Just when you are ready to slather on the sunscreen and go searching for beach creatures, your preschooler starts complaining of a stomach ache.
It's tough being stuck inside on summer days, but you know he'll recover faster, and keep the cooties to himself, if you keep him home. If he's not sick enough to last a day on the couch watching movies, but he's not well enough to brave an afternoon at the beach, you'll need some low-key sick-day activities to keep you both from going stir-crazy.
Here are some of my ideas. Share your own in the comments, and we'll all expand our little bag of sick-day tricks!
Pass the Story
If your child is tired of cuddling on the couch and reading stories, encourage them to stretch a little on the floor, and make up a story of their own. Sit across from each other on the floor, with a ball between you. The person with the ball leads off a few sentences of a story then passes it on for the next person to add a bit.
This is a great way to introduce the different elements of story
. You might have to take the lead the first few times, but it won't take many passes before your preschooler is telling their own wild adventures. I can only imagine the tales some of you would get from your older children!Mail Carrier
Mail delivery is an exciting time at our house: Milo runs to the door and collects everything so he can "deliver" it to me. If your little one isn't feeling well, they might be more into talking about mail than actually running around the house delivering it.
Take some time to talk about how the mail got to your house. Think about all the people and machines
that played a part in making sure you got that special letter. A fun way to do this is for your child to choose something to mail to himself. He'll get it back in just a couple of days, and it's fun to talk about the places it's been.
Your child might like to choose someone to send a special drawing or card to. Hold onto it until he's feeling better, then walk out to the mailbox together and set the postal wheels in motion!
Also, consider sending a little love note to your child by post. It will probably only take a day or so round-trip, and he'll be excited to see a letter addressed with his name on it!Make a picture puzzle
Puzzles and games are great sick-day activities. If you find that your child has run through your puzzle collection, and is still looking for more, then turn it into a quiet craft and make this picture puzzle
Basically, choose (or let them choose) a favorite photo, and print it on 8x10 paper. Glue the paper to a piece of cardboard, and draw out the puzzle pieces. Cut out the shapes, and you have a personalized puzzle. If you don't think you could freehand the puzzle shapes, simply trace the shapes of one that you already have on hand.Write a Story
If some fun stories emerged from your games of pass the story, you can turn them into a book. This started when I told Josh we needed to go to our local book store to find a birthday present for his Uncle Robby.
He suggested we write one instead. He narrated and illustrated "Uncle Robby on The Moon". We laminated it for my brother's birthday, and made a copy for Josh, too; since then, he's loved "writing" his own little stories.
From the parent's perspective, the most important thing (in my opinion) is that you don't re-word. Let their narration stand on its own: your little one will have pride in their own work, and you'll have a great snapshot of them at that age.
You don't have to actually make a book, but let your child fold her book and staple the pages. She can narrate a little story or make a picture book. You'll be amazed how proud they are of their work, and just how cool they think it is that they "wrote" a book!Water play
If you've got a sick child, making sure they get enough fluids can a tough job. This colored ice-cube experiment
is sure to keep them interested -- and hydrated. Freeze different colored fruit juice (or food-colored water) in an ice-cube tray. Plunk the colored cubes into a clear glass of water and watch the swirls of color they produce. You could even experiment with mixing colors to make new ones. Jennifer suggests giving them a fun straw, which will encourage them to drink it up.
Hopefully, some of these low-key activities and quiet crafts will help pass the time as your little one recovers. It won't be long until he's bouncing off the walls full-force, and dragging you out the door to the next play group.
How do you pass the time on sick-days?