Our Top 10 Indoor Activities to Keep Sick Kids Smiling

It’s no secret that having a little bit of fun can make us feel better when we’re sick! 

However, it can become a lot harder to have fun when your kids are sick and unable to go to school, the park, or a friend’s place. Keep reading for our favorite ways to make your children (and you!) smile when they’re home sick.

Keeping Sick Kids Occupied: Electronic, Non-Electronic, and Transitional Activities

While TV shows and video games can be a great way to keep sick children occupied, it can be great to have  non-electronic activities in the mix. 

Moderation between hands-on and electronic activities (when possible) can help ensure that your child is engaged and occupied throughout the day in a variety of ways! Transitional activities can also be a great way to practice this moderation - that is, using electronics to promote bonding and support hands-on activities. Examples include following along with a beginner yoga YouTube video, or watching a tutorial on baking your favorite type of cookie as you follow along in real life! Transitional activities are also a great way to get children to feel ready to move away from the screen, and wind down for a meal or other activity.

Keep reading to explore our favorite ways (electronic, non-electronic, and transitional) to bring smiles to sick kids’ faces at home!

Our Top 10 Activities to Keep your Sick Children Occupied and Happy

  1. Dance it out! Dancing is known to release dopamine, which helps us shake off not only the winter blues, but feelings of negativity and powerlessness that can come with being sick. Try turning on a beginner’s dance video or your family’s favorite songs when energy is low and watch everyone’s moods shift!
  2. Get cooking: A great way to distract kids from feeling their sickness can be by giving them something to look forward to, like a warming soup to soothe throats and clear sinuses! Try getting them involved in taste-testing, stirring and mashing, chopping vegetables, and serving.
  3. Bring out the old photo albums. Cozy nostalgia can be a great way to get kids smiling and excited without straining themselves when they are feeling low energy. Allow them to rifle through old family photos, cuddle up, and tell them stories of their favorite relatives when they were younger! 
  4. Build an indoor fort: More than one sick kid in the house? Grab all the spare sheets and pillows in the house and build a secret fort in the living room! Perfect for an afternoon in, we love this list of 25 different types of indoor forts to build. 
  5. Have a movie night! Sometimes a beloved comedy or kids’ movie is what your kids (and you!) need to smile - so don't hesitate to bring out the cozy warm drinks and spend a few hours laughing together. 
  6. Break out the paints! Getting creative is an easy way to occupy sick children and boost their moods, too. Set up a “creative zone” with paints, brushes, paper, and water and allow them to release their feelings with their creativity! 
  7. Go all out with a warm bubble bath: steam can be a great way to clear sinuses and warm up the mood of a sick child. Try bringing out their bath toys and run a warm bath to boost moods and fight congestion too!
  8. Have a cozy night in reading all your favorite books: sometimes kids just want to cuddle up and take it easy, and that’s totally okay too! Turn this into a bonding activity by reading your favorite books to each other, or spark joy with interactive activity books like I Spy.
  9. Get gaming! When kids are sick, distractions that keep their minds occupied but their body in rest-mode can be really valuable. Giving your kid some screen time on their favorite video game when you’re busy cooking or working can be a great way to keep them occupied. In the evenings, we recommend gaming the old-fashioned way by bringing out a deck of cards or your favorite family board games! 
  10. Self care: It’s easier than you might think to turn a sick day into a spa day! We recommend having a good shower, putting on lots of lip balm, using a face mask, snuggling up with heating pads, and dipping your toes in hot water with essential oils. This can be an easy way to get kids feeling special on their sick day.

Psst: Looking to improve your family’s immunity this winter so kids get sick less often? Check out our favorite ways to naturally support your family’s immune systems here