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Boredom Busters For a Toddler in the Hospital

written by: Sylvia Cochran • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 8/2/2012

Taking your young child to the hospital is scary. Even if you are just staying for a very brief period of time, keeping the little one distracted and occupied takes some planning. Read on for some toddler hospital activities that are surefire fun boredom busters.

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    Why Plan for Toddler Hospital Activities?

    It doesn't matter how nicely painted and decorated the children’s hospital might be in your area. The fact is that big machines, scary sounds, the notion of shots, and--worst of all--the possibility of spending a night away from home are enough to reduce your normally happy toddler into a quivering child. While you cannot avoid a medically necessary hospital stay, there are some activities you can prepare for use during a hospital visit, which makes the stay less stressful on your child.

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    Hospital Fun Boredom Busters

    Online Toddler Games

    If your toddler enjoys playing online games, there are plenty of them on the websites for Sesame Street and also Fisher Price. Bring along your spare laptop and help the child get set up. This is especially helpful when children play familiar games with recognizable characters that offer a little bit of comfort from home.

    Plastic Easter Egg Games

    Find the plastic Easter eggs you have put away since the holiday, and use them to play silly games. You can play sorting, counting, color recognition, and also direction-following games. Best of all, these are games your toddler can play from a crib or hospital bed, even while attached to monitors and other machines.

    Coloring Books and Crayons

    Coloring is an old standby, but if you opt for coloring books that also offer simple connecting-the-dots activities, they might hold your child’s attention for a while. Make sure you bring along plenty of crayons. Markers color the skin and this might make it hard for doctors and nurses to keep an eye on a condition. You can also try a variety of different coloring/activity books.

    Bath Toys

    If your child is not confined to a bed or attached to monitors, ask if your child may take a bath. If so, bring along bath toys for fun game-play with suds, bath books, and plastic toys. These toys are also easy to keep clean, especially if your child has a communicable disease.

    Doctor Play Set

    If you have an older toddler who might be afraid of the unknown but is not quite able to voice these fears, a doctor play set might be just the right toy. Help the child in the course of playtime understand what the various items are used for, that most of them do not hurt, and that the ultimate goal is to have the child feel well again.

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    Being Prepared

    Hospital activities are a great way for toddlers to help pass the time and they may take the edge off the nervousness the child feels. It also helps to be prepared with backup activities. If this is a repeated stay at a hospital you might find that the toys your child enjoyed last time are more or less losing their luster this time around. Have a second bag of children’s toys in the trunk of your car and be prepared to come up with more fun boredom busters even if you need to recycle some materials from the initial set.

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    Source: Author's personal experience