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simple ways to make

a toddler's sick day better

When our little(s) are under the weather, chances are we're not doing so hot ourselves. Whether it's because we have what they got, or we're simply exhausted from doing all the tasks we normally do, topped off with figuring out what to do with a sick babe, what's best to feed them at this time, and how to make the next few days or so bearable.

There are a lot ways to make rest and staying inside fun for them, but implementing some of them is too much: I personally lack the energy, motivation and patience.


Listed below are some simple activities (and good foods) we put into practice, before we tune into a favorite movie (because let's be honest, a movie or show time is usually the first thing on our list, and there's no shame in that! Can't say no to a good movie, cuddles and being surrounded by every single stuffed animal in the house).


What I've put together can provide a little brain stimulation, allow room for rest and introduce some good ol' nutrients to their little bodies (and yours too). When sprinkled throughout the sick days, the challenges of navigating through it all can be made a little less worrisome, and a lot more enduring.

sick day

Oh the Things You Can Do

1. Tents on Tents on Tents

Okay, so you're not literally putting tents on top of one another: I just want to emphasize the plethora of options you have with your kiddo(s) when having one or multiple of these handy. I'm no hater against forts, however, it takes more work (I'm that level of lazy, let me tell you) and if your little one isn't feeling all that up to it, a tent would be the better option.

Fancy it up with some twinkle lights, fill it with their favorite things (and don't forget the snacks, we're currently obsessed with Skout snack bars!). We currently have this tent from Amazon, and I remember playing with these a ton as a kid and think they would do just as great (and easier to set up so win-win). 

2. Surface the Sea

You're pretty much going to bring a little bit of water life to your living room or any flat surface space available. Grab something blue (a blanket, some construction paper, yoga mat) as your body of water. Then hunt with your toddler for some toys that live in the water (fish, turtles, sharks, etc.) - we don't have much, so we used some star toys as starfish and cut out some fish using colored construction paper. Once all the "wild life" is in the "water", point out the different aspects of each creature and ask simple questions to your little ("Wow, look at this fish! Is it yellow or blue? Does it have a name?"). If you want to be extra, grab a flat piece of cardboard as the bridge to walk over or go fishing on. Sequoia is still showing off her cut out paper of "daddy shark".

3. In-Home Shopping

Got a bag? Awesome. Got some lightweight groceries that aren't packed in fragile containers? Incredible! When you guys are feeling up for a little indoor walk, grab those bags and do some "shopping" in your kitchen. Place the lighter options on the lower shelves and inside the bottom drawers for easy access. Some ideas are pasta, veggies, and cereal. And why stop of groceries? Ask them where they would like to "shop" next and head that way!

4. Scoop-a-Loop

No technical "looping" included, it just sounded cool in the moment. This is your basic "sensory bin" with a lot of scooping options. For the base inside your plastic container or shallow box, you can use poms, smooth pebbles, or short cut pasta. When it comes to the things you add on top of that, put it any small toy or objects in the home that aren't sharp (you'll should be near them for this activity as there is a potential choking hazard). Rather than your toddler grabbing everything with their hands or tongs, provide several different scooping options: tablespoons, measuring cups, plastic cups, etc. Then have a few shallow bowls nearby for them to transfer items back and forth as they see fit! Easily done from the comforts of the tent, too, I might add.

5. An Animals' Library

Many times, people play hospital, which is all fun, but let's mix it up with a library. Each stuffed animal gets their own book, and you or your little one can lead a "story time" in a circle. 

6. Handwashing, but make it fun

We add 1-2 drops of food coloring to the hand soap and it's so fun to see Sequoia's reaction each time (oh, the simple things). We use Watkins Assorted Food Coloring and there are no stains left on our hands.

7. Color Sorting All the Things

If you happen to have a blank poster board available, that'd be great. If not, we can improvise. For the poster board, draw 4-6 large circles in different colors and fill them in. If you don't have this, grab either some colored construction paper or flashcards (color them different colors). Once ready, send your toddler and yourself on a search for items around the room or home that fit in that color's category, and either place it on the paper, or near it. When all done, start a "clean up race", but instead of going fast, see who can put things away the slowest (we have the time and lack of energy to do it, right?).

On the floor. Pretty much the entire time Sequoia isn't feeling well, we do this because 1) more places to lay around that isn't quite the ground yet still is and 2) when we're all on the upper side or our sick days, it's basically time for gymnastics (also potentional for sleepovers in the living room).

9. A Secret Hide-away

Sometimes, our little one's may just want some dim lighting, a quiet toy or book to keep them company, and a comfy space of their own. Sequoia will either find a favorite place in the living room or sit in the corner of her closet and have some soft music playing while she  flips through a book or plays with her toys alone in her room. Honestly, when I'm not feeling well, I don't want or need to be over-stimulated by too many options or noise. We just need rest in the mix.

10. Movie Time

Most of us tend to put a movie or show on for most of the time there's someone sick in the house. This isn't something to be ashamed of (like, what are we supposed to do, run a marathon?). Let's add a little more spark to our movie nights (lol...okay "days"). Lay out a couple of pajama options for them to pick out (we don't care what time of day it is, okay?). And while you're at it, get yourself in a new set of day time jammies. Next, grab the snacks. We tend to cut up our Skout bars, break apart some brown rice cake, softened veggies and banana on a plate; and lemon water on the side. get settled in or around your already set up tent (pack it with extra blankets and pillows. Finally, pick out a current fan favorite film, yes, even the annoying one that you have stuck in your head. 

Some  Good Eatin'

Banana-Nut Oatmeal

Treat all day like it's breakfast, essentially. Sometimes we just like some toasted sourdough with nut butter, and other times it's this oatmeal.


Cook your oats as directed on the packaging, when it's almost done add:

- 1/4 cup milk (we use Ripple milk)

- 1 spoon full nut butter

- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.


When its served in a bowl, add some mashed banana and mix together (or leave it nice and plump on top for your little one to mix up, or eat on its' own).

Smoothie (simply delicious)

Making a nutrient dense smoothie together: fun and healing. What can go wrong outside of a little more messiness in your home (which isn't even wrong)?


Grab a blende and:

- 1/2 frozen banana

- 1/2 cup strawberries

- 1 cup frozen spinach

- 1 heaping spoonful of peanut/almond/sun butter

- 1 tablespoon honey

- 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

- 2.5 cups of water or milk of your choice


Blend, pour, sip and enjoy!

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