101 Things Your Kid Can Do With a Cast On

posted in: Parenting | 39

101 Things your kid can do with a cast on!Honestly, I could have also titled this list “101 Laid Back Activities for Kids Who Like to be Active.”  But since I made this list when my toddler, Toby, was wearing a cast, we’ll stick with that.  Toby managed to get a hairline fracture in his leg while being silly last fall. It took three days, two trips to the ER, and several sets of x-rays to revise his injury from a sprained ankle to a fractured tibia. Let’s just say, while I was sad he broke his leg, I’m glad I listened to that mom instinct and returned to the ER for more x-rays.

We had two stressful days in a temporary splint before we were able to get in for the permanent cast. Which wasn’t a walking cast, persay. But in all honesty, who can keep a toddler from walking or standing on their cast for three weeks? Not this mom.

The loss of independence was really rough for Toby. To go from doing pretty much everything himself to having to ask for help with the simplest things is tough. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult! I helped my husband through a similar situation when he tore his patellar tendon. It doesn’t matter if you have a caregiver who is more than happy to take care of you — it’s the loss of independence that wears you down. Not being able to walk or get around is rough. And more so for kids because they can’t verbalize their feelings.

I wracked my brain to come up with things that we could do — things that Toby would enjoy and be kept busy with while the cast remained on. Let’s just say I was really grateful that we had weekly activities on the schedule to help pass the time. Preschool, moms and tots, and the like. But the one that didn’t work? Swim lessons. Although I did find some waterproof cast covers for swimming on Amazon (#afflink) that looked really neat — this discovery came midway through our cast time and it wouldn’t have been used more than once by the time I could get it in hand.  A fellow mom shared one of her blog posts with me about her child’s cast activities: Having a Blast When Your Kid Has a Cast.

All in all, we made it through.  What did we do?  Well, a lot of things.  While I didn’t document our every adventure, I did compile a list of 101 things your kid can do with a cast.  Keep in mind some of these activities may need to be modified depending on whether you child has their leg or arm in a cast.  But hopefully these things will get you thinking of even more ways to have fun when your kid is somewhat immobilized!

