tea for two

How do you get through sick days?

With Spring just around the corner, I thought that maybe maybe maybe we would be the lucky ones who made it through winter without getting sick. Wishful thinking! My oldest came down with a fever the other day and we’ve been holed up at home, gathering our energy and drinking lots of fluids.

reading peg leg peke

I have an arsenal of indoor activity ideas, but to be stuck inside all day long…that’s another story. Lots of tea, patience, and cuddles are in top order.

There was a break in the day when we felt a little better. So we threw on our rainboots for some puddle stomping. Fresh air always helps, doesn’t it?

Bring Books to Life

The other day I fell in love with this article on Little Stories called How to Pretend.The idea that really stuck with me was about acting out books to bring them to life.

To pull this off, I found a big box of stuffed animals in our closet — little friends that we haven’t seen in ages. That alone was thrilling to my kids. And then we picked out a few favorite books with animal characters that we could bring to life with our toys and puppets.

I envisioned that I would lead a puppet show of sorts while reading the books, sort of like a librarian or preschool teacher telling a story through a felt board. But my 3 year old wanted to enact the roles while I read. I live for these moments that surprise.

reading with props stuffed animals

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (affiliate) was especially good for putting all of our toys to work. We don’t have a cat stuffed animal, but my kids were happy to substitute bunny. They really loved this and I’m sure we’ll do it again on our healthy days too.

It looks like we’re home for one more day, just to be safe.

I have a fun Saint Paddy’s Day photo booth invitation set up, but not too many more ideas.

What do you like to do with your kids on sick days? How do you keep them happily engaged indoors all day long?

More Sick Day Ideas

I was interviewed in this article, Screen-free Alternatives for Sick Days, at The Washington Post, where I share simple and engaging ideas (that don’t take tons of energy) such as playing with play dough, creating with stickers, making tape roads, and playing with a sensory bin. Click over for more ideas.


  1. aw, i hope N feels better soon! and no way!!! we have the same exact peter rabbit mug which was mine when i was a kid, and now i use it for my N. is yours a treasure from the 70s, too? 

    • Thanks so much, Jen. I had the same mug (treasure) too, but it still lives at my parents’ house. When I found this one at a 2nd hand store, I couldn’t buy it fast enough. Ah, the memories. I wish they still made them.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing our post on pretend! Your daughters have it down! I look forward to sharing this with my readers as inspiration! And if you need another use for many of your animals “Goodnight Gorilla” is hilarious. A dog is a good substitute for the hyena! 🙂

    • Thanks again for the great idea, Kim! We love Goodnight Gorilla, and of course we don’t have a hyena toy. Dog would be perfect.

  3. Great post! I like to pull out the animals as well, and we pretend that they are sick too. My son is the doctor (or nurse) and we show them what to do to feel better (drink liquids, take their medicine, blow their noses, get rest etc.) It seems to help him understand better when I ask him to do the same thing.

    • This is such a great idea, and I can’t think of a better time to put the doctor kit to work!

    • TV watching and DVDs help too. You do what you have to do!

    • Are you serious? Thanks for adding some cheer to my day, Danielle 😉 xo

  4. What a wonderful ways to spend days you have to be inside!

    • And it’s on these days that it seems like you have to bring out fresh ideas that put a burst of energy into their spirits.

  5. I love this idea. It’s the kind of thing that I file away and when I remember it, I think, why don’t we do this more often. Similar in spirit is a virtual hide and seek game we play (usually in the car). Probably for age 4+. Take turns choosing a place in your mind without the house and then the other person “looks” for you by saying, “I’m walking in the front door and heading for the dining room. Are you under the table? Now I’m going upstairs. Did I miss you?” The other person gives hints and squeals as if they are being found.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Whitney! When I read about this idea last week, I didn’t think I’d be using it so soon. And I’ll be filing your virtual hide and seek idea away (and will no doubt use it tomorrow!). 

      • We had so much fun doing this with Everyone Poops. My kids spent an hour digging up an animal, plush or plastic, to represent each animal in the book! They wanted to then box up those animals with the book to make a kit and to set an intention to do 4 “book to plays” as we named them each week. Success!

        • You are sooo cool for coming back with an update. I heart you! As I remember reading in the original article, your kids will never look at that book the same way once you read it like a play. Your kids might be marketing geniuses, too.

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