This section is from the book "Feeling Better? Amusements and Occupations for Convalescents", by Cornelia R. Trowbridge. Also available from Amazon: Feeling Better.
IF this book comes into the hands of someone taking care of a sick child too young to browse around in it for himself, many of its ideas are adaptable to childish interests and capacities. Read the suggestions on comfort in bed in Chapters XXI and XXVII and the shopping lists, to see whether your small invalid has been made as comfortable as possible. Devise or procure a backrest, a bed-table and, for your own convenience as well as his, a bed-apron for him.
So long as the child is weak and languid, it may be that all you can do is to stir his interest and curiosity by doing some of the things suggested while he watches you. His fancy may be caught by a folded paper cup, a large hole cut in a small piece of paper, a slip knot to go over his finger or a figure in silhouette cut from colored paper, directions for all of which are given in Chapters II and III.
A device that will always amuse a child is the Hungry
The Hungry Bird
Bird. On a piece of paper about five inches square mark the diagonals by folding twice. Flatten it out and fold the four corners to the center. Turn it over and again fold the four corners to the center. Turn it over once more and mark two eyes on one of the flaps. The illustration shows this stage and the final one. As you fold it again diagonally, lift the point of this flap and carry it over to the opposite corner, at the same time bringing together the points A and B and the points C and D. By holding the Hungry Bird at these points you can make it open its beak and pick up balls of paper. Coloring the inside of its mouth red adds to its charms. This should be done before the final folding.
You may start a child off on a happy day by a puzzle on the breakfast tray or a new kind of toy, like a clothespin dressed up as a doll. Or try the stopper from a milk bottle made into a top by putting a match through it. Spots or segments of color painted or pasted on it will create whirling patterns as it spins. Similar effects can be created by a disc to slip over it, cut at random from a colored advertisement or a magazine cover. Every child likes a "s'prise," too, such as new cut-outs pasted on the window pane during the night for him to discover when he wakes.
As soon as a child is well enough to amuse himself, look through these pages again for hints. Children can try musical glasses, simple knot-tying and braiding, making a scrapbook, raising seeds. They like clay-modeling, editing a newspaper, simple games of solitaire. Some of the Old Nuts to Crack Again on page 138 will be new to them. Children like to draw pictures on ordinary penny postal cards and send them off to their friends. A special thrill comes when the other half of a reply postal returns to them through the mail. Let them cut picture postals or Christmas cards into jigsaw puzzles and send them also by mail in envelopes.
For cutting out pictures, it is worth while to have a specific project like furnishing a room marked out on a piece of cardboard or making a farmyard scene or marshalling a circus parade. Such projects can use up an astonishing number of old magazines. Cut-outs can be colored with crayons, which are less trouble to manage than paints. They can be made to stand up by bending at right angles a strip of cardboard or stiff paper an inch wide and from three to six inches long and pasting one end to the back of the cut-out.
Weaving is an especially good occupation for young invalids because it is simple and quieting, and they can get great satisfaction from making dolls' blankets, small mats or even bags. The school supply houses mentioned in various places in this book all furnish looms. The Daga Loom, which Emil Bernat and Sons import from Germany, and the Rochdale Weaver are especially recommended bv the Industrial Arts Cooperative Service listed in the chapter on Contacts page 213. From the Cooperative Service suitable weaving materials in small quantities can also be ordered.
Look ahead for the child, as a wise invalid of older years can do for himself, and if possible start him on a handicraft that can become a hobby. During con-valesence resources can be stored up for children that will save them from growing up to barren lives, dependent for amusement on motion pictures and the radio and restless motoring.
Pastimes for Sick Children, Mary S. Whit ten. D. Appleton-Century Company, New York. 1926. Most practical and suggestive. With Scissors and Paste, Leila M. Wilhelm. The Macmillan Company, New York. 1927. For children under six. A wealth of clever ideas. The Busy Book, Floy Little Bartlett and Alida Conover. Double-day, Doran and Company, New York. 1931. Amusements and games for children very attractively presented. Many of them possible for convalescents.
Suggestions for Handwork in School and Home, Jane L. Hoxie. Milton Bradley Company, Springfield, Massachusetts. For young children. Suggests use of simple and inexpensive materials.
The Children's Fun in Bed Book, Virginia Kirkus and Frank Scully. Simon and Schuster, New York. 193 5. Stories, games, simple puzzles and problems for children of from five to ten.
The Junior Fun in Bed Book, Virginia Kirkus and Frank Scully. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1935. For children of from ten to fourteen. When Mother Lets Us Cut Out Pictures, Ida E. Boyd. Dodd, Mead
& Company, New York. 1912. When Mother Lets Us Draw, E. R. Lee Thayer. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. 1916. This includes making things from paper. When Mother Lets Us Model, Helen Mortimer Adams. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. 1916. Three delightful books from a very popular series, beautifully illustrated.