What can I buy a boy recovering from a tonsillectomy?
November 15, 2009 6:13 AM   Subscribe

What can I buy a boy recovering from a tonsillectomy?

My best friend's four year old son will have his tonsils removed soon. The plan is for him to stay home from nursery school for a week, and, as I really like this kid, I'd like to make him a package of things that will help him pass the time and have fun while recovering.

His tastes seem pretty standard for his age. From babysitting him I know he especially likes race cars, blocks, dinosaurs, airplanes, and pretend sword-fighting. For his recent birthday he got a Playmobil Egyptian pyramid set-up that he adores.

Here are the things I've thought of so far: more Playmobil toys, astronaut ice cream, a book on how to make paper airplanes, and a Scooby Doo DVD.

What else can I get him? If you were a sick four year old boy, what would make you smile?

My overall budget for this is $100, so no one thing should cost more than ~$25.
posted by gabrielsamoza to Human Relations (14 answers total)
I wouldn't get him astronaut ice cream because that will hurt his throat. Rather get him real ice cream.
posted by dfriedman at 6:43 AM on November 15, 2009

I wouldn't get him astronaut ice cream because that will hurt his throat. Rather get him real ice cream.

Good point. I thought it would be novel and exciting, but there's no point if he can't enjoy it.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 6:59 AM on November 15, 2009

Get him a DVD set of a TV show he's never seen. My brother got his tonsils out when he was 6 and watched a whole season of Gilligan's island. He might also like a big colorful book on one of his favorite subjects like something from this publisher.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 7:45 AM on November 15, 2009

I would try to find ice cream on a stick that's in character shapes. If he likes Scooby Doo, I'd bet there's something branded with Scooby Doo.

Also, fun nontraditional ice cream, like Dippin' Dots, would be cool for him, I'd think.

I don't know if it's too young for them, but I've seen archaeological dig playsets which would be totally cool for a kid who's starting to get into ancient Egyptian stuff.
posted by xingcat at 8:00 AM on November 15, 2009

This is such a nice idea. You are very kind to think of this, for his mom's sanity as well as his. I'd also suggest that you make it a time-release package, because knowing kids, if he opens everything at once, he'll play with it all in the first fifteen minutes and then complain he's bored for the rest of the week. Also, stuff he doesn't need adult help with is great; and remembering that most things will absorb his attention for about twenty minutes on his own or longer with sustained interaction...so, based on my own kid:

Fresh Play-Doh, or some kind of modelling clay might be good, and think of using it in conjunction with the Playmobile stuff (we have a big forest set, and it becomes a lake or swamp or other stuff like a big blobby monster the animals have to defeat) or to make a place for dinosaurs to leave their tracks. It's always a treat to have fresh stuff, and the mini-cans left over from Halloween are the perfect size. My daughter loves the Crayola Model Magic stuff because she can colour it with markers - though I dislike single-use products like that. Also, she could play with Moon Sand for a long time (in conjunction with other toys too), and there should be some mini-kits out now for the holidays.

He might like some books with an accompanying read-along CD, since he's probably not reading yet and they'll give the adults caring for him a break. The Scholastic Books DVDs are great too - Here is the full pack for a fortune, but they can be purchased individually and I've often found them at discount places like TJ Maxx or its equivalent. If he hasn't discovered PeeWee's Playhouse or the Muppet Show yet, the first seasons are available, ususally under $20 and he might be ready for them (and um...the adults in his life will appreciate them too).

Astronaut ice cream melts in your mouth - you don't chew it, so it might be okay. But real ice cream is a great idea, and if you're visiting, you could make it with him using this method.

A Doodle Pro , if he doesn't have one already, is a toy our daughter played with a lot at four, and still does.

A classic metal slinky might be a neat toy for him - and you can teach him the cool trick where you hold one end between your teeth, plug your ears and listen to the space noises.

Our daughter has this dinosaur stamp set, (among others) and now that she's in kindergarten, we do more than just random art with it - we do the patterning and counting exercises that she does in class. I was glad to find a new use for it.

We also have a huge collection of the Schleich animals, and they get mixed in with Playmobile stuff and she's always glad for new "guys".

And last, I noticed that the advent calendars are out. They're pretty reasonable, not always Christmas-themed, and I've seen Lego ones and Play-Do ones; and the Playmobile ones are fantastic (and I'm remembering that they need to be assembled beforehand and that takes about half an hour). They might be a great way to space little gifts out over the course of the week, if you put dates and times on the boxes covering the duration of his convalescence instead of the 25 day advent period.
posted by peagood at 8:16 AM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pudding. Hot pudding. Yum. A few children's books that someone can read to him (or he can read to himself). An awesome coloring book.

Everyone else also has really good ideas.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 9:10 AM on November 15, 2009

LEGOs! When I had my appendix out when I was 8 it was what my grandmother bought me and it was perfect because it was so distracting!
posted by ghostpony at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2009

Ice cream and pudding definitely. When my sister had her tonsils out, she was in too much pain to eat much of anything for several days, and as such had very little energy to play or have fun. But I think she would have watched DVDs and one of the first things she ate more than a bite of was ice cream.
posted by crinklebat at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2009

I recommend the Play-Doh idea too, but you might want to go with Crayola Model Magic. It doesn't stain, and it stays together a little better. That way his mom isn't pulling the stuff out of the couch for weeks. Model Magic also gets bouncy when it dries, it's fun for making things to keep.

