If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that last week we were hit with the dreaded chicken pox. I knew it was going to be a tricky period because I have one of the most active children I have ever met and he wasn’t unwell with the spots. He had been pretty run down in the lead up to it but this had passed and he was still his usual ‘ants in his pants’ self. With that in mind, I turned to some fellow bloggers to find out what brilliant activities they had written about or could recommend to me to help us survive being stuck at home. I had some amazing blogs to read through and have spent the last 7 days trying each out. I can now report back that each day we had a successful activity and planning these in really did help with being cooped up.
The lovely Jodie from Tightwad Mama gave me the idea of mess free painting. She thought of this because paint could possibly irritate the skin and having this as an option will mean that your child can still enjoy being arty whilst having chicken pox.
I squeezed different coloured paints into freezer bags and then let Jake move it around through the plastic, creating patterns and swirls and watching as the colours began to mix. He loved the feel of it and the effects we got when we stuck them to the window.
You can also do this with a tray covered in paint and clingfilm placed over the top. Read Tightwad Mama’s post here.
I had thought about buying a tuff tray recently and when Jade from Raising the Rings suggested I could do lots of activities using one I went straight onto Amazon and selected next day delivery! The first thing Jake wanted to do was fill it with water… outside of course. Luckily, we had a nice sunny day and playing with water was taking his mind off the pain that had started with the spots. This was the worst day for him overall.
We then got a little adventurous and created a dinosaur land using stones, sand, mud, twigs, grass and toy dinosaurs.
I am not a fan of play doh. For me it is just smelly and messy – it just seems to end up on every sock, carpet and room! I have always liked the idea of making my own but never knew where to start. Niki from Play & Learn Everyday then told me about her recipe for sensitive skin play doh:
- 1 cup of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 cup of corn flour/corn starch
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- a few drops of lavender oil
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- gel food colouring (optional, leave out if concerned about any skin reactions)
I swapped the coconut oil for olive oil as I do not like the smell of coconut but I should have prob halved the amount due to how thick it was. It took extra flour to absorb this and remove the stickiness. The great thing is that this can’t really go too wrong, though… which was good for me! I mixed the water and oil in a pan over a medium heat and then added the food colouring. Once mixed I gradually added the flour and baking soda. The smell at first wasn’t pleasant but as it all began to congeal you could see it coming together as play doh. I took it off the hob and continued to stir as it cooled. This was when I added more flour to get the consistency I needed. Once this was achieved I added the oats and lavender which are both gentle on chicken pox spotted skin.
You can read Play & Learn Everyday’s post here.
When I ordered the tuff tray I also popped some aqua beads into the basket. These are tiny beads to begin with but when added to water they gradually expand and are a great sensory tool. Jake has enjoyed watching these grow, fishing them out with his net and discovering how they feel in his hands.
I loved the idea of making our own skittles from Samantha over at Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be fine. We saved up 6 water bottles over the week and decided to make each one into a different type of animal. Most of this may have been down to me, though! I filled each bottle about a third of a way with water to make them a little heavier and set about making a cheetah, a giraffe (that Jake insists is a caterpillar), a zebra, a snake, a parrot and a sheep. Then we took them outside and had our game of skittles on the lawn.
You can read Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be fine’s post here.
By this point, we were both becoming a little stir crazy with cabin fever and the spots were beginning to scab. We did venture out for a little walk and both felt so much better for it. When we returned we were all set to do one of the activities I was looking forward to the most; making a puffy planets solar system with the idea from Jemma at Thimble and Twig.
You will need shaving foam, PVA glue, plastic spoons and black card/paper. I mixed 3 parts shaving foam with 1 part glue – in other words, I guessed! I then added in a choice of paint colour and gave it a really good stir to get the foam to, well, foam. This will depend on the type you are using but the one my husband has comes out as a gel to start with so needed to be frothed up. Once you have the right consistency you can pass your mixture over to your child to create ‘planets’ or whatever they decide upon depending on their age. Jake enjoyed getting quite messy and I really enjoyed trying something quite different.
You can read Thimble and Twigs full post here.
The end is in sight as the spots have all scabbed or faded and we are safe to go out. This may vary between each child so you may still need to come up with a few more activities. We opted to play with Jake’s Tap Tap Art because we had both covered enough crafts for one week and this combines fine motor skills with problem-solving all in one. Jake received this as a present last Christmas and it’s been one of his favourite toys to come back to. It consists of a mallet, pins, a cork board and coloured shapes. You can choose to create one of the options on the supplied cards or come up with your own design. It is simple but so effective in calming a child down and holding their attention.
So there we have it, 7 activities to get you through what can be one of the most boring illnesses there is. Good luck and I hope you can enjoy some of these as much as we did. A huge thanks goes out to the lovely bloggers who contributed towards this post.
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