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Planning preschool sick day activities for the classroom may sound silly, but it gives the young ones an opportunity to do some role-playing and learn how to care for others. Furthermore, students get the chance to work on language skills when sharing experiences with their peers. Try one or all of these mini lessons, which include for a follow-up to each book.
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The Sick Day by Patricia MacLachlan
The dialogue in this book is so realistic that it will make you smile. For example, when the story starts, Emily wakes up and tells her daddy, “I have a stomachache in my head." Thus begins a sweet story of a Daddy and little girl trying to deal with her sick day. Your preschoolers may even hear themselves when Emily whines for a certain stuffed animal and poor Daddy can’t seem to do anything to make her feel better. The day ends up being special as Daddy plays music and tells Emily stories. However, what will happen tomorrow?
Activity - Sharing the comfort
Ask your students to bring in something from home that always comforts them when they are sick. Is it a blanket, pillow, stuffed animal or a toy? Then ask the students to share something that a parent or caregiver does to make them feel better when they are sick.
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The Berenstain Bears Sick Days by Jan and Mike Berestain
Poor Sister Bear is sick and can’t go to school. However, Mama Bear ends up being the one who is really worn out and ill. How did this happen?
Questions to ask:
1. What did Mama Bear do to find out if Sister was really sick? Took her temperature
2. What did Sister Bear need to do to get better? Stay in bed.
3. How did Mama know Sister was getting better? She was playing and knocked over a plant.
4. What does your parent do to help you get better when you are sick?
Activity - Charades
Mama did so much around the house that she was worn out. The children each have a turn to act out one of the things Mama did and see if the others can guess what the job is.
Choose the more outgoing children to “act" first, so that the shy children can become more comfortable with the activity. Tell the children that they may use props in the room to help them, but they cannot say anything. Whisper the chore in the child’s ear, and let them act it out. The others need to guess the chore.
Here is a list of Mama’s chores to use:
- Pouring milk
- Setting the table
- Folding clothes
- Carrying a tray of food upstairs
- Putting baby in playpen
- Covering Sister with a blanket
- Put laundry in the dryer
- Running up the stairs
- Drinking tea
- Playing blocks with baby
- Cooking at the stove
- Washing dishes
- Putting baby down for a nap
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead
Amos McGee is a zookeeper who loves the animals in his care. He takes time with each of them to do a special activity. One day, when Amos does not show up for work, his animal friends leave to zoo to check on him. His animal friends give Amos the care that he always gives them. This is a gentle story of friendship. Discuss the concept of friendship with the students by using examples from the book.
Role-play with partners or groups of three. One student is sick, and the others tend to the sick one. Think of ways to make the patient more comfortable and hopefully get better. Use props in the room such as a tea set, nap mat, or stuffed animal.
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When you are sick, you are told to stay in bed. Find out what happens when there are too many in the bed!
Five in the Bed (a fingerplay)
There were five in the bed, (hold up five fingers)
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!"
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
There were four in the bed…
There were three in the bed…
There were two in the bed…
There was one in the bed…
And the little one said, “Good night!"
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Summary and Resources
Preschool sick day activities in the classroom provide opportunities for students to share feelings about being sick and to do some role-playing. All these aid in language development.
Resource for fingerplay: The Complete Resource Book: An Early Childhood Curriculum by Schiller and Hastings
Photo credits: www.barnesandnoble.com