10 Calm Sick Day Activities for Kids (for when you want to turn off the TV)

sick day activities for kids

Sick day activities for kids sounds like it should just be TV. But if you’ve been there, you know, TV just isn’t always the solution!

Kids get bored, or you just want to get them to do something. Especially if you’re child is sick for a few days in a row.

So I’ve rounded up ten different sick day activities that are low-key. Most of these your kids can do just by sitting on a couch or at a table.

These activities will help to engage your child and to break up the long sick days at home!

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1. Baking

I know what you’re thinking: Gross kid germs and baking? Sounds unsanitary.

Hear me out.

Rather than baking, think more like “baking.”

I’m talking more like break-apart cookies. 

Your sick kid could put her cookies on her own cookie sheet, while you do some for the rest of the family.

Need to get your child to eat a little something?

Try baking some mini muffins together!  

Your child will likely want to try something they’ve made!

A quick “baking” session can get your child up off the couch for a little bit!

2. Play-Doh

Play-doh is a wonderful go-to for sick days. Your child is sitting in one spot, but is still being creative and working with his hands.

Worried about the germs? 

Hand out some older play-doh that’s on its way out the door. 

Toss it after play, and throw the plastic play-doh tools in the dishwasher!

Worried about the mess?

Check out these nine secrets to avoid the play-doh mess here!

3. Coloring

It’s a classic for a reason.  It can be soothing to both big and small kids.

Since the advent of the “adult coloring books,” there’s a ton of options for all ages!

Here’s a selection of coloring books for young children.

If your older kids like to color, here are some great options!

4. Puzzles

This is another great sit-in-one-spot activity!

I love using tray puzzles on sick days. 

They can be used right on the couch or lounging in bed, without needing a table.

Melissa & Doug make some great ones!

We’re currently loving these from Target.

If your child is ready for tray-less puzzles, you can use something like this for a lazy sick day on the sofa!

5. Sensory Bin

I’m a huge fan of sensory bins, both large and small.

Kids of all ages LOVE them. And it’s so easy.


Get a bin. 

Find a filler like dry pasta, rice, cotton balls, sand, or even water.

Fill the bin with the filler.

Toss in some scoops and containers.

Your work is done.

I typically use a large shallow bin that could be used for under-the-bed storage.

I’ll sometimes use smaller tabletop sensory bins.

I’ll fill a hard plastic pencil case with dried black beans and a few scoops.

If you’re looking for more sensory bin ideas, simply search “sensory bins” on Pinterest!

You can get as fancy or as simple as you’d like!

6. Reading

Again, another staple.

Looking to switch it up?  Here’s a few ideas:

Give your child a stack of books that haven’t been pulled out in a while, for some independent book time. (This is good for any age!)

Read a new chapter book to your child.

Read a whole pile of books together.

Reading together can be an amazing bonding experience, which is really great for when you child isn’t feeling so great!

7. Puzzle Books

Depending on the age of your child, a puzzle book of some sort is a great sick day activity!

For preschool aged kids, a workbook like this one is a great thing to pull out!

You can read my full review of why I love this workbook here, even though this teacher mom doesn’t like worksheets!

Dot-to-dot and maze books are great for younger kids!  And older ones!

If your kids are a little older, they may enjoy some sudoku, crosswords, word finds, or number fills (my personal fave!).

No matter the age, a puzzle book is a great sick day activity for kids!

8. Bead Work

I don’t know about you, but I loved all things beading as a kid.

It allows children to calmly focus, while creating something special.

They’re enhancing their fine motor skills along with hand-eye coordination.

Again, depending on the age of your child, they may be interested in different types of bead work.

Toddlers and preschoolers like simply beading chunky beads onto strings.

They also love stringing Cheerios or other cereals onto pipe cleaners.  (This can be a helpful tactic if you’re trying to get a little food into their bellies!)

Kindergarteners through about second or third grade often like using pony beads with string or elastic to make bracelets for themselves, friends, and family members!

Diamond “painting” and iron-on Perler beading are great options for older kids!

All of this beadwork will keep you sick little one calm, but off of the screens for a while.

9. Take Apart Toys

Beginning at age two, the kids in our house love these take apart toys!

They simply use little plastic screwdrivers and wrenches to take apart things like a train, motorcycle or racecar.  

Then, they can put them back together, again!

It’s amazing for fine motor work!  It also requires focus.

I’ll often put all the parts in a little basket for my kids to do on the couch or at the table.

The basket keeps all the little nuts and screws from getting lost in the couch cushions or falling to the floor.

Our first train was from the Target Dollar Spot a few years ago.  We actually got an awesome truck break-apart toy from the Dollar Tree this past Christmas season!

My kids love this set from Amazon.  It’s great for kids two to about six.  (I even find it satisfying to take apart the car, just to put it together again!)

As they get older, we will graduate a little more complicated set like this one.

A take apart toy like these are excellent sick day activities for kids!

10. A Walk

If your child is physically up for it, and the weather is cooperating, go for just a small walk outside.

The fresh air can really do wonders for one’s mood, not to mention overall well-being.

It doesn’t have to be long.  

Just getting outside for a couple minutes is a great way to break up the day!


These sick day activities for kids are great things to try out when you are ready to give the TV a break!

What do your kids like to do on sick days?

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