Activities To Keep A Sick Toddler Busy

This week we have been quarantined by a fairly mild case of hand foot and mouth. I say mild because Max only has one ulcer on his tongue and one on his foot with a few smaller ones the size of pin pricks scattered around. It hardly seems fair however, we still need to keep him home. Coupled with it being as hot as a desert outside during the day and we have felt the sting of cabin fever hit our house.

I've come up with some strategies to keep him happy. 18 month olds don't have the biggest attention spans so we need lots of small activities and games that are easy to set up and move on to the next thing.

The first thing I do is take a moment to acknowledge that the day is probably not going to go anything like I had planned and that I'm not going to get much done in the way of personal productivity. If I've got a blog post in mind to write, I need to mentally set it aside for  another time for example. This helps me to keep my patience throughout the day. 

As soon as he gets up at 5am we head out into the yard to play for an hour or two before the heat of the day sets in. Some fun things we do;

  • Draw with sidewalk chalk
  • Throw the ball for Honey
  • Ride the tricycle (read: I push him around on it!)
  • Search for bugs
  • Dig in the garden or sandpit
  • Sensory play with dry goods like brown rice or lentils
  • Water play with buckets, bowls and scoops
  • Lawn picnic breakfast
  • Sweep up leaves or any other 'job' I can think of to give him eg pass me pegs which I hang out the washing

Then we go inside and either have breakfast if we didn't eat it outside or have a shower. Max is usually covered in sand so this is perfect as he loves to play in any kind of water. While I'm getting ready for the day I will put on some alphabet songs so he's entertained for 10 mins. I don't do this all the time but it's a nice fallback for the times when I need him to stay still for a few moments, and it's a nice treat for days when he's unwell.

Some indoor activities we do throughout the day;

  • Read books
  • Do puzzles
  • Baking
  • Build stacks with toilet rolls
  • Have a snack
  • Sorting games with coloured pipe cleaners or pom poms
  • Inside jobs like unstack the dishwasher or putting things away
  • Take a nap - this is a good opportunity to also nap if you need it or to get some other to-dos done.
  • Scribbling with coloured pencils
  • Watch a cartoon

We do also do messy play on the deck when it's not too hot during the day. Things like finger painting, water play, sensory play and bubbles. A favourite at the moment is mixing cornflour and water together, it's properties change depending on how much water you add and whether you're squeezing it or letting it drip.

The big problem with toddlers and being stuck at home is the extra energy they need to burn. We overcome this by having dance parties (this also helps me to shake out the cobwebs and get a bit of exercise!) or getting out all of Honey's bouncy balls to play. Our dog Honey is an indoor dog which is a saving grace because one of the big ways to keep Max entertained for long periods of time is to give him a ball to play with Honey. 

He will walk all around the house and do laps of the couch holding the ball just out of Honey's reach and she follows him everywhere he goes. He thinks it's so hilarous that shes chasing him and she clearly is patiently waiting for him to just throw the ball already! 

About an hour before dinner we go back outside for more playtime and fresh air as it's usually cooled off a bit and our back yard is totally in shade. It's a good way to end the day!

I never thought I'd say this but I can't wait for the heat of summer to pass! 

What are some activities that you've found good for days you're stuck at home?

Rachelle x