Ingredients: A very sick family who, despite running sky-high temperatures and aching all over, still need some self-help entertainment after a week of being bored watching endless telly, necking paracetamol and hugging hot water bottles.

The Big Sell: Help! What can we make that requires minimal effort but provides some creative respite before we go out of our minds?!

Strategy: This was our family’s reality this week, and we came up with the following ideas to help us survive cabin fever during our plagued half term holiday.

1) Easy peasy treasure hunt. I wrote 10 rhyming clues leading the children all around the house on a treasure hunt which eventually led to a locked box with two cup-cakes inside. My son, who is currently Harry Potter-mad, particularly loved this clue:

I see I cannot trick you easily.

You are more cunning than Ron Weasley.

Next you must travel through a long dark tunnel

To find the clue where a ball meets a funnel.”

(they had to crawl through a play tunnel to their marble ball run where the clue was folded and hidden).

2) Home-made sock puppets – we added feathers, wiggly stick-on eyes, pipe-cleaners (for antennae), sticky spots, and pen embellishment on old clean socks to make our own unique aliens, forever more to be known as The Flu Specimens.

3) Origami and paper aeroplanes – an art of extreme dedication and concentration amongst the men-folk in our house, our corridors became littered with the ghosts of ingenious flying machines (my husband even tried attaching a light-weight motor to one effort!) It helped that we were given a marvellous book: “The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes” by Doug Stillinger ( There are also some wonderful app’s for your i-phone for intricate orgami animals of every sort – put ‘origami’ into search in the App Store and have a go.

The Verdict: Even in a fog of flu-induced hell, we are one of those families who can’t quite switch off and ease into chilling out. I guess we have an exceptionally low capacity for boredom? If you’re the same, I hope these ideas give you some small distraction from the pain of being ill this Winter (which if you are a parent of little ones, seems to be every other week?!) If you aren’t like us, then please just PUT YOUR FEET UP!!!

Catchphrase: Cough, wheeze, sniff … that was fun! I almost forgot I was ill for a moment!

Left wanting more?

• Make a creative sketchbook by attaching together A5 sized sheets of interesting materials – foil, fabric, baking paper, old envelopes, bubble wrap – punching holes and tying ribbon through to bind. Your kids will have to find innovative ways to make marks on all these different types of media.

• 3D drawing paper – available from Amazon for around £4, it really works! Just use a black pen on this specially gridded paper and put on your 3D glasses to watch it jump off the page!