Entertain and educate sick kids at home

No parent ever wants their kid to get sick. Colds and flu are no fun for the parent or the kid. A kid who is too sick to go anywhere, but not sick enough to sleep all day is bound to get bored. Avoid further misery on top of the illness by engaging your child in fun activities. At this time, encourage the child to use his or her brain and imagination more than his or her body. In this way, you can foster learning while permitting your child’s body to rest and recuperate.

Activities for sick kids:

Reading

Reading is a fun, quiet activity your child can do all tucked up snug in blankets. Young children, even those who can read already, often enjoy being read to. Snuggle up close and enjoy your child’s favorite story together. If the child is feeling well enough, let him or her read parts of the book to you. Preschool children can “pretend read”, or describe what they think is going on in the pictures. Make the experience educational. For example, point to the first letters of words on the page, count the bears, or point to different colors in the pictures. This is also a good way to gauge your child’s reading level. If he seems noticeably behind for his or her age, make a mental note. Bear in mind, however, that the child’s reading performance will almost certainly be worse than when she is feeling better.

Coloring

Kids love to color. Reserve a brand new coloring book and set of crayons just for sick days. Your child will cheer up at the sight of a gorgeous new coloring book tailored to his or her interests. Buy one at a reduced price at your local dollar store and hide it away until needed. Another option is to bookmark sites featuring free printable coloring pages. Go to Google and choose appealing images geared to your child’s latest interest, such as dinosaurs to print out. Or bookmark links to your child’s favorite programs on PBS (such as Sesame Street), Nick JR, or Nickolodeon.

While coloring, your child will improve his or her fine motor skills, a prerequisite for good writing. Coloring numbers will help preschoolers develop number skills. Doing color by number images can help older kids in math. Tracing mazes and solving complete-the-image problems enhance visual reasoning skills. Your child can also pick up useful trivia by coloring science related images. Pictures from Dora the Explorer can help with Spanish skills. As your child spends 20 minutes coloring a picture of a boy and girl with the words Amigo (male friend) and Amiga (female friend) under the images, he or she learns new vocabulary.

Drawing

Drawing pictures lets your child create, express feelings, and think of something other than being sick. The same can be said for other art forms, but the mess factor and subsequent clean up may be greater.  If necessary, a child can even draw in bed. Prop your child up with pillows and bring out a drawing pad with a hard surface under it. Get the crayons, pencils and pens.

Photo album

This is a great time for some warm and cozy moments sharing photos from a time your child does not remember, such as before his or her birth. You can talk about your own childhood, or his grandparents. Your child will enjoy seeing photos of herself as a baby. Or, look at more recent photos of fun times and talk. Take some photos of each other, family members and pets. For a young child, be sure to supervise the photo taking. A child friendly digital camera can be a great investment. Don’t be afraid to get goofy and have fun. Provide your child some bright spots in a hard day. Being sick doesn’t necessarily have to mean being miserable.

Reading, coloring, drawing and leafing through photos are activities your sick child can do in bed. Keep him or her entertained and learning in between those much needed naps. These activities can reduce crankiness and allow your child to continue learning. This helps speed up the recovery process, save both of your nerves, and make up for lost days of school or preschool. When your child is sick, make the most of a bad situation. Being sick doesn’t have to mean the learning stops.