Missing a day of school doesn’t have to mean missing out entirely on learning and fun. Rest is important, but if your child is only a bit under the weather, a day at home may leave him or her feeling restless. So, pick two or three activities from this list for a healthy dose of entertainment and a little education, too!


Dramatic reading

An afternoon tucked in bed reading could be bliss to some kids. But many will need a little extra enticement to make books a part of their sick day. That’s where you come in! Crack open a book, clear your throat, and start reading! The more over-the-top you are with the voices, the better. “The Book with No Pictures” by B.J. Novak was specifically written to be read aloud, and it’s funny, too. The Lemony Snicket books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” beg to be read in a dramatic fashion. Or try one of the Harry Potter books. Your own voice will add a bit of magic to the comfortingly familiar stories.

Family photos/videos

Children today spend their lives smiling for our phone cameras. But how often do they get to sit back and enjoy all those images and videos? Here’s a great opportunity for them to flip through family albums, photo books, or the photo files and videos on your laptop or tablet. Kids especially enjoy hearing the funny stories behind photos you’ve taken.

An easy win

Board games are a natural for sick days, but choose wisely. Something with complex rules or lots of random “go back to the start” moments could only serve to send a cranky child over the edge.

Sick day smoothie

Whip up a healthy, easy-to-sip, nutritious smoothie. Combine a cup each of yogurt, orange juice, frozen fruit, ice, and a full banana in your blender. (Smoothies are very forgiving, so feel free to adjust and improvise!) Give your child half in the morning, then freeze the rest in an ice pop mold for a super cool, throat-soothing afternoon treat!

Music to their ears

If you’re like most busy parents, your own hobbies have gone by the wayside a while ago. A sick day is the perfect time to break out your dusty guitar, ukulele, or other long-forgotten instrument. Even some simple strumming will likely impress your child, and if you can sing along, they’ll be doubly pleased! No instrument? No worries. Just sing. Even a child who is normally too old to be sung to often enjoys it as they drift into a nap on a sick day.

Get crafty

A little creativity can help pass the time beautifully. Think small scale for sick day crafts, especially if your child is working from their bed. One simple project is to let your child use an inkpad to put a single finger- or thumbprint on a series of sticky notes. Then they can use colored pencils or markers to add eyes, ears, feet, tails, beaks, etc. Kids can display their creatures on the wall, bedposts, and dresser to keep them company!

Animal hospital

Round up the stuffed animals and bring them to your child for check-ups. Especially for younger kids, playing the role of doctor will also make them feel more at ease and in control if you do end up having to visit the pediatrician.

Sick days don’t have to be all about sneezes and coughs. With a few well-chosen activities, they can be filled with smiles, learning opportunities and a few giggles!


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