7 Fun Reading Activities for Sick Days

These handy literacy-based ideas keep your kids entertained while they rest up and get well.
Jan 07, 2019



7 Fun Reading Activities for Sick Days

Jan 07, 2019

This can certainly be the season for sick kids! Both of my girls recently fell ill with dreadful coughs and colds one after the other no less — all while I was trying to get up to date with work, and organized for our upcoming holiday travels.

My strategy for surviving sick days typically involves providing a comfortable nest of pillows and blankets on the couch, just a little TV time, and a big selection of simple, quiet activities that don’t require too much from tired, restless kids who are low on energy. These seven sick day activities below, perfect for school-aged children, include the added benefit of a little literacy learning while they're missing out on classroom time.

1. Secret Messages

Play a sensory secret message game by using a fingertip to write on each other’s backs. You can write single letters or short words. The person feeling the writing on their back has to guess what each letter or word is. While it is simple and quick to play, this game is a lovely way to relax and bond with your child when he's feeling miserable or unwell, and great for winding down before a restful nap.

2. Ransom Jokes

Invite your child to use letters cut from magazines and junk mail to create fun joke pages. They can glue the individual letters onto blank paper to form the words for each joke. Then flip the page and add the answer. If you’re running low on comedic inspiration, check out these animal jokes for kids for inspiration. 

3. Audiobooks

Audio stories have to be one of my favorite ways to encourage my children to be still and rest. Kids can draw or color while they listen, or just lay back with their eyes closed to imagine the story. Try Mouse Cookies and More: A Treasury with CD with younger readers and Hotel for Dogs for middle schoolers. (Here are even more awesome audiobooks for kids of all ages.)

4. Origami Bookmarks

Making origami bookmarks is a great, low mess craft activity for kids who love to create. You’ll only need paper and colorful marker pens to start. Get a full tutorial on how to make origami bookmarks

5. Word Ladders

Write a three-letter word at the top of a piece of paper and invite your child to try changing just one letter at a time to make a new word. For example: 






Choose three letter words such as bug, lot, tie, sun, can, or set to start them off. How many rungs can your child add to their word ladder?

6. Words in Words

Write a long word across the top of a page and invite your child to find as many shorter words as they can using combinations of the letters from the initial word. For example:

BRAINSTORM: sat, mat, man, bar, tin, bin, mart, rain, brain

You could start with any long word but it’s best if the word has 10 or more letters and a good combination of vowels and consonants. Try celebration, gobsmacked, hippopotamus, rollercoaster, and kaleidoscope to get you started.

7. Read Aloud to Each Other

Snuggling down in a comfy spot with a favorite book to read together can help turn an unfortunate situation into a memorable moment with your child when they are feeling unwell. Take turns to each read a page or a paragraph. Try a classic like Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, head off on an adventure with The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, or enjoy a laugh together with Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. 

Best Books to Entertain Kids on Sick Days

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