How to entertain a toddler when you’re ill | Fun ideas

How to entertain a toddler when you’re ill | Fun ideas 


Being ill is never fun. Being ill and looking after a toddler is even further away from the fun. Coughs and colds are always flying about so it is inevitable that at some point as parents we will have to entertain a toddler when you’re ill. Your energy will be low but theirs will be high so activities that help burns some of their energy but conserve yours are vital. Being ill affects my ability to think and plan, so having some go-to games at the ready is ideal. When you are well and have some time, prepare an ill box and hide it away in the closet. Inside the box, place some envelopes, some small beanbags, and 5-8 small toys. For the toys, you can use dinosaurs, dolls, balls, Legos, cars, wooden animals, cups, and some pasta shapes. Next time you are horizontal in bed and struggling to find the energy to entertain your toddler, reach for your prepacked box, and get entertaining. 

Indoor Sports

For this activity, get the beanbags out of the ill box and place them around your home. Next, get back into bed and ask your child to collect them one at a time and bring them back to you, comfortably in bed. You can time them and when they are done, see if they can beat their time. You can even mix it up and ask them to all the red ones first and then the blue etc. This will keep them entertained and active whilst you get some rest time in bed.

What is Missing?

This is a classic game that can be played even when you’re not ill. Get the 4 or 5 of the toys out the ill box and place them on a mat or tray. Ask your toddler to shut their eyes or leave the room and count to 10. Move one of the toys and hide it. Ask your toddler to name the toy that is missing. It helps if you go through each toy at the start to familiarise them with each toy. It’s also helpful if they are different colors and have different textures so there are even more distinguishable features. This is a great game to play when ill and in need of a way to entertain a toddler. 

Name that Song

If your toddler likes music and can recognize a few songs, then name that song is an easy way to entertain your toddler while you are ill. Get Alexa to play some songs or simply play from your cellphone. Listening to music and trying to guess the song name is very challenging for a toddler but will make for a highly enjoyable game for them. If your toddler is anything like mine then they’ll be dancing around and singing along. Fantastic energy-sapping fun.

Touch something…

This is a fantastic game to play when you’re unable to move too much and need to rest up in bed. From your bed or sofa ask your toddler to touch something of a certain color. This will get your toddler thinking and also moving around the room. You can time them and challenge them to beat their record. This will entertain them long enough for you to get some much-needed rest. You can always raid your ill box if your room is lacking different colored objects.

I spy

This is probably one of the most simple and recognizable games to play. It transcends decades and has been played by everyone at some point in their life. When it comes to playing I spy with a toddler, keep it simple by using colors. For example, I spy with my little eye something that is red. Your toddler will then explore the room trying to find something red whilst you can rest up in bed.


This is an all-time classic game and can be played with minimal input from a parent, so ideal when you are ill and lacking energy. Get your prepacked envelopes from the box and address them to the important people in your toddler’s life. Grandparents, auntie’s & uncle’s, friends, and pets! Next, ask your toddler to post these very special letters. You can use the ill box for this or a drawer. You can get your toddler to decorate the cards as well to add more creativity. 


Playdough is a superb all-season activity and one that’ll entertain your toddler whilst you rest up. Playing with playdough is thoroughly creative and also a very relaxing activity. You can get a small table for your toddler to contain the playdough (it can get very messy) and get some rest whilst they create too their heart’s content. If you theme the game as well, you can get extra play out of it. For example; vehicle theme, they have to create items out of playdough to do with vehicles or jungle theme, animals you would find in the jungle. 


Nobody ever plans to get ill but it’s an inevitable fact that you will get sick at some point. When you are drained and needing rest but have a toddler to look after life get’s even harder. If you can plan and prep your ill box in advance then you’ll feel more in control of the situation. If you are too ill to play any game, don’t feel guilty about putting a film or TV program on. Sometimes that’s the only way to get rested and recover from your illness.

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About the author
Henry is a father of 2 boys, musician and expert on all things parenting-related. As a dad, he's experienced the joys and challenges of raising children first-hand, and he's passionate about sharing his insights to help others.

How to entertain a toddler when you’re ill | Fun ideas

How to entertain a toddler when you’re ill | Fun ideas