According to babycenter.com, toddlers will average seven colds a year with most taking place in the fall and winter months. In addition to love and cuddles, how does a parent keep a sick toddler entertained for the duration of the cold and flu season?

Baths — A bath can soothe an aching sick body and can be taken multiple times a day (barring a skin condition that would limit this). Special occasion toys can make the bath extra fun. Sesame Street finger paint soap and bath time crayons are a hit in our house.

Hands Off Toys — After the holidays and birthdays, the house is usually full of excess toys. Take a few to the closet and save them for a sick day.

Puzzles/Books — Sick days are perfect days for reading and playing puzzles. They are cuddle‑friendly, low key and can be utilized repeatedly.

Red Box — Take advantage of your local Red Box by renting a handful of toddler friendly movies for cheap (or free if you have a code — DVDONME is a consistent code for new users).

Juice in a Fun Container — Make fluids more appealing and fun by changing the container. Give yourself an excuse to make a Starbucks run and request an extra empty cup for your little one to use.

Paper Basketball — Low key, cheap and fun. Wad up pieces of paper, find a tub and challenge your toddler to a game of paper basketball. In our house, we use a cotton balls and a sturdy pitcher too. "Slam dunking" all the cotton balls and then taking them out over and over again brings smiles to my little man's face.

Puppet Show — If you have any puppets around the house, or stuffed animals, put on a puppet show for your toddler. A cozy spot on the couch with a favorite snack makes the show even more entertaining.

Sick Day Bucket — Create a sick day bucket and stock it in advance with toys your toddler can play in a cozy position. Stickers, crayons, and gadgets from the dollar bin at Target make this easy and affordable.

Sensory Tub — Fill a tub with shredded paper and toddler-safe items from around the house. Watch your toddler search through the tub for buried treasures.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink — When out of ideas, pull out all of the toddler safe utensils from your kitchen and let your little one go to town mixing, drumming, stacking and sorting. It's messy but fun.

Ease Aches and Pains with ideas from Five Easy Suggestions for Fighting the Cold and Flu the Natural Way.

Sick days are hard on toddlers and parents. Let the dishes stay unwashed, laundry pile up and pajamas stay on. Lots of love, fluids and creative low-energy activities will help the time pass quickly with more smiles than tears (from parents and baby).

See Also:

This post was included in the latest Homesteading Carnival.