - but I'm sure the teachers on here will be rushing towards you with words of wisdom!



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sorry I'm just having difficulty trying to understand your set up. You mention other classrooms as having painting, puzzles, etc.. is there any reason why you can't have the same kinds of things?

You could try and get some children involved in a long term project, large scale junk models, a wall hanging, making a map, clay modelling, just an idea! And as it would be a long term project they would come back to your classroom frequently over a period of time to continue their work. And try to ensure they understand your classroom is for quiet activities and for concentrating. In my experience children are at their quietest when their concentration is fully focussed on something they want to do.

You need to either give them an interesting starting point for a project (robots, make believe, water etc..) or take some of their interests, develop their ideas and see where it goes.

Art is usually a good quiet activity. Could your classroom become a studio? Art is a good way for the children to express their feelings and understandings. And to bring in literacy the children could be asked to write critiques of the work produced, labels for art work, descriptions, keep a diary of the work they are doing, plan what they are going to do, record their thoughts and feelings.

good luck with things,


em x

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Hi there Dori

we have such a room in our nursery called the 'quiet room' I don't think it has ever been that but we do try! Basically a place where the children go if they want to 'chil' out. I have just been to IKEA this weekend and bough a large floor lamp so that we can turn the overhead lights off and have 'warmer' /more cosy lighting. I'd love some lava lamps as they would add interest. We do have a light box and a little trolley with drawes that have light box materials in for the children to explore. We also have a CD playing chill out/classical music to give an ambience to the room. There are finger puppets, books, large chiffon scarves if the children want to explore dance and story sacks. Plus a few scatter cushions and blankets.

hope this helps

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Think if i have understood your set up that the children can choose which of the four rooms they want to work in and so choose the quiet room less frequently - your dilemma being how to make it more enticing and how to encourage appropriate use.


we have two large rooms in our FSU both with carpetted and 'wet' ends. Our busy room has large block play, RP, soft play, maths provision, art & craft... Our quiet room has literacy provision, and exploratory provision - water, sand, dough, science table. The quiet room usually quieter both in volume and in number of children using it - think this goes with the territory! but we do capitalise on teh opportunity to do more small group focussed work in this room, whereas adults tend to take more of the observing and supporting child-initiated play in the busy room.


we are very clear with our children so if they were bouncing about on teh teddies they would be given the choice to work quietly or go outside/ to soft play to bounce about.


we recently decided to focus on the writing table as this was hardly being used - we planned a card making activity and placed an adult in this area for most of teh week - luckily for us children have to flow through this room to go outside so lots of opportunities to remind chidlren of the activity taking place and encourage them to come and have a go.


why not use your large floor space for small construction / small world play - lots of opportunity for links to the book corner through retelling and creating own stories, also mark making - creating own floor maps and signs for the small world. small world play is usually really popular in our setting particularly when it has plenty of space.

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Unfortunately the room should not include messy play paint, modelling glue/paste that kind of thing but I think your suggestion is brilliant. I'm restricted alot but am grateful for your idea. I will print it out for future reference.

Thank you


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My preschool children used to love concentrating (quietly) on weaving.

Paper strips to weave, large scale weaving lengths of ribbon, wool, string etc through a section of that orange uilders yard plastic fencing. Using a miniture childrens weaving loom.

How about getting someone in to teach them how to knit?

Sewing, pom pom making.

Lots of fine motor skills and perseverence through concentration. :oxD



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He he - made me think of a visit from our area lead teacher a couple of years ago when she suggested we get some 'noisy books' for our quiet area to stimulate the children more - don't think she'd got the point really!

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where do people get an endless supply of

envelops and other stationary materials?


Our school office saves all the envelopes from each day's post and passes them on to us - the children especially like the padded ones annd the 'please do not bend ones'. They don't mind that they're recycled!!

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