I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s kind of little flu, strep throat, you-name-it epidemic going on right now. Chances are, you’ve had the flu or some sinus situation that has left you and your kiddos stuck in the house. All. day. long. Don’t panic!!! There are some actual fun activities you and your family can do on sick days, aside from peeling the yellow wallpaper from the walls (literary allusion: Bonus points!) in the comfort of your seemingly shrinking home…is it just me, or is this room smaller?

Okay, craziness aside, here are some ways to pass the time when you or your child(ren) are too sick to leave the house:

Good old television

Don’t feel bad!!! If you or your kiddo has 100.infinity fever and are barfing in a mixing bowl on the couch, then I think it’s okay if you have a day (or two) to have a movie marathon. There are so many good shows (educational) you can watch together. My daughter LOVES the planet Earth documentary; we’ve watched the scene where the snakes chase the lizard too much for comfort. But I think she’s learned something…snakes are a-holes!

Board games

Candy Land, Memory matching, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, Dominoes, Puzzles…y’all my daughter has become a puzzle PRO this last month…maybe thanks in part to being sick?


What what? Sand in the house? Well…yeah. Cra-Z-sand is actually easy to clean up and what a fun novelty to have “sand” in the house.

Water table

Again, what? Well, if you have a tile area, this is perfect. Bring the outdoors, indoors. If you don’t have a tiled area, put down a trash bag and towels to help with any splashing/spillage.

Hide and seek

My daughter could play this non-stop, and over the last few weeks, it seems like we have. I’m always a little reluctant to play at first, but honestly, once I start playing, it’s pretty fun. This is also a good chance to teach kids about places not to hide (like the fridge or washing machine).

Crafts, crafts, and you guessed it, more crafts

Hey, we got Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day…what else coming up? There’s nothing sweeter than a handmade gift from a 4-year-old! We’ve done markers, painting, birdhouses, crayons, play-doh, beads, buttons, felt, glue, glitter, scissors…also great for fine motor skills!


My daughter LOVES to help with chores. Her favorites are dusting, vacuuming and “washing dishes.” She requires constant supervision, and may not really get anything cleaner, but it makes her so happy and it puts joy in my heart to see how happy it makes her to help!

Beauty shop

Paint those toes, paint those fingernails, play with make-up, play dress-up, braid hair, or spike a Mohawk and put on a fashion show. I actually remember loving to play this with my siblings when I was little.

Build a fort

Blankets? Check! Pillows? Check! Couch cushions? Check! Living-room disaster? Check! Happy Kiddo? Check! Fun afternoon? Check!


There’s nothing like a good book on a dreary day. I bought my daughter an AWESOME book on Amazon called Maps of the Disney Parks; she LOVED looking at the map pamphlet when we went to Disneyland and pointing out the rides we rode and directing us to our next adventure; this book has the maps of the Disney parks and how they’ve changed over the years. Super cool and colorful!

Call people

There’s nothing like sharing your misery, right? Whenever we are sick, it’s always fun to call Gigi, or Nana, or grandpa, or aunts and uncles and whine a little. Sometimes they’ll bring over soup just because you sound so sick! Win-Win!


If you have the flu or a temperature, take a nap! Rest is truly best. Put your kids down if they still nap and crash on the couch, or give them a movie to watch or iPad game and rest. It sounds too easy to be true, but letting your body repair itself is key to getting better faster. Same for kids!

Tiny trips to the drive-thru

Take little outings to the Starbucks (or whatever) drive-thru if you or your kid(s) have a bad cold (starve the flu, feed a cold) just to get out of the house for a minute. This is also a good time to master your Instacart/curbside skills. Don’t go spreading those germs around the watering hole (aka, HEB)! Stay home or in your car!

Water Wow books from Melissa and Doug

My daughter got one of these for Christmas and, Wow! She will paint and re-paint those pictures for HOURS it seems (could be 15 min. in reality, but in kid time, that’s awesome)! I want all of them!


Think of this extra time at home with the kids as a time to see what your kids are into. When my daughter had the flu, she sat on the couch all day for a day or two, but then when she started playing again, it was fun to see what she’d pick up after having nothing to do. I learned she loves her magnet dolls, her microphone, and puzzles. We had fun playing together, and she played very well independently. I guess it’s good to be bored sometimes.

Hang in there!

If you or your family is in the throngs of flu or illness victims, I feel for you. Just keep in mind that this too shall pass. Your body is telling you to rest and that’s exactly what you should do. You can conquer the world another day; for today, just being is enough. Drink some broth, drink some tea, and REST!

What are your go-to activities for sick days?




Erin owns Events by Erin, a custom event planning business and co-owns Ellis Designs LLC, a custom woodworking business with her husband, John Ellis. Together, their greatest design is their wonderful daughter, Elizabeth. Erin is an Austin native and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in English. She lives in Round Rock, enjoys running, going to the movies and the beach, and of course, writing for Austin Moms Blog!


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