This week has been a bit of a bummer. Little Captain has had croup all week and I have been struggling with a chesty cold. Croup is one of those childhood illness’ that is common enough, but quite stressful. Basically, as a parent, you are woken at night by your child struggling to breath and they have a cough that sounds like a seal barking. The first few times it happened to Cap, we were quite scared. It sounds truly horrible and when you see them struggling to take breath, well it hurts you. We understand it more now, but when your tot is straining with that ‘strider’ wheeze, worry still pulses through your mind and body. During the night you are either up with your child cuddling them as they have a gurgling, coughing attack or you are lying in bed listening to the rattle in their chest when they have finally fallen asleep, wondering if it will get bad again.
Cold air irritates and triggers croup symptoms, so, little man has been under house arrest, so to speak. Needless to say, my social, highly active, and boisterous toddler has been going a bit bonkers. I should mention here that for croup, kids are prescribed a very short course of steroids. This can make them a tad um… crazy! So, my challenge was coming up with activities that helped Cap burn his energy, use his gross motor skills and engage his need for social stimulation.
So what have we been doing to fight the tedium?
Obstacle clambering – I made Cap an obstacle course using lounge room objects, things he could climb, clamber over, balance on, and slide down. He had fun, and I was quite impressed with how long he lasted on it.
Painting – Cap does not usually ask to paint, but this week he has, so we did. I set up the ‘old school’ kind of water paints. You know the ones that are dry until you wet the brush. Much cleaner and easier to set up and pack up. This work really well when you know your kid won’t paint for long (maybe 3-5 mins) but will want to paint again in an hour or so time.
Sticker and stamp fun – This is a good activity for developing concentration, and fine motor skills. Cap, enjoys ‘sticking’, and we added some self-inking stamps for extra fun. This activity had an added benefit for me, using up more of those leftover achievement stickers from teaching days. Win!
Books, books and more books – Cap usually has several books read to him everyday, but this week the number has increased. I think it is quite comforting for a child to be cuddled and read to, particularly when they are ill. Not to mention the benefit to language development. As I have had a nasty cough myself, my reading voice was a bit strained, but the cuddles were so worth it. These are the books that had multiple encores:
Play dough – Another indoor activity that is fun, creative and sensory. Also one you can quickly and easily get out and pack up. Cap usually pretends to make food with play dough. Next I will show you a new play focus for the ever growing amount of ‘brown’ play dough.
Construction fun – I was searching through Pinterest (as you do) looking for indoor play ideas and found ‘How to Make Dirt Play Dough’ on Sarah’s blog Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls Thanks for that Sarah! So I have given it my own twist. I got on my laptop while Cap had a nap and created this play mat, which I then laminated. It has a quarry, and a sustainable logging forest (cause you are never to young to learn about responsible use of natural resources). It also has a truck depot and a round about. I collected some sticks for logs, and pebbles for quarry stone and Cap has had fun combining everything. We don’t have any little trucks, so we used cars. One of the roads doesn’t quite line up, I just didn’t have enough time to get it exact, but if you want a copy I have created a pdf for you to download.
You can download the pdf of the play mat I made below:
Indoor construction play mat
Music circle – Cap loves music and is a bit of an entertainer. We have daily music sessions together, but this week they were sanity savers. Nothing lifts you out of the ‘lurgy lows’ than a bit of rhythm and melody. Cap has a uke, drums, recorder, tin whistle, xylophone and maracas, however it is fun to get creative in the musical department, the spoons, my saucepans, wooden spoons etc. Listening and dancing to music is a lot of fun for tots. Actually it helps you both get moving when stuck inside.
Puppet theatre – Last week, or maybe the week before I made a puppet theatre from a cardboard box. I meant to cover it with cool fabric and make it look super pro, but I didn’t get around to it. So, this week, together we decorated it, and then had a little show. I am not sure Cap really gets the concept of the ‘puppet theatre’, but he liked colouring and sticking and trying to use scissors. We also played ‘post offices’ with it later on. Cap really liked that, he runs a super post office, I got change every time I paid for a stamp!
We love the toy library – I can highly recommend being a member of a local toy library. It means your little people get to play with new toys whenever you borrow. You can borrow expensive or large items you may not be able or want to purchase. Kids like adults love new, novel things, they crave fresh inspiration, and with toy library toys they get a kick out of playing with something new to them and you return them before your child gets bored. This weeks fave toy was the Melissa and Doug post box.
Dress ups – In my life as a teacher, I collected a range of drama costumes. This week I dug them out of the shed for Cap to play with. It was lots of fun and Cap enjoyed seeing himself look different and watching his mum being silly. I must admit that dress ups was one of my favourite activities as a kid. Such fun!
Watched some TV – This week Cap and I had daily sessions snuggled up on the sofa, watching Puffin Rock, Thomas or Play School. Cause if you can’t do that when you are sick and need cuddles, when can you? By the way, if you are a Chris o’Dowd fan, get onto Puffin Rock, cause his narration is cool!
There are heaps of other things you could add to this list, and I hope you do, below in the comments. Cap’s croup doesn’t seem to be shifting, so I may need more ideas.
Thanks for Reading