What to Do After Naps?

Updated on October 22, 2009
J.H. asks from Littleton, CO
9 answers

I'm struggling with what to do with my boys after their afternoon naps (usually around 3pm). In the summer we always play outside until dinner. With the changing weather, the time between naps and dinner (or whenever my husband gets home) is so challenging. What are some things you do with your young children at this time of day? They seem so active at this time, and by then, my patience and creativity is usually running low. Thanks!

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answers from Seattle on

You can always use that time to run errands. I know my kids like to get out of the house and it uses up large chunks of time. Window shop if you don't want to spend money, or there is the library (this is great even at a young age), or the park, or wander through the toy store and let them look at and touch all the toys, or the dollar store and they get to pick out one item to buy.

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answers from Denver on

I don't know if you've heard these already, but here it goes. We have hardwood floors, so we let the kids ride (or push toys, when they were learning how to walk) trikes and scooters when the weather gets cold. For the most part my kitchen/dining room/great rooms seem like the Indy 500, but I can get some work done. Also, I rotate toys in and out, so old toys feel like new.



answers from Denver on

I have always found that building a fort with chairs and blankets to be a nice break from the monotony. Once it's built, my kids actually play well together and make up their own fun. Good luck! The end of the day has always been a challenge for me, too.



answers from Salt Lake City on

You can bundle them up suitable to the weather and take them out to play still. They will learn so much from watching the leaves change and experiencing the changing seasons. Maybe plan a dinner a few times a week that doesn't take a lot of prep time, or that you can do while they're still napping, to free up your time for them when they wake up. Crock pots are great for this.

(Just one idea, I saw other great ones too!)


answers from Great Falls on

We do playdoh time, I have a yoga kids video that my girls love doing (they are 3 and 2), if you have the space for larger toys in a playroom we bring some of our outside toys in. We have brought in the basketball hoop and small slide. And you can turn your blowup pool into a ball pit. The big bags of 100+ balls are very cheap! If you have an unfinished basement you can put down the foam floor and really go to town! We also make birthday, Christmas, Halloween cards too. HTH



answers from Colorado Springs on

CANDYLAND! They've got a floor game. You (or them, expend some of that energy) set out rubber mats as game pieces, pop in the DVD & the candy lady (forgot who she is) tells you what color. You can help them learn their colors at the same time. If you've got a video gaming system, they've all got some sort of dance (DDR, Dance Factory, etc) thing now, invest in that-great for rainy days too.
You can bundle up & go to a park-nobody will be there & if you bundle up enough you can play for a good long while.



answers from Great Falls on

J H, even when it was minus 43 cold, I still took my kids outside, to play and run a little - they definitely need to get their energy out: then, they are able to focus on quiet games later. If it is raining - rubber boots, umbrellas, and walking splashing in puddles is a fun activity also: just make sure they stay warm and dry! :) HAVE FUN, DEAR ONES!



answers from Denver on

We have a structured morning with pre-school activities, and any appointments that may need to be done. For my 1 yo we watch Your Baby Can Read as well as she watches big brother's Pre-k stuff. It helps, though, that I have a 6yo also doing school. The littler ones are allowed free play in their bedrooms or the school room (limited toys, mostly books). After naps is true free play when any of the kids can go to the play room or out side. I still have my 6 yo and my 3 yo bundle up to go outside for at least an hour. Sometimes that takes 2 hours to make happen depending on how willing they are to be bundled. :) I use that as my kid free time, since I have work that needs to be done during naps. Usually the baby watches the older ones play outside. I'll send her out once she's spending the majority of her time upright instead of sitting, as long as I can see her. We also use the afternoon time for reading our library books or playing a game at least 2-3 times a week. We read each day. I do that for all 3. Baby can do it with the older boys, or by herself. Hope that helps! Something else I did with my oldest was put nap time at 3-5. He would often sleep until 6. I did it mostly for teaching, but it was a great schedule for quiet afternoon time and less boredom. Have fun!



answers from Missoula on

You can try some art projects or playdough. I know my kids will sit for quite a while and do these things. You can try finger painting with pudding if you aren't afraid of a mess. It is a lot of fun! Legos and blocks work well too. My kids also like to set up a fort in the living room with the couch cushions, pillows and blankets. That's all I can think of at the moment, I hope this helps.

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