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Maybe you're sick, injured, on bedrest, or just dog-tired. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to keep your kids entertained while you lie down. Here are 40 entertainment ideas from our site parents that make it easy to take it easy.
"My son likes to write Grandma a 'letter.' I open up a blank document on our laptop and set the font to a large size, and he types letters and numbers."
"This one is a winner – it's called 'What's on My Butt?' You lie face down on the couch and try to guess what object your kiddo has perched on your tush. 'Is that a cement mixer on my butt?' Just getting to hear you say the word 'butt' is the best thing that'll happen to your kid all day."
— The Dadler
"My newly crawling baby plays a mean game of fetch, which is lots of work for her and not much for me!"
"We have a baby dance party. I turn on some kids' music videos, sit on the couch, and have them dance for me. Sometimes they put on a parade, wearing kooky costumes, and prancing around with paper flags or colorful socks."
"My daughter and I set up a tent, which I lie down in. She pulls out a pile of books and we pretend we're camping."
"If you don't mind thinking while you're lying there, try this storytelling game. I pretend that I'm a very old man who can't move and who has an important story to tell – but I can only remember the story by looking at various objects that the kids bring back to me. So I send them all over the house for things like scarves, stuffed animals, and whatnot. If you can spin a story, you'd be surprised how long you can keep them entertained running around the house."
— The Dadler
"My son and I play online games that teach cause and effect, letters, numbers, shapes, and colors."
"I love 'Read Me the Story.' My son is 2, and he'll perch next to me on the couch with one of his favorite books and try to retell the story as he pages through it. Sometimes it's the real story, and sometimes he just makes things up. It's hysterical, and can last for up to half an hour!"
— Mama Badger
"I have special coloring books tucked away that I only bring out when I'm sick. I also allow my children extra time on the computer and a movie."
"Here's my favorite: My daughter gets all dressed up in her ballet gear and puts on a show in the living room. I have to be 'The Caller,' which means I provide a play-by-play commentary of the performance. 'Ooh, look at that pointed toe! What a jump! Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing a truly amazing show!' The best part: I can do this while lying on the couch."
— Carolyn R
"Be the patient and lie on the couch or bed. Let the kids be the doctor, taking your vitals, bringing you 'medicine,' and giving you shots with their doctor kit."
"If I'm under the weather, we have a jammie day. My little ones stay in their jammies, make tents with pillows and folding tables, and take bowls of snacks into the tent. And I keep the DVR or Netflix at my fingertips."
"We sit on the couch or in my bed, draw, then play 'What Did I Draw?'"
"My daughter plays 'Special Delivery.' She picks a random toy or object in the house and wraps it up in scrap paper. (Newspaper or a paper grocery bag works great, too.) Then she 'addresses' the package to me. Finally, she knocks on the door of the room I'm in and calls, "special delivery!" I invite her to come in, accept and open the package, and ooh and aah over it. Then she does it all over again with something else. She can keep this up for more than an hour, and I don't have to move!"
"I let my children polish my toenails. Sometimes I can also tolerate having my hair brushed and scalp massaged."
"My favorite is 'Fetch, Puppy!' This one is great while trying to relax outside or have a conversation with a friend at the park. You sit in a lawn chair or on a bench and throw a ball. Your little one runs after it and brings the ball back to you. If your child really gets into it, he may bring the ball back in his teeth or entertain you with some form of barking and running on all fours!"
"If I need to sleep, I use a timer so that my boys know exactly how long I'll be out of commission. Usually just a one-hour power nap will do wonders."
"I let my kids go couch surfing. I slide beneath the cushions of my couch and have my kids 'surf' on top of me. (One at a time is best.) It's a good idea to scoot away dangerous objects they could wipe out on, like the glass coffee table. Best of all, it's dark under the cushions and I can pretend the pressure of the kids' weight is actually the movement of a finely trained masseuse."