101 Activities You Can Do While Wearing a Cast

  1. Read books
  2. Visit the zoo
  3. Make a sand volcano
  4. Bake bread. We like to make Irish Soda Bread (recipe)
  5. Play beanbag games (indoors)
  6. Get them thinking about helping others by making an acts of service jar
  7. Visit the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum (a local children’s museum with tons of activities to do and things to see).
  8. Make a portable tinkering kit
  9. Go to story time at the library.
  10. Learn to code (get a kano computer kit on Amazon #afflink)
  11. Visit the park and go on the swings (this could work for casted legs, arms not so much)
  12. Go see a play or musical
  13. Take a bike ride (if you have one of those pull-behind bike trailers that’s on my wishlist #afflink)
  14. Play a musical instrument (or just make noise on one)
  15. Make a toy boat from a greeting card
  16. Go to an aquarium
  17. Host a playdate (or meet up at a park).
  18. Come up with creative ways to play with Magna Tiles (we LOVE ours! Get your own Magna Tiles on Amazon #afflink)
  19. Plant some seeds and start a garden
  20. Make a foldable take along train track set
  21. Go “digging” for bugs with an excavation kit
  22. Have a movie night, with popcorn and kid-selected “toppings”
  23. Make your own mini microscope
  24. Make a camera obscura (shadow box from my ABCs of Photography for kids activity series)
  25. Make sculptures from nuts and bolts
  26. Combine learning and play with racecar math
  27. Make heat sensitive color changing slime
  28. Play with glowsticks
  29. Practice lacing with these free printable lacing cards
  30. Learn how to work (or play) with yarn
  31. Make Lego Inspired electric playdough
  32. Have a camp out, complete with tent if you have one (either outdoors, or in your living room)
  33. Color rocks with permanent magamerkers
  34. Sew a nature pouch
  35. Go to the grocery store and let your kid ride in the “fancy” car shopping cart
  36. Put together an arts + crafts busy box
  37. Make milk carton crayon ice candles
  38. Have a bonfire and make smores
  39. Play numerous indoor games with balloons
  40. Make bouncy balls from loom bands
  41. Have a sing-along party
  42. Make a play fort kit from old sheets
  43. Make raisins dance (science experiment)
  44. Play “I Spy” (with flashlights!)
  45. Make a bug house (or be lazy like us and buy a bug house on Amazon #afflink)
  46. Make a time capsule
  47. Create a new recipe (we made peanut butter jelly dip)
  48. Make trail mix (and let your kid pick what goes in it)
  49. Make popsicles and learn about diversity in the process
  50. Do a science experiment to make flowers change colors
  51. Make a buckle toy from an old carseat
  52. Make a cardboard pirate ship
  53. Play doctor and take care of a stuffed animal’s broken arm/leg
  54. Make a money bank
  55. Make ice cream in a bag
  56. Zoom (gently) around the house on a wheeled toy (we love our bumblebee wheely bug #afflink)
  57. Get a birdfeeder and go birdwatching up close
  58. Get out pipe cleaners and thread them through a strainer/colander
  59. Get a subscription to the Animal Trackers Club
  60. Make a lava lamp
  61. Make DIY seed paper (for growing seeds)
  62. Play Move and Groove, a movement-based dice game (get Move and Groove on Amazon #afflink)
  63. Make your own homemade marble runs
  64. Make Stone Soup (and read the book, of course)
  65. Play with straws (7 ways!)
  66. Sew something together
  67. Get busy coloring (90 free coloring pages for kids)
  68. Pretend to be super heroes (we got our cape at the Super Run!)
  69. Go out to eat for a lunch “date”
  70. Make your own geo board
  71. Melt frozen hands (a salt and ice activity)
  72. Play board games
  73. Make glowing bounce balls
  74. Make your own board game (check out my In A People House board game with printable)
  75. Paint with flowers
  76. Try animal yoga for kids
  77. Grow romaine lettuce from kitchen scraps
  78. Sneak around the house in “stealth mode”
  79. Make a DIY Air Fort
  80. Make a quick and easy photo memory game
  81. Learn about chemical reactions using baking soda and vinegar
  82. Order a waterproof cast cover for swimming on Amazon (#afflink) and get in the pool
  83. Turn an old toddler bed into a sandbox
  84. Play with a ball (catch, rolling the ball back and forth, bouncing it, etc)
  85. Make a peace corner
  86. Check out these 20 No-Prep Fine Motor Activites
  87. Play with kinetic sand
  88. Make a lip balm rocket
  89. Have a wheelbarrow race (hold your child’s legs, let them walk on their arms)
  90. Make a button snake (for practicing button skills)
  91. Learn math with 100 creative, hands-on math activities for kids
  92. Work in the garden together
  93. Try some stretching exercises
  94. Go for a car ride and let your kid choose which way to turn (e.g. “left or straight?”)
  95. Learn about bubble science, make your own bubble solution and bubble blower
  96. Make fizzing sidewalk paint
  97. Make a rubber band powered car
  98. Go on a photo scavenger hunt
  99. Give your child a piggyback ride
  100. Make a shape stretchie for creative movement
  101. Have tickle time (or if you need something more calming… try snuggle time)

Phew!  We made it.

Did you start skimming the list? Or give up, deciding to bookmark this (or pin it) for later?  I don’t blame you.  I needed a break after getting this list put together for you!

If you have any other ideas you’d like to add to the list, I’d love to hear from you.  Have you ever been in a cast?  What was the worst part?  Did this list get you excited?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

39 Responses

  1. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for linking to our indoor beanbag games! I’ll be sharing this on Facebook 🙂

  2. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Jennifer! We actually found your beanbag post a while back and my son LOVED the games!

  3. Theresa

    This list is great for kids with casts. Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with my own kids having this happen to them, but if I did, I would know to stop back by here to come up with ideas.

  4. Jessica Harlow

    This is such a smart list! Until you’ve had a kiddo break their arm, you don’t realize how sedentary they can become. It’s days filled with “I’m bored” and me wracking my brain trying to think of things to keep them occupied that won’t run the risk of injury!

  5. Austin

    You forgot number 102, use a bent coat hanger to scratch under their cast all day long…

  6. Christy Maurer

    This is a great, fun list! My son was in a cast a couple of years ago when he and a friend decided it would be fun to see who could bend a metal door by punching it…..boys will be boys. Thankfully, he could do most things normally though!

  7. Briton

    I don’t know how none of my 3 kids haven’t broken a bone…yet! This is a great list of ideas to save, just in case!

  8. Colette - JamericanSpice

    I love that you made this list!
    I remember as a child I was basically cut off in a dorm, just because I had a cast on my leg.

    Great list!

