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When Mom is Sick

A Survival Guide to Keep the Kids Entertained When Mom's Not Feeling Well

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When mom is sick, she may want to hide under the covers until she's feeling better. But moms don't get sick days. If you're sick and have kids at home, you can still entertain them without having to do much of anything.

Watch Movies With a Twist

A picture of a mom and her kids on the couch
Photo © Sugar Pond / Flickr
When mom is sick, it's tempting to park the kids on the couch and let them watch TV all day. You can still enjoy TV time, but make it more of an event than just some vegging in front of the tube. Let the kids play movie theater, complete with a concession stand, usher and intermission. This gives you about an hour and a half to rest on the couch with your kids. You then get bonus time after the movie is over when you encourage the kids to talk about the movie and write their own reviews.

Create a Wall Canvas

A picture of a child painting
Photo © Apryl Duncan
All you want to do is stay in bed. You still have to keep an eye on your children, though. Hang a few sheets of banner paper on the wall in your bedroom, crawl back in bed and watch your kids color or paint on their new art canvas. They get to exercise their creativity and you get some much-needed rest.

Discover Sounds Game

A picture of a tape recorder
Photo © Apryl Duncan
Grab a tape recorder and play a game that doesn't require you to move one inch out of bed. With children old enough to roam the house alone, send them off to record sounds they discover as they walk from room to room. They might come back with the sounds of a leaky kitchen faucet, the air conditioner cutting on or a neighbor's lawnmower recorded through your dining room window. Now they get to test you by playing back their newly-recorded sounds to see if they can stump you. For younger children, sit in bed and record each other talking and laughing. Keep the recording even after you're well. Your child will love how you sounded when you were all stuffed up!

Play Indoor Hopscotch

A boy playing indoor hopscotch
Photo © Apryl Duncan
Your kids want to go outside and play, but you're way too sick to sit out there with them. Bring the fun indoors. They can burn off some energy with a game of hopscotch right on your bedroom floor. All you need is some painter's tape or masking tape and a few minutes to set up the game.

Write Stories from Pictures

A picture of a girl writing
Photo © weliton / stock.xchngA
Put those big imaginations to work with picture stories. A few books, magazines, paper and a pencil will get you started. Pick a picture and let your children create a story from it. Kids too young to write can still play along. Show them a picture and ask them to tell you the story of what's happening.

Make Paper Dolls and Superheroes

A picture of a cartoon superhero
Photo © julosstock / stock.xchng
A few old magazines, catalogs and junk mail are all you need for an afternoon of downtime for you and fun for your children. Paper dolls and superheroes come to life with the snip of the scissors and a few dabs of glue. Spend time cutting out people, shapes, objects and props that can create crazy characters. Who doesn't want to see a dog driving a car while eating a hamburger?

Design Your Own Board Game

A picture of a homemade board game
Photo © Apryl Duncan
If you can stomach the motions of getting some of your kids' toys together, you can design a board game that will keep them entertained for hours. Go through the house looking for toys kids can climb over or under. Tunnels, indoor slides and ball pits are a few examples. Now you can set up a board game with instruction cards, activities and goals to tire the kids out while you rest up.

Build a Fort

A picture of a child in a homemade fort
Photo © Apryl Duncan
A homemade fort beats a plastic playhouse any day. With a blanket and some chairs you can build a basic fort. Now it's up to the kids to decide what goes inside their fort. Flashlights, coloring books, snacks, stuffed animals and other toys are prime furnishings. You can rest easy knowing your kids are playing close by in their fort while you try to shake your illness.

Make an Activity Tray

A picture of a child using an activity tray
Photo © Apryl Duncan
You've probably put together an activity tray for your kids when they've been sick. But an activity tray works when you're sick too. The tray is a perfect platform for a rubber cement art project, coloring pages or educational printables. They might even use their activity tray to create a get well card for sick mommy.

Read Books Together

A picture of a mom and daughter reading in bed
Photo © nlnnet / Flickr
Reading is a great family activity whether you're sick or well. If you still have your voice, curl up with your kids and read them a few books. Let them read to you too or just talk about the illustrations. Reading is a perfect excuse to sit still for a while. It's also a good time for snuggling. Sometimes that's the best medicine to get you back on your feet.
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