20 Ways to Entertain Older Kids on a Sick Day

sick day


I can distinctly remember the feeling of a sick day when I was a kid. You know – the real sick days where it was a struggle to get out of bed, but after laying there for a few hours, you were just SO bored. You wanted to get up and do something, but you just couldn’t quite handle being up and around.

As parents, keeping the kids happy when they’re home sick is one of our more challenging jobs. When they’re tiny, it’s easy to just cuddle and read or watch movies together. As kids get older, however, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep them happy and entertained. Here are a few fun ideas that can help you keep older kiddos from getting too bored when they’re confined to bed or the couch.


  • Make special breakfast (or lunch) in bed. Hot tea and toast or your homemade chicken soup can make it all feel better.
  • Set up some electronics in their room if they do not already have them. Move in a TV, plug in a laptop, or relocate the video game system – JUST until they’re feeling better.
  • Create a comfy spot in the living or family room. If you can’t bring amusement to them, set up a bed on the couch so they can watch a little TV or just be where the action is.
  • Introduce them to a favorite movie or show from your childhood. Streaming sites are packed with nostalgic favorites to share with your kiddos!
  • Have some bonding time. Chat about school, friends, their favorite video game – let them lead the direction of the conversation.
  • Challenge them to a video game battle. Play a family favorite or have them teach you something new that they love.
  • Plan a trip together. Whether you’re working on your next family vacation or just dreaming together about an imaginary adventure, travel planning is a ton of fun.
  • Come up with a research project. Break out the laptop and learn about something that you’ve both always wondered about.
  • Play some board games. Have family game night in the middle of the day and put some of your favorite board games on the coffee table for a little friendly competition.
  • Call an out of town relative. There’s nothing like a little extra sympathy from a far-away loved on when you’re not feeling so well.
  • Paint or draw. Getting creative with paint or sketching can help to pass the time when your kiddos just don’t have a lot of energy.
  • Make a photo collage. Go through old photos or play with photo editing software online to reminisce over some amazing memories.
  • Write a book. Work together to create an amazing story or give your child the tools they need to express their own creativity through words.
  • Create a spa in the bathroom. A warm bubble bath can work wonders when you don’t feel well or create a steam room to help clear chest colds.
  • Have a LEGO competition. Break out the blocks and go to work together to create your most imaginative ideas!
  • Learn origami. YouTube videos are a fun resource for learning how to make fun origami and similar creations to help pass some time.
  • Work on birthday or Christmas wish lists. Let the kids flip through catalogs or read online reviews to help get ideas for upcoming birthday and holiday gifts.
  • Let them download a new game app. Find a new app or game for their handheld devices and let them play something new for a change.
  • Set up your own movie theater. Popcorn, soft drinks, and a rented movie together is a great chance for you both to relax and be entertained for a bit.
  • Get crafty! Open up a model kit, string some beads, or even use YouTube videos to learn to knit or crochet. Keeping those little hands busy will make things easier for you both.

What are some of your favorite activities when your kids are home sick?



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