  9. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    Oh I may need to look back on this list one day when my boy is older. I love that reading books is top of the list!

  10. Heather

    This is a great list of things kids can do while laid up in bed. I’m thankful that with as rough and tumble as my two boys can be, they haven’t broken any bones yet. Thanks for this list.

  11. Lauren

    I never wore a cast before, but I bet it stinks, especially for a kid! This is a great list! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Tiffany

    Wow! Who knew there was so much they could still do? I haven’t had any kids who’ve needed casts (thankfully) but I can imagine the stress when they feel constrained and like they can’t do anything. This list definitely proves that to be wrong!

  13. CourtneyLynne

    ong what a great list!! Thank goodness My daughter and I have never had to rock a cast, but this is such a great list of ideas for kiddos.

  14. Krystal

    That is such a great list of activities for kids to do with and without a cast actually! Love that you took the time to get creative and share this with us!

  15. Danielle

    Wow! When you begin to think about it, there ARE lots of things they still can do!

  16. A. Elizabeth

    Great list! Will share and keep this list for my sister who has a hyperactive son. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Franc Ramon

    Being on a cast shouldn’t stop you from being active. There are a lot of things to do like read books and do some crafts.

  18. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    Crossing my fingers my kids has the same luck as I am currently experiencing, which is (knock on wood!) no broken anything! But your list is very handy and good to know!

  19. Rebecca Swenor

    This is an awesome list of a 101 things for kids to do with a cast on. I will have to share this with my niece because her son and daughter are dare devils. I have a feeling they both may end up in a cast in no time. lol Thanks for sharing.

  20. Rosey

    Aww to the bear, lol
    My husband had a cast a few years back and my daughter made one for herself too. 😉 This is a good list for those who are stuck with one for awhile.

  21. Jenny

    Great list! I love the sound of a portable tinkering kit, I think my 5 year old would love his own 🙂

  22. Anne

    Poor Toby! That has to be hard for a toddler. What an awesome list of stuff to do that you made for him. Thanks for including some of our activities.

  23. Betsy Finn

    Well thank you for sharing the activities! Sometimes I am particularly grateful for the resources online these days.

  24. Jake moody

    This really helped my 15 year old buddy! His personal favorites were number 49 and 101! I never realized how making popcycles help you learn so much about diversity.

  25. Kate

    My 6yo just broke his arm, and school ends next week. Thanks to you and your list, I feel like I’ll be armed and ready for the coming weeks until the cast comes off!! Thank you!!

  26. Esti Berkowitz

    Thank you so much for this list. My daughter (11) just broke her arm (radius and ulna) and will have a cast on for most of the summer. It is always good to hear from other moms and how they work through these times!

  27. Finley Harscheid

    I have had two..by the way in on my moms account

  28. Finley Harscheid

    I’m not on my moms account I’m sorry

  29. Finley Harscheid

    I have a cast right now and I had one last summer

  30. Finley Harscheid

    Last summer I broke my foot and know I have a broken arm

  31. Finley Harscheid

    I’m a kid and I have a cast I broke my arm and last summer I broke my leg

  32. Betsy Finn

    It sounds like you were expecting a list tailored for someone with an arm cast on (if you read my opener, these activities were compiled for my son, who broke his leg). Some kids end up with casts on their arms, others with casts on their legs. Both are equally frustrating.

    On the plus side, that means you still have a list of 50 things you can do with a cast on your arm…. awesome!

  33. Alessia Byrne

    I have broken a arm before but I didn’t need a cat just a pink foamy sling I broke it in two pices I was going camping and I was on a plastic cow I felled over landed on the arm I had a bleeding nose and we went to the hospital and they said it was broken in tho pieces and I thought I needed a operation but I didn’t I was fine just a brake so I just had a sling for 3 weeks and 4 days.

  34. Betsy Finn

    Alessia, that sounds like a poor end to a camping trip! How fortunate that you didn’t end up needing the operation though…. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Kabe

    Your not supposed to do that

  36. Kabe

    Ha! You think you had it hard. I broke both of my bones and can’t walk normally for 7 months

  37. Betsy Finn

    That sounds awful, Kabe! I’m so sorry. Hope that your healing goes as quickly as possible.

  38. Amanda

    What a great list! My 2 yr old is in a half leg cast and refuses to slow down. These are great ideas to keep busy without running around.

  39. Kate

    Amazing list, thank you so much! My daughter just dislocated her arm, so I was wondering how we can keep active, and do stuff.