20 Activities for Sick Babies & Toddlers
Have you ever had a sick baby or toddler on your hands? If you’re a mama, I’m guessing the answer is a hard “yes”! It can be tricky trying to entertain young kids when they’re not feeling well. They can’t really tell you what’s wrong and there is very little in the way of medication they can take. Here are 20 activities for sick babies & toddlers to help you both get through those tough, uncomfortable, sickly moments.
1 || Make Smoothies
Usually when kids are sick it’s really hard to get them to eat. They will usually drink, but it’s always less than what they normally would. Smoothies are a fun and delicious way to get them the nutrients they need. Add some pedialyte for extra electrolytes.
2 || Steam Room
Close all the doors to the bathroom (to trap the steam and create a sauna effect). Turn your shower on the highest setting. Once it starts warming up, strip your kiddo to their underwear and have them sit down. Sit in there for up to 15 min. You could read them a story or let them play on your coveted phone. **This is especially great for stuffy babies that you can’t really give medicine to yet.
3 || Buried Treasure Hunt
Fill a deep bin with rice (deep enough to cover the toys you put in there). Add puzzle pieces, small toys (I would do cars, hatchimals), fun utensils, maybe even a treat. Have your child find them all!
4 || Sit Back and Listen
Listen to some fun, age appropriate, audiobooks or soothing songs. I know there’s some great children’s audiobooks on YouTube. If you don’t want them to watch anything, your local library will have some you can check out for free. Or if you don’t think they’ll listen through a whole book, pick some soothing kids songs.
5 || Play-doh
My three year old LOVES play-doh. He randomly goes and plays with it whenever he wants. This is such a great sick day activity! Just make sure to keep their hands clean. Even just squeezing play-doh can be a stress reliever and make ya feel good. Hours of entertainment.
6 || Sock Ball
Get a laundry basket and a couple pairs of socks. Ball up the socks and try making a basket by tossing them into a laundry hamper.
7 || Popsicles
Give them a popsicle! My kids love them and it’s an extra special treat when they have a fever. The ice is great for helping temporarily bring down their fever. And they’re really yummy!
8 || Bubble Bath
Who doesn’t love a bubble bath?! My kids are obsessed with bath time. We have bubbles, bath fizzies, soap paint & paint brushes, bath markers, 10 squirt animals… you name it, we have it. It’s extremely fun and entertaining. It can calm children down and relax them. Would be great before a nap or bedtime for a sick kiddo. Plus it’s an added benefit of being warm and also simulating a smaller scale sauna effect to loosen up some of those airways. I like to add some oils to their baths when they’ve got a fever, cough/sore throat or aren’t feeling well so they can get their benefits.
9 || Puzzle Sort
Dump out 3 similar style puzzles (wooden, big pieces, similar themes), put all the pieces in a bin or pan. Have your child sort where they go.
10 || TV/Movie Time
I have a three-year-old, and honestly when we’re stuck at home because of sickness and he’s crabby, I will just let him watch TV all day. He doesn’t watch that much TV, so it’s kind of like a treat for him to be able to do so. He usually loses interest pretty fast and we will switch to something else.
11 || Read
If TV is not your thing, getting a bunch of their favorite books to read back to back is a fun way to engage them while they’re sick. You could cuddle up in your bed, a rare treat I’m sure, or their bed for a cozy sick day-in.
12 || Blow some Bubbles
I don’t know a family that has toddlers and doesn’t have bubbles, but if you don’t, go buy some. Bubbles keep my kids so entertained and happy. Just watching them float can be very relaxing too.
13 || Sensory Rice Bin
Think of it as a sandbox, inside! Get a large, wide tub, fill it to your comfort level, add bowls, jars, spatulas, strainers and forks. Let the fun begin!
14 || Color
Good old fashion coloring. My son has really just become interested in coloring. It’s a good activity for whenever they’re bored, but being sick at home is a great excuse to color.
15 || I-Spy Sticker Sheet
Give your kiddo a blank piece of paper and a variety of stickers. Have them place the stickers anywhere on the page. When they are finished, play “I spy” with the stickers they have chosen. “I-spy a…” Or if that’s too advanced, nix the game part and just decorate a sheet of paper with stickers!
16 || Make a Fort
Use a big box, some chairs & blankets or the couch cushions as your fort. Get some flashlights, books, snacks, pillows and have a ball!
17 || Pasta Sorting
Get a bunch of different shaped pastas. Mix them all together in a bowl. Have your child sort them into like piles.
18 || Memory Lane
Get out their baby album, pictures from a previous vacation or holiday. They will probably shock you with their memory from that event and will love to talk about it. It’s a good distraction for sick kiddos.
19 || Play Hospital
Set up a little area for your “patient” and get band-aids, gauze pads and similar items to “treat” them. The “patient” could be a baby doll or stuffed animal. Kids LOVE playing Dr. and “taking care” of things.
20 || Magnet Fun
Get a pan and some magnets. If they’re babies, any big/fun/noisy kid magnets will do. If they’re toddlers or elementary age, use letters and numbers to have them practice the alphabet and making words.
Bonus || Take a Walk
I know it’s hard to leave the house when you or your kids aren’t feeling well. But it’s so good for your mental and physical health to take them out, even when they’re “sick”. You can just go around a street or two in your neighborhood. Wear them, get the stroller out, the wagon, whatever you need to take them. Trust me, it will do everyone some good. And you’re not risking getting anyone else sick.
Hope y’all found these 20 activities for sick babies & toddlers helpful! Do you have any great recommendations for distracting and entertaining your kiddos when they are sick or not feeling well? Would love to read your comments below!