9 Creative ways to entertain a sick toddler

Not only is it unsettling for a toddler to get sick, but it is also challenging for their care givers in deciding how to handle it.

Whether your child has an upset stomach or a common cold, it will make for a challenging day ahead.

You often have to be creative to entertain a sick toddler as their energy levels peak and drop off very quickly.

Here are 9 Creative ways to entertain a sick toddler.

1. Have a spa day

  • Hand eye co-ordination

What you’ll need:

  • Warm bath or shower
  • Toddler dressing gown
  • Toddlers favorite drink/snack

Pink dressing gown

Ah, don’t we love a spa day? If you need a fun way to entertain a sick toddler, how about a spa day for them?

Filling up the bath with lots of bubbles and the novelty of having a mid-morning bath can give you 20-30 minutes of entertaining time. Breathing in the warm vapors can help with blocked noses and sore throats. 

You can also get them in their little dressing gowns with their favorite drink and snack on the side. If they’re too ill for the bath, just run the shower for a few minutes to build up some steam. They can relax in the bathroom and enjoy the steam.

2. Lets draw!

What you’ll need:

  • Lots of pens and pencils
  • Paper
  • Table or flat surface

For many of us, it has been years since we had a school art class. It is a great way to entertain your kid on a sick day, though.

What are their favorite animals?

What is their favorite action hero?

Do you know their favorite cartoon character?

There is plenty of inspiration for them and drawing can keep their minds off how poorly they feel

3. Dress up

What you’ll need:

  • Costumes, masks, props
  • Toys

If there is one thing that all toddlers love, it is pretending to be their favorite character! Whether it’s Superman, Ironman, Cinderella or Barbie, toddlers love dressing up and acting as their favorite character.

Even when poorly, toddlers will enjoy saying catchphrase’s from their favorite films and TV shows.

A few props or items of clothing is enough to get your little one into character. They can then playact scenes or create completely new stories.

4. Head to the pet store

  • Numeracy
  • Hand eye co-ordination

What you’ll need:

  • Nearby pet store or garden center

If there is one way to put a smile on a toddler’s face – it is taking them to the pet store. If they have enough energy, why not take them for some fresh air and a toddle about.

Stores are free to enter and you can walk around and look at the animals. Aquariums are a big hit with toddlers as fish are brightly colored and dart about the tanks. Get them to count all the red fish!

Getting them out of the house is a massive win as they get to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. You’ll find they will be very sleepy in the afternoon if they are battling a cold so it’s easiest to get them out early.

5. Go for a car ride

What you’ll need:

  • Car or bus

So, your toddler is feeling sick and bored, why not take them out for a car ride? As they watch the world go by they might even nod off and get some sleep.

A change of scene is as good as a rest. It will give you time to get out of the house and can keep them entertained for a decent amount of time.

Bring their toys, put them in the car seat, and let them enjoy the outdoor scenery, passing cars and people going about their day. 

Is there anywhere local that you’ve never been before? Perhaps head to some mountains, a forrest, or a lake.

6. FaceTime a family member

What you’ll need:

  • Skype/Zoom/WhatsApp etc
  • Decent Internet

If you have a sick child, why not FaceTime one of your family members?

Having a quick chat with Gran will perk up the sickest of toddlers. Perhaps one of their cousins or friends is free for a call so they can chat to a peer.

Toddlers love to show their family members their toys, and it will distract them from their lethargy for awhile.

7. Camping in the living room

What you’ll need:

  • Indoor tent or bed sheets
  • Pegs
  • Clear floor

One of the things that all toddlers love is to create their own indoor den. Even when they are under the weather, a cozy den with lots of cushions will be ideal for them to lounge in.

This will create a nice space for them to relax in and feel safe.

They can play with some toys, have a snooze or read some books.

8. Story time

What you’ll need:

  • Books, books, books!
  • Toys

There is no better way to take your toddler away from their sickness sadness than triggering their imagination.

Why not help them make up their own story? Perhaps they could make a story up with their favorite toys.

Start by reading one of their favorite stories and ask them to add their own twist.

If they are too tired to join in then you can just read to them.

9. LEGO Building

What you’ll need:

  • LEGO bricks
  • Building blocks

Get the LEGO bricks out and ask your toddler to build a place they know.

The library, school, Gran’s home.

Giving them a specific place to make will fully engage them and they will surprise you with their creativity.

Every brick will have meaning and it will help entertain them whilst feeling unwell.

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About the author
Daisy is a writer, mom, and expert on all things toddler-related. As a parent of three young children, she's experienced the highs and lows of parenthood firsthand, and she's passionate about sharing her insights with others. Through her website, The Toddler Life, Daisy offers practical advice and tips on everything from potty training to picky eaters. She's not afraid to get real about the challenges of parenting, and her honest and relatable writing style has earned her a loyal following of readers.

9 Creative ways to entertain a sick toddler

9 Creative ways to entertain a sick toddler