My kids were really into crafty stuff at that age. Maybe you could get him some construction paper, safety scissors, and a glue stick.

A yo yo might be fun for him. He might not be able to do much, but he can have a lot of fun trying.

Another thing he might like is some kind of non-spill water bottle that he can keep with him, especially if it is personalized in some way.

Bubbles are also really fun. At four he's old enough to blow them himself, but young enough to still get a kick out of them. If you want to get fancy you could try to find some of the colored ones or the flavored ones.

I also recommend a time-release on the presents. Maybe you could make up a little box for each of the days he'll be home. Give him the movies on the first day, he'll be most likely to watch those over and over. You could also go nuts and have a theme for every box! Movie day could have the videos and some kind of coordinating toy. You could do a Paper day that has the paper airplane book, along with the construction paper and scissors. Don't forget to put some copy paper in that one so he can make the paper airplanes. Pirate Day could have an eye patch (available at the Dollar Store), and a 'treasure map' for a scavenger hunt. You'll need his mom's help with that one, have her hide clues that you make up and then hide the present at the end. Save that one for the last day when you know he'll feel like running around. You can also include stickers and cheap dollar store toys in the boxes to help 'fill them out'. I think being able to see the boxes, especially if they are wrapped brightly would help cheer him up. It would also work like a count down, showing him how much longer he has to be stuck at home.

One thing to remember with a four-year-old is that they prefer quantity over quality. You can go to the dollar store and get all kinds of cheapo fun stuff, and he'll be thrilled. Yeah, it'll break quickly, but you only need it to keep him happy for a week.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2009

Actually: Don't get him ice cream.

I'm serious about this. Dairy increases the amount of phlegm that your digestive system creates, and this means that he will swallow more. While it provides short-term relief, dairy will only increase his pain afterward. If you don't believe me, google it.

Much better would be jello cups. No pudding, though... I definitely enjoyed 'Ensure' meals after my tonsillectomy. I'd put them in the freezer and drink them just short of frozen. Overall, the biggest thing that helped me heal up was drinking lots of fluids.

Note: I had my tonsillectomy as an adult, which is very different than having it as a four-year-old. Much more painful and with a much longer recovery time.
posted by SpecialK at 12:40 PM on November 15, 2009

Actually: Don't get him ice cream.

I'm serious about this. Dairy increases the amount of phlegm that your digestive system creates, and this means that he will

There's no scientific evidence for this. See Debate Over Milk: Time to Look at Facts.

posted by lunalaguna at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I came back to apologize for misspelling product names and to make a few more free/cheap suggestions - but I have to do the yucky kind of links because I've got to get dinner going/pay the pizza guy when he gets here...

First - The Toymaker has great printable toys. The Marble Mice are especially fun:

Here's a link to scads of other printables: http://www.teas2dine4.com/4printable.html

If he can go online and has the energy to play games, we love Starfall: http://www.starfall.com/
and the Tate Kids site: http://kids.tate.org.uk/

This AskMe thread was a great source too: http://ask.metafilter.com/127280/Websites-for-Elementary-Kids

Our daughter alslo loves Lotte Reiniger films on youtube, if you can find them: http://www.awn.com/mag/issue1.3/articles/moritz1.3.html or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxkIGXVwZTM (as well as old Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies - but sometimes the ones that she might click through to are NSFKids, so I try to hang around) Sending his caregiver a list of great links ready to click through to with brief descriptions would make it easier.

I haven't tried to make it yet, but here's a recipe for Moon Sand: http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/how-to/how-to-homemade-moon-sand-090723

The Crafty Crow is a great site to get craft ideas: http://belladia.typepad.com/crafty_crow/
You could make "kits" for him - for example, I did the pinecone turkey pictured with feathers from my old duster as a craft a few weeks ago with a kindergarten class, and even the three and a half year olds were able to do it (Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier).

I also wanted to suggest a tent, if he doesn't have one already. We have this: http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/how-to/how-to-homemade-moon-sand-090723 but don't have the room to keep it up all the time. So, when my daughter is sick, sometimes I'll pull it out and let her watch a DVD in it with snacks. Or if you can find a card table for free/cheap on Craigslist or Freecycle, they're great for tents with just a sheet, and they store away easily.

But mostly, I remembered that a bird feeder might be great, if he can hang out near a window and it's cool with everyone else (they can get messy). We're making some in class this week with pinecones (using lard and Free-Nut Butter and popsicle sticks to spread instead of knives): http://crafts.kaboose.com/pine-cone-bird-feeder.html

Good Luck!
posted by peagood at 3:42 PM on November 15, 2009

I can't vouch for this book , but it seems like something a 4 year old would dig, reading about something where they can say "I did that". I had my adenoids out and while at the hospital met a friend who had their tonsils out. We just swapped gameboy cartridges and our moms gave us popsicles and sprite (although I was 10 or 11, soda may not be great for a 4 year old...)
posted by syntheticfaith at 6:07 AM on November 16, 2009

Thanks, all, for your wonderful and creative suggestions. I will be using many of them.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2009

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