My kids are old enough now that they rarely sleep during nap time. Does this mean nap time is over?
It’s just called quiet time now.
For 60-90 minutes every day, we all have quiet time. (This post was written during said quiet time.)
It’s an essential component of running a household of 3 kids 5 and under…soon to be 4 kids 5 and under. *gulp*

A while back, we started checking out books on CD for this quiet time. But then, the 3-year-old lost her will to sleep…and we only had one CD player. And while them listening together can work, I really prefer us all to have our own alone time (plus 5-year-old boys and 3-year-old girls sometimes have differing book preferences).

As I was mulling over what we could do about this, we were also preparing for a long car trip. A friend mentioned her son enjoying Playaways in the car, and I grinned and nodded…and then asked what the blaze was a Playaway??


Turns out, it’s a book or collection of books on its own mini MP3 player. All you do is add a single AAA battery, plug in your headphones, and hit play!


There’s a little digital window on one side that shows what chapter you’re on and how many minutes are in that chapter. No pictures. And they come packaged in that little red box by his foot for safe keeping.

Extra best part? There are likely tons of options at your local library.
Extra, extra best part? Kids feel crazy cool wearing headphones. (We bought the cheapo $5 ones at Walmart.)


Listening, listening, in any position, always with something in his mouth to keep that loose tooth wiggling away.

We’ve found plenty of chapter books from Flat Stanley to Charlotte’s Web to The Boxcar Children (so many more for the even older crowd). But there are also collections of picture books from Curious George to Clifford to general classics.


I’ve never seen her so still as when she’s listening to a Playaway. Not even when I read out loud.

Sometimes we enjoy reading the book ahead of time so they know what to listen for (and what pictures are associated with those words). I’ll hear a, “Mom, this is the part when Charlotte writes the first word in her web!” Sometimes it’s great practice for them to listen to a new book without any pictures so they can create their own in their minds. “Mom, Mom! You have to listen to this part; it’s so funny!” While I likely wouldn’t go out and buy my own Playaways, they will be a part of our quiet afternoons and long car rides for a long, long time.

Have you tried Playaways? What books have you listened to? How have your kids responded?