Whether it’s a mandatory quarantine or the common cold, being home with sick kiddos is never easy. And if you’re not feeling very energetic yourself, it can be extra tough. So we’ve rounded up some simple activities that don’t take a ton of energy or effort from anyone. Check them out below.


photo: Mama. Papa. Bubba

“Fort”-ify Down Time
Build your mini-me a special place where they can curl up with furry friends, pillows, and their favorite blankie so they can rest or take a quiet nap. Load it with lots of love and climb in for some snuggle time too, if your sidekick needs a little company. Soft and comforting is the key, so kidlets will power down with ease. Check out these inspired designs before you start building.

Pamper Your Petite
Plan a Sick Day Spa Session for your sidekick. But instead of the usual mani/pedi plus oatmeal mask combo, go for soothing activities and potent scents that help with stuffy noses and minor aches. A warm bath or hot shower is a good place to start. If you’ve got it, put in bubbles or drop in peppermint or lavender essential oils to soothe your sick kiddo. And if you’ve got a lavender mask or scented buckwheat pillow that can be gently warmed in the microwave, put them to good use. If not, grab your closest bottle of peppermint lotion and rub some on little hands and feet for a faux mani/pedi effect that’s oh-so relaxing.


photo: iStock

Party Like a Librarian
…very quietly, when you host a reading party for kiddos dealing with the crud. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with stuffies, blankies and the best book ever when you don’t feel well. Whether your mini-me cuddles up in bed or camps out on the couch, spend as much time as you can spare reading the day away. This is one easy activity that keeps them quiet and still, so they can get the rest they need to recover. 

Soothe Your Sick Sidekick
DIY playdough is always an easy option for quiet, low-key play. But if your kiddo is under the weather, adding drops of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil gives play dough a wellness boost your wee one needs. Whip up a batch, then let your little patient mold, roll, and cut out shapes galore. The lovely scents will soothe noses and hopefully keep the sniffles at bay, too.


photo: Amber Guetebier

Spy Some Relief
Break out those miscellaneous trinkets and baubles your kiddo collects from birthday parties and holidays. Then put them to good use when winter colds settle in at your place by making an iSpy jar. Play this quiet activity alongside your bundled-up buddy by having them call out what they find, or checking items off on a homemade checklist. Easy-peasy play!

Sort It Out
Winter colds and crummy fevers are especially hard for the tot lot. But give them this quiet activity and they’ll forget just how icky they feel. Use colored pasta to set up a simple sorting game they can play perched in bed, from the comforts of a cozy blanket fort, or at the kitchen table so you can be close by. Once you’ve colored the pasta, set out bowls and have your cutie sort their rainbow pile into each, by color. When they’re done, they can easily string some of their favorites into a necklace or bracelet to wear!

photo: A Crafty Living

Stick To It
Setting your kidlet up at the craft table to start in on easy projects keeps her restful without being bored. From duct tape beads to washi tape dominoes, here are seven easy tape-based projects your sidekick can embark on. Psst… most of these are just as easy to do from the comfort of the couch or bed as they are at the crafting table.

Serve Up Tea for Two
Tea parties are another simple activity that kids always seem to enjoy. But when they’re sick, it’s also an easy opportunity to soothe a sore throat or combat the chills with some mildly hot tea. Let your kiddo invite “guests” (think: action figures, stuffed animals or dolls) to your get-well tea party. Then brew up a pot of lemon ginger or Moroccan mint tea to serve at the event. Adding in a bit of honey sweetens the deal and helps the healing too. Party on!


Deal Them In
Tuck your little one into bed and then grab a deck of cards to play simple kid-friendly games like Go Fish, Crazy 8’s, Old Maid or War. Who needs the comforts of chicken noodle soup on a sick day when can you score serious points and plenty of much-needed rest at the same time with these card games! 

Doctor, Heal Thyself
Turn the tables on your patient when you let them play doctor. Break out the pretend medical kit, or if you don’t have one, choose real-life wellness props like thermometers and bandages, then let them be the ones in charge of making you well again. Taking your temperature, listening to your heartbeat and bandaging up your boo-boos should be part of the routine. Psst… this is an especially helpful activity if your kiddo’s wary of having their temp taken when they’re not feeling well. Once they see you do, they’ll feel so much better!


photo: Boulder Locavore

Freeze the Moment
When they’re sick, your kiddo wants something sweet to soothe their sore throat. So why not make your own fruity popsicles that they can enjoy? Each one of these 15 recipes is bursting with real fruit goodness and loads of vitamin C to boost their immune system and get your wee one well…sooner. Bring on the vitamins!

Cut It Out
Have paper, will feel better. After lots of rest and craft time, that is. Choose any of these 30 paper crafts for your cutie to make while they’re taking a sick day. From designer paper houses to flashy funky glasses, these no-fuss options will give your cutie something to focus on and let their body rest.


photo: Clever Sparkle on Unsplash

Push the Right Buttons
All you need is a bucket of spare buttons to keep your wee one occupied when a winter cold or fever has zapped their energy. From making button bookmarks to hold the place in your favorite story, to playing Who’s Got the Button with mom or dad, any of these five activities should do the trick!

Draw It Out
Drawing a picture is always good fun, but it can be even more fun if you make a game out of it. Each person participating starts their drawing and a timer for however long you’d like. After the timer is up, pass your picture to the next person and add it to each other’s art! This is a great way to create some fun art and some giggles.


—with additional reporting by Taylor Clifton


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