Activities to do while your child is sick

Sometimes when kids are sick, they don’t want to sleep and need to do something.  What kind of things can you do with your child when they are not feeling up to their normal activities?  Here are a few ideas.

Read Books

Some of my favorite childhood memories are when my parents sat down and read me a huge stack of books.  Old favorites and new ones picked up at the library were blended into the stack.  As I got older and could read to myself, it was still nice to have Mom or Dad sit beside my bed and read to me while I rested.

Play board games or card games

Recently, our family shared the love (as in the flu bug) and kept sharing it so that I was at home with sick kids for more than a week.  Ugh.  They were not up for doing school (we homeschool), but we needed to do something other than watch television.  So, we did a round of board games.  The loser of each game got to pick the next game.  UNO, SkipBo, Dutch Blitz, Morphology Jr, Monopoly, Rat-a-tat Cat, Candyland, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Triominoes, dominoes, Chutes and Ladders and Carcassone (for the older kids) all made an appearance.  Sometimes I had to chuckle (to myself) because I knew the kids were not making good “game decisions” because they were not thinking clearly.  It just adds to the fun, I suppose.

Do puzzles

We own several Melissa and Doug floor puzzles.  My youngest loves to put these together, over and over.  We also have several “I Spy” puzzles.  These are terrific because once you put them together, you can use the clues in the puzzle to find all the hidden objects.  For the older kids, we do puzzles with a higher number of pieces or more complicated pictures.  You can even try putting puzzles together upside down, where you can’t see the picture.  It is fun working together to accomplish a specific goal.  It is also nice to be able to be done with it and come back when you are not as tired.

Bath tub fun

Recently, one of my kids was running a fever and just felt “blah”, but could not sleep, so I put him in the bathtub.  A warm bath in a steamy bathroom was just the ticket to helping him relax and feel better.  He played with bath toys.  I added bubbles.  (If you don’t have bubble bath, try adding hand dishwashing detergent to the bath water.)  Then we got out the bath paints.  These are easy to make with things you probably already have in your cupboards.  Check out this recipe for making your own.

Write a letter

Have a friend or relative who does not use the computer or internet?  We have several.  While your kids are sick, have them write a letter to this person.  If they can’t write, have them dictate it and then color a picture or draw something to accompany the letter.  An older, widowed friend of mine recently told me, “There is nothing like mail in the mailbox when you are lonely!”

Write a story

Writing stories does not have to be a long complicated process.  Have your child dictate the story if they are not old enough or well enough to write.  Then type up the story onto individual pages on the computer and print it so it can be illustrated.  You can do the illustrations or have them draw the pictures.  This could end up being a favorite keepsake.


My kids loved hearing stories about my childhood, how I met their father, things we did before we were married, how they were born, memories from when they were younger, etc.  You can also call grandparents and have them tell stories about you, when you were little, or their own childhood memories.   If you have them, get out photos and share them.  I heard someone say once that if kids understand where they came from (meaning their family stories and heritage), they will understand themselves and their world a little better. 


Being sick does not have to mean sitting in front of the television for hours.  It can mean doing some fun things between naps or while resting quietly in bed or on the couch.  Sometimes I think that kids need our attention just as much as they need rest and nutrition to get well.  So, make some memories while they are recuperating.  You won’t regret it!




Kimberlee is a certified music therapist, SAHM, homeschooler and chef for three kids with celiac disease.   She loves to read, teach guitar and hike in the mountains.  Her goal is to post things that either make you smile, hum or think.  Kimberlee writes about music therapy, homeschooling, and her challenges with her family’s dietary restrictions.