Chickenpox childcare - crafty tricks to keep quarantined kids entertained

PUBLISHED: 06:58 12 January 2018

Sally White. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sally White. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Spotty kids? Here’s how not to go dotty when chickenpox strikes

Back-to-back chicken pox infections has meant that we haven’t been anywhere, seen anyone or left the house since before Christmas. What’s 2018 like? Is everyone travelling by spacepod and holidaying on Mars?

We’ve been on lockdown for nearly a month now so we haven’t been able to go anywhere to review other than the doctor’s surgery (good parking, efficient staff, poor choice of snacks) so I’ve been granted permission to review some Days In activities.

Normally, I like to be out and about with the children because they’re far better behaved in public. What the big CP has taught me, though, is that you just have to surrender to it: you’re going nowhere other than the other room to slowly count to 10. It’s tough but it’s amazing how inventive you can be when you’ve got Four Walls Syndrome. Here are some of the top things my kids have enjoyed doing since we’ve been under quarantine.


We dug out an old, long-neglected till. We’d lost all the coins so improvised with Connect Four tokens and filled tuppaware boxes with tat from the toy draw. Using a hoover from the dolls’ house as a bar scanner, we were off! We’ve played endless hours of intense bartering and stock replenishing. Turns out my kids are unashamed conmen and have fleeced me of my yellows in exchange for an old yoyo and a handmade receipt.

Bird Seed

I saw it on Pinterest and, unlike every other Pinterest project, this was a success. You just pour a big bag of bird seed in a deep tray and let them drive diggers around it. This was a big hit with the three year old who spent hours playing with it. A very low-input activity (other than picking sunflower seeds off your socks for days afterwards).

Book binding

That might be a slightly overdoing what is essentially folding a wodge of paper up and stapling the middle. Nonetheless, we’ve made dozens of little books that my six-year-old writes stories in (always dark and usually ending ‘and then they were very poor’). The three year old is less interested but patiently listens to his brother’s elaborate reading in the manner of Victorian gent in a parlour.

Duplo Smackdown

Quintessentially violent, the rules are simple: 10 minutes on the clock to build your best model (parents vs children), one minute to smash them together until one breaks. Survivor is the winner. I’ve yet to win. Suspect foul play.

Audiobook in a den

My marvellous mum made us a tablecloth house a few years ago. We put it over the dining table, throw in a beanbag and a CD player and let them listen to Fantastic Mister Fox while we doze on a sofa.

‘Midnight’ adventures

This has been the climax of every poxy day. As soon as it’s dark, we put the kids in their wellies, coats and hats and go out with a torch. We go ‘exploring’ around the town and hide from cars and frighten dog walkers. We jump in puddles, chat, look at the stars and generally enjoy being outdoors after a long day being cooped up (#chickenpun).

It hasn’t all been craft and creativity: we’ve probably clocked up at least three days’ worth of Peppa Pig and we’ve bickered and moaned and stropped and I am MORE than ready to have a day that isn’t punctuated by Calpol administration and scab talk. I’d quite like to see daylight and have an excuse to put on shoes. It’s going to be quite an adjustment to be back in the real world once the pox has poxed-off but I’m ready to roar off in my spacepod and discover 2018.

Come over to the blog at and read all about our family life in happier, healthier times.

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