When the kids are sick and really need to rest, boredom can set in quickly! Between the necessary naps, these activities will keep the kids occupied without them leaving their sickbed, and all the while keeping the noise level down and energy levels restrained.
Here are our picks for gentle activities for sick children.
1. TV and DVDs
When the kids are sick this is your screen-time free pass! Let them watch their favourite show or movie from their sick bed or rugged up on the couch. It’s the perfect wind-down after one of our other activities (and a sanity-saver for their carer!).
2. Story time
Read a favourite story together, or pop on an audio book if their eyes are too tired.
3. Make a blanket fort
Creat a blanket fort with copious amounts of snuggly throws and pillows, pop in a torch, some books and snuggly toys and they will have their very own hideaway while still resting.
4. Play hospital
Dolls, action figures and stuffed animals make great patients. You can also use this time to help explain to your child what has made them ill, and how they can get better.
5. Break out the photo albums
One of my kids’ favourite things is seeing old photos of family members and pets and hearing stories about them so break out the photo albums (or open your online photo album) and explore some memories together.
6. Take one baking tray
The trouble with playing games in bed is that pieces tend to get lost which leads to tired, headachey, frustration. So it’s magnets to the rescue! Take a clean baking tray and use magnetic letters to spell out words, or fridge magnets to create a story. Play games like, “how many animals can you spell out that start with the letter T?” Or spell out answers for rounds of eye spy (sneaky learning involved!).
You can also play a memory game. Pop a few small household items or toys on the baking sheet (more for older kids) and let the child view them for 10 seconds. Then cover then up with a tea-towel, surreptiously remove one or two items, uncover the sheet again, and see if they can pick what’s missing.
7. Picnics and tea parties
The good thing about pretend tea parties is that they’re a great way to get much needed liquids into a patient. Use twirly straws and funky cups to serve up some sneaky hydration. Or spread a blanket out on the lounge floor, invite a few teddies along, and have a picnic inside.
8. Activity sheets
Go old school with some activities on paper. Try colouring-in, mazes, and dot-to-dots.
9. Get knotted!
Try some simple threading, lacing, or knitting activities to keep their fingers and minds busy – they may even learn a new skill. If your own creative skills need some fine-tuning, grab a how-to video from YouTube.
Simple card games are a great way to keep the kids occupied when you need just a short activity. For older kids, let them explore some card tricks on YouTube and see if they can fool you!
Whether they want to create a fleet of paper aeroplanes or learn some origami skills, creating with paper is an easy and fulfilling activity. Try some coloured paper or wrapping paper for a colourful effect. Or simply write a letter to a friend or family member.
12. Get creative
Here’s a few simple craft ideas that can generate some quiet activity:
- Make a shadow puppet theatre
- Make a dress-up doll
- Pipe cleaner and pom pom cheeky monkeys
- Make a pipe cleaner toy for toddlers
13. Play a game
Hangman, tic tac toe, or battleships are simple and quick enough to be played between sleeps and sneezes. Alphabet sequence games (like the one below) can be played without any accessories and are perfect for sharing a giggle.
14. Tell jokes
Laughter really is the best medicine, so break out your best, lames, or funnies jokes!
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”