Tuesday, 19 November 2013

30 Ways to Entertain Sick Kids

You'll have to excuse my absence from Blogland over the last coupe of weeks.  There has been a lot of sickness in our house lately.  The kids (and I) have had nasty colds which have kept them home from school on and off for the last couple of weeks.  And now we're all home with gastroenteritis- Yuck!

My experiences over this time, however, has led me to be able to present you with this...


(Now, obviously, the suitability of some of these activities depends very much on exactly how sick your child is.  Let common sense and your child be your guide.)

 30 Ways to Entertain Sick Children

1. Cuddle up and look at photo albums.  
Tell them stories of when they were babies, relive favourite family holidays and events - remember any special memories that weren't captured in a snap.  Older children might be able to make - or help make - a movie by compiling favourite photos together and adding music and titles.   Windows Movie Maker is my pick. Kelle Hampton has a terrific, simple How-To video here.

2. Play a board game.
Children who are really off colour will not be up for a challenge or anything new, so stick with easy to play, old favourites they've already mastered.  Uno, Kids Cluedo, Yatzee and Snakes & Ladders have worked well for us.  Older children might be able to focus enough for Pictionary or Scattegories.

3. Make a collage.
Grab a bunch of old magazines and/or catalogues and let them practice their cutting and pasting.

4. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
Stick with easy, old favourites or see if a bigger one with a lot of pieces will hold their interest.  We have a 100 piece Usborne world map with cute pictures that we love.

5. Make a fort and go indoor camping.

6. Read.
Cuddle up in bed - or your living room fort - and read together.  Home with a few sick kids?  Take turns each choosing a favourite one to share.



7. Use crazy straws.
Keeping up their fluid intake is really important.  Make water or re-hydrating solutions easier to swallow by using the craziest, swirliest straws you can find.  I found a pack of six for only a few dollars in the party section of Coles.

8. Take a bath.
While cold baths are no longer recommended for children with high temperatures (it actually does the opposite by making them shiver which is the body's way of heating up) sometimes a warm bath just makes you feel better, especially if suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.  Try distracting a sick kid with a bath full of bubbles, bath volcanoes, squirt guns and targets or put in some glow sticks and turn off the lights.

9. Put on a puppet show.
Even just choosing a puppet each and putting on a silly voice is fun.  We like to make our puppets go on a picnic or rescue their friends from danger.

10. Draw or colour-in.
There are so many free colouring-in printables on line, that you can pretty much find any topic your child is interested in.  Or you could spread out a big sheet of paper, trace their outline and let them decorate themselves.  If they're having trouble breathing, set up your art supplies on the floor of the bathroom and run the shower to make it steamy.  A few drops of Eucalyptus can help too.

11. Learn a magic trick.
You really can find anything on-line - see what card or magic tricks you can master.

12. Play with matchbox cars in bed.
Use the sheets, blankets and pillows to make mountains, hills and rivers and drive your cars over the undulating terrain.

13. Make origami.
A lovely, peaceful activity - if you choose nice, easy instructions!  Again, you can find anything on-line and regular paper works okay but most origami patterns start with a square piece so you'll need to trim them up first.

14. Construct with Lego.
No real need to follow instructions (and therefore spend many frustrating hours looking for specific pieces), see what you can create from your imagination or use a picture as inspiration.


15. Mold some Playdough.
The possibilities are endless.  We currently have vanilla and strawberry scented dough that we like to "cook" with.  Here the kids are making cupcakes...


16. Find a new app.
If you have an iPad or tablet, find a new app.  It doesn't have to be a game, make it educational in disguise.  We love the Monkey Preschool series, Amazing Match and the Whole Wide World Explorer.

17. Take some snaps.
Give your kids a camera and see what captures their eye.  You could make a scavenger hunt and photograph items of different colours or shapes that look like letters in the house or backyard.  You could even try your hand at stop motion animation.  We used my iPhone and the Flipagram app for this one...


18. Do some beading.
Thread them onto pipe-cleaners to make bracelets or string for necklaces.  Even my littlest got the hang of this one...

19. Play dominoes.
The traditional way or stand them up and knock them down.  Here's some mind-blowingly cool inspiration.

20. Tell jokes.
Take turns telling bad jokes from a joke book or Google jokes for kids and see which is the worst.

21. Coded messages.
Even preschoolers can match simple symbols and letters which you can read to them.  Older kids can use a variety of ciphers and may even enjoy writing you a message. 

22. Do some cooking.
If you're all sick anyway then there's not too much risk of sharing germs, but teach proper hand-washing before cooking and after they need to use a tissue.  Simple recipes and soft foods work well.  We made pikelets (mini pancakes) with 1 cup of (GF) flour, 1 egg and 1 cup of (your chosen) milk.  Older kids can help you flip them in the pan, but even little ones can whisk and try spreading on their own butter or jam (choose one made with all fruit for a refined-sugar free treat).

24. Make a village.
Pull out your blocks, train tracks, Little People, Duplo or all of the above and make a village.  Fill a room and let the kids go to town imagining new scenarios and taking trips around the village.  We had a lot of fires...


25. Take a walk.
Depending on how sick you are, and how long you've been trapped at home, a walk around the block might be a great way to get some fresh air and clear your heads.

26. Watch a movie.
The only good part about being home sick is getting to snuggle up for extra screen time.  Our family tradition is to watch The Princess Bride which is the ultimate staying-home-sick film.  It does have some scary bits, so I would recommend it for 5 years or over.  If little throats are too sore for popcorn, try grapes.  Frozen grapes are even better on inflamed throats, but take care with little ones who may find these difficult to chew whole.
27. Play Doctor.
A simple doctor kit or a bandage and dosage syringe can help little ones to "show you where they're sick" and making Teddy feel better cheers everyone up.

28. Tell stories.
Make a set of story cards or stones and take turns making up stories.  Older children might like to write out their adventures for you to read.

29. Make a mini world.
Be it dinosaurs or sea creatures, add them to a sandpit or bucket of water for a nice distraction.

30. Massage.
Sore, aching little muscles can benefit from a gentle massage.  Rub in some moisturiser or take turns doing a "Pizza massage" on each other's backs- make actions for kneading the dough, rolling it, spreading on the sauce and adding toppings.  Don't forget to melt the cheese in the oven, slice it and gobble it up!  My kids love this.

Well, that's how I've spent the last couple of weeks!  Got any more inspiration for me?


 

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