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7 Great Mood Boosters for Kids Who Feel Under the Weather

Bust boredom with these proven picker-uppers

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Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
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Help your child feel better faster with fun games and projects that will help make the day fly by.

Whether your kiddo is fighting a fever, on the rebound from a stomach bug, or just too stuffed up to go to school, it’s no fun being stuck at home. So perk up your child with activities to help bring back a smile (without causing too much excitement).

1. Color me happy.

Fancy coloring and activity books are made for sick days! You can even find books designed for parent/child pairs to complete together. Stuck at home without any good books? Search “coloring printable” and you’ll find tons of pages you can print instantly. And then, once your child is well again, pick up an activity book and a new pack of markers and stash them away for the next sick day.

2. Serve tea and sympathy.

Offer a soothing herbal tea—perfect for sniffles, sore throats, and upset tummies—in a pretty china cup, just to make sick-day sipping a little more special. The same goes for soup in a rarely used bowl or toast on a special-occasion plate.

3. Try needle-free knitting.

Did you know you can knit using just your fingers? All you need is a ball of yarn and scissors. Pull up a how-to video on YouTube; kids love seeing hands-on demos. Check out a good one here.  When finished, you’ll have a skinny knitted rope. Hang it up as a holiday garland, coil it up and whipstitch it together to make a doll rug or blanket, or use as a leash for a favorite stuffed animal.

4. Tell a story.

When he’s under the weather, your child might be more receptive to read alouds—even if he’s “too old” for them when he’s feeling well. (Remember the movie Princess Bride?) An old favorite might lull your child into a nap, while a new adventure will help pass the day more quickly. If your kid prefers some headphone time, download an audio book from your library.

5. Play I Spy…with a twist.

Give your child a clear plastic bottle, a bunch of dry rice or beans or tiny craft pompons, and a few little trinkets, such as fancy buttons, small pencil erasers, googly eyes from the craft bin, and any tiny toy that can fit into the bottle. Show her how to layer in the base filling (the rice, beans, or pompons; use a funnel for the rice) and occasionally tuck in one of the surprises. Fill the bottle most of the way and cap tightly. Then challenge each other to shake, rattle, and roll the bottle and spy the goodies. Or check out 31 more crafty ideas here!

6. Deal him in.

Grab a deck of cards and teach your child a few games, from war to go fish to rummy or even solitaire—real cards are way more satisfying than the virtual ones you use on your phone!

7. Give her a screen—guilt free.

Today of all days, stretch your screen-time limits and let your child watch a movie (or two), try out a new TV show, or download a fun new iPad app. After all, many of them are stealthily skill building, so she can give her brain a workout while her body takes a rest.