— The Dadler
"I can keep my younger daughter entertained for quite a while with this game. I lie on the couch and say 'peekaboo,' and she runs to the end of the couch, squats down behind the arm so I can't see her, then pops up and does her best to say, 'I see you!'"
"I set up a fort with the sofa cushions and gate off the area so my son can't wander off. Then I assemble some toys and snacks for him and get everything I need around me, like tissues and the remote, so I won't have to get up. I play some toddler shows on the TV, which he loves. When he gets bored with that, he plays with his toys or has a snack."
"Board games are great since they keep everyone mostly still and don't require too much energy. Chess is one of my standbys. Uno is a good game, too; you can hold the cards in bed."
"Get your child to pretend that you're a queen (or king) who never gets off her throne and must be waited on hand and foot. Just remember that when you feel better, it'll be payback time!"
"Play-Doh guarantees me at least an hour of quiet."
"I put our beach tent in the living room, which is gated off. I turn on PBS and give my daughter new puzzles and toys that she hasn't gotten to play with. I lie down on the couch, and she plays with her toy kitchen and brings me food that she 'cooked.' Before my husband leaves for work, he sets up an easy lunch and dinner for our daughter so we're set for the day."
"I set up my baby in his highchair with a few tiny bowls of yogurt that I've made different colors by adding a few drops of food coloring. I let him smear it on his tray like finger-paint, and I can sit down and relax while he's playing because I know it's fine if he licks his fingers."
"I taught my girls the quiet game. The first one to talk above a whisper loses, and whoever wins gets a prize! I get at least 30 minutes of somewhat quiet so I can rest."
"We have a baby gate up in front of our son's room. My husband will join my son in his room, then crawl into the toddler bed to nap while our son entertains himself with toys." — hesfinallyready
"My 6-month-old loves listening to me 'beat box' with my mouth (make a rhythm with just my lips and tongue). This keeps him entertained for as long as I can keep it up. When he gets older, I'll ask him to repeat the pattern back to me, which will help drag out the game even longer."
"My baby and I take a very long, warm bath together, just soaking in the tub."
"I put my kids in bed with me. We play with toys in bed or on the floor and nap together."
"I make it a point to have juice boxes, water, and easy snacks ready for my kids. I fill each circle of a muffin pan with a different snack – fruit, cereal, cut-up meat, diced cheese, little crackers – and leave it in the fridge where they can get to it themselves."
"I lie on the ground under my daughter's crawling tunnel, and she pops out at me over and over. She thinks it's the funniest thing in the world, as long as I say 'peekaboo!' each time. I have to keep my eyes open, but I get to lie down!"
"A good one is barbershop or salon. My daughter loves to brush my hair, put lotion on my legs, etc. It will keep her busy for hours!"
"When I can't be up and about with my kids, I just have them play 'Red Light, Green Light' up and down the hallway."
"I'm a fan of playing 'Spa Sisters,' where I coordinate my girls in an effort to give me a back and foot rub. They're surprisingly good at it and oddly motivated by scented lotion. 'Ooooh! Would you like Sweet Pea or Grapefruit, Mommy?'"
"The game I like is 'I'm the Baby.' You lie in bed and your kids pretend that you're a baby they're putting to bed. My girls will stroke my hair, read me stories, sing me lullabies – it's awesome. I drag that one out as long as I possibly can."
"I let my kids do something that's normally off-limits, like drawing on the driveway with chalk. The novelty of the activity keeps them occupied way longer than usual."
"My daughter loves shelling peanuts. It keeps her busy for long enough that I can actually enjoy the game I'm trying to watch."
"I lie on the floor and ask my 5-year-old to 'write' on my back. Love it! Even better is when I ask her to 'erase' each letter afterward. Instant back massage!"
— Lori M
"Something my son and I do often while we lie in bed is to use his flashlights to make shadow animals or creatures on the wall. He loves it! We make up stories and fictional characters and our shadows play with each other and dance on the wall. I don't know who enjoys it more though!" — SusieAk2Ca