The easiest thing to do with a sick, fussy toddler, of course, is to pop him on the couch and let him veg out in front of the TV. That's what I feel like doing when I've been barfing my brains out. But when my two-year-old, who never saw an operational television until he was over a year old, started talking about the Wonder Pets like they were friends of his a couple of weeks ago, I realized it was [way past] time to put the breaks on the boob tube consumption.
This winter has been brutal. With two kiddos, our sick days have doubled and it seems like one virus just snowballs into another. In the past six weeks, we've had a crazy stomach flu, a cough & cold and now another cough & cold and each bug takes 7-10 days to work its way through the entire family. We're perennially tired, head-achey, generally achey and snotty. So. . . our normally active lifestyle of play dates, playground outings, walks, music class, museums and running errands, has ground to a halt and we're all going bonkers with cabin fever.
What to do with a tiny, sick little guy who can't go anywhere or do anything we usually do? Well, in our case, water always does the trick, but we can't spend half of every day in the bath and the wood floors in my kitchen are going to warp from the time we spend at the sink filled up with water, boats and cups with Huck on his stepladder.
Maybe you already do some version of this, but here's a stupidly easy, cheap and fun activity that keeps my little man happily engaged for 20 minutes or more. It's great fine motor practice and is about a thousand times more water-wise than filling a bath or sink. We call it Water Cups.
Here's what you need:
– A cookie/jellyroll pan
– Two shatterproof cups, different sizes, one filled with warm water
– A silicone potholder (optional, prevents slipping)
If your kid is anywhere near as obsessed with water and pouring as mine is, she'll love this activity, and so will you. Strap him in his booster or high chair at the table while you check email or empty the dishwasher and let her have at it. I put a silicone potholder on the table to prevent the cookie sheet, which keeps at least some of the water from slopping all over the table, from slipping and fill one of the cups with warm water. Occasionally I pour the water from the cookie sheet back into one of the cups.
Do you have some fun, cheap and easy activities to keep your tykes from going bonkers on sick or rainy days? Email us your ideas and pics and we may feature them on our blog.
Happy cold & flu season, Mamas! Spring is just around the corner.