Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

November 6, 2009

How to Have Fun while Avoiding the Flu

Filed under: Family Activities — Erin @ 1:23 pm

t1larg.sesame.giCold season is upon us, and many parents and children have told us they’re suffering from swine flu, a fever, or just a plain nasty cold. It’s gotten so bad, some have said, that they’re pulling their kids out of school to avoid the spread of germs between classmates. But what do you do once you’re home? Combined with the rainy days and darker and darker nights, families are spending so much more time cooped up inside, it can be hard to stay entertained. Today we thought we’d share a few fun ways you can avoid the flu and have fun at the same time!

Tips for Avoiding the Flu

First and foremost, it’s important to review all the CDC’s basic tips for avoiding the flu.

1. Get the flu vaccine
2. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
3. Avoid people who are sick
4. Throw away used tissues
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
6. Disinfect common surface areas in the home
7. Wash hands often with soap and water

There are TONS of fun ways to turn each of these tips into long-lasting habits, but we’ll just focus on a few:

Catch ‘Em!

kid sneezeRegardless of age, it’s almost a universal truth that people don’t cover their sneezes or coughs with a tissue.  So how can we expect kids to?  Who has time to run to the Kleenex box when an awesome episode of Sesame Street (woot, 40th Anniversary!) is on?   As a result, parents find themselves inexplicably crouched in front of their 3 year olds with an open tissue in hand, waiting to catch the next nose-twitch-turned-explosion.   Any parent could testify to how hard it is to catch them all, especially once you turn your back to get the remote, or get up to grab the laundry.  Ah-choo!

Instead, why not make Kleenex fun again?  All kids love having their own personal items, and what they love even more is carrying these things around.  Why not use this to your advantage and create an emotional affinity with a travel pack of Kleenex?  Stickers are a MUST, but the real highlight is making it portable.  All you’ve gotta do is punch holes in the sides of the plastic and use yarn to make a Kleenex necklace!  Even a fun Kleenex fanny pack might do the trick.  If crafting isn’t for you, you could also check out Germy-Wormies, slightly overpriced arm bands that encourage kids to sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than into their hands.

Toss ‘Em!

kleenex-in-waste-basketSure, you might be saying, it’s easy to imagine a toddling 3 year old wearing a Kleenexlace, but it’s equally easy to see the trail of dirty tissues littered behind them.  Save yourself the headache and turn the disposal process into a fun game too.   In the time-honored tradition of office workers around the world, make the toss a matter of skill.  Set up an open trash can in a corner of your house and put a line down on the floor using tape.    Demonstrate a few times for your toddler and then have them try!  The fun will never end, and, depending on their aim, the trail of Kleenex will.

Wash ‘Em!

children-washing-handsOnce again, hand washing is something that adults can’t even get right.  We don’t do it often enough, and we don’t do it long enough.  An important lesson for us all to learn is that proper hand-washing requires 20 seconds of scrubbin’!  For the younger kids, we suggest coming up with a fun jingle that’s — wait for it — 20 seconds long, so we start raising a generation of healthy, serenadin’ kids!  Need ideas?  Check out this hand-washing song.

1367_255For the older kids who might scorn such shenanigans, we scoured through our Zoodles games and found “The Case of the Filthy Fingers!” an interactive quiz game that helps your child recognize the right times to wash. And come to think of it, if none of this works, you could always make a Purell necklace and complete the collection :)

Don’t Forget Zoodles!

Last but not least, if you do find yourself with a sick little one, do not despair.  Despite all your best efforts, sometimes the bug gets all of us.  If you find yourself cooped up at home, Zoodles is always the best solution.  We’ll keep your kid engaged and make sure they’re keeping those minds sharp even on a sick day from school, without overly taxing their bodies or spreading their germs around the house.  More importantly, if you’re stuck at home too, or maybe even sick yourself, their independent play on Zoodles frees you up to take calls, answer emails and work from home.

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