Sick Day Fun: Play Dough, Mr. Potato Head, and Me

Having three small sick kids at home in the winter can be a bit of a challenge at times.

Ok, if I’m honest…sick or not and winter or not, staying home with small kids is a challenge.  I can often get discouraged at how much “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” goes on most of the day (and an emphasis on the rebuking part).  I can often get discouraged when it’s 4 p.m. and I’m still in my sweats and haven’t showered or left the house.  I can often get discouraged at how little I can “accomplish” while wiping noses and butts and cleaning up “toy explosions” 206 times a day.

However, there are these moments every once in a while that God gives.  Do you know the ones I speak of?  They remind me of a dark, cold day when the sun begins to peak through a cloud.  Or when you see the first buds on a tree after the winter thaw.  It’s that glimpse of “there is some good going on here.”

Amidst Week 3 of constant sickness in our house and all the usual “antics”, we had one of those God-given moments today.  It involved play dough, Mr. Potato Head, and me sitting at the counter with my kids.  I sat, played, and laughed with my little ones for over an hour.  Jack (my 4-year-old) even said at lunch, “Today has been a good day so far.”  Amen, brother!

So, if you’re looking for some Sick Day fun, here’s what we did:

Step 1:  Make some play dough or pull out the stuff you own.  Here’s how I made some super easy and awesomely moist dough.  It’s actually better than the store-bought variety, I think.

1 c. flour
1/3 c. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 c. water
food coloring

Mix all together and place over low heat.  Stir often until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Turn out onto waxed paper and cool.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  (ht:  Gretchen S)

Jack chose to make blue play dough.

Step 2:  Get out your Mr. Potato Head pieces or some Pumpkin Push Pins.  My friend Carrie even suggested pipe cleaners and feathers.

Step 3:  Start making some super cool aliens.  All that means is plop down a blob of play dough and push Mr. Potato Head pieces in.  We actually made a whole family of aliens.

Yep, it’s 10:30 a.m. and we’re all still in our PJs today.
Names that Hannah gave her aliens (from L to R): Mommy, Baby Boy, Brother, and Sister.

Step 4:  Make some hair for your aliens.  We used the play dough spaghetti maker.  Then, give the kids safety scissors and play “Alien Salon”.  This was a HUGE hit.  In fact, Jack went so far as to “shave the fur” off his alien.

Bottom line:  Putting down my “to do” list and not answering the phone this morning was the best decision I’ve made in a while.  I know I can’t do this every day, but I’m thankful I didn’t miss this simple, “there is some good going on here” moment.

One Caveat:  Upon reflection, this post leaves out a few facts:  a) I am truly grateful to be able to stay at home with my kids, b) I believe this to be an incredibly important job (even the wiping of butts and noses all day), and c) I enjoy it.  I didn’t want to leave those things unsaid.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Pingback: Word Post-Its: A Simple Activity for Young Readers