Being a babysitter is a big responsibility for anyone, whether you are a teen or an adult. Making it a fun experience for both you and the children is another story. You might be going into a babysitting job thinking you’ll have an easy time of it, get to watch movies, play on your iPhone, and chat on the phone with your friends. Sure, you may get a job like that if the kids are put to bed right away, but if they are up and awake you will need some ideas to keep them entertained. No question about it, you are the entertainment!
Here are a few ideas and tips for babysitter games and other activities that will help you keep the kids entertained. Who knows, they may like the experience so much that they’ll request you back!
Plan a crafting activity that can be done with the children you are babysitting. You will need to choose something that is able to be done by each of the children’s age groups, but it is often easy to modify a project for younger children by helping them out or making it simpler. It is fun for them to make a craft item that they can give away to someone else, such as their mother for Mother’s Day, or something for Father’s Day, or perhaps a Grandparent is having a birthday.
One idea for babysitting crafts is to make tissue paper flower bouquets. At your local dollar store, get different colored tissue paper and some children’s scissors and craft glue. Making tissue paper flowers is as easy as cutting long strips of tissue paper, rolling it up and gluing it every now and then. At the end, glue it and begin to peel back the layers to make them appear like petals. Instructions for making these and other types of tissue paper flowers can be found online.
Birthday cards are another fun thing to do with kids. Bring over a few scrapbooking supplies and help the kids make a birthday card for Dad.
Most families have a selection of board games in a cupboard somewhere. Ask the parents, before they leave for the evening, where they are kept. Kids are always asking adults to play games with them and this is a good opportunity for them to get the games out of their systems, plus it will keep them entertained. Explain the game rules to the children and play along with them.
Card games like Uno, Memory, or Go Fish are easy for kids to pick up. Some of these are good for educational purposes as well. If the family does not have any card games, then bring some of your own along. Bringing a selection of things such as babysitter games with you that the kids do not see that often will make them more interested in playing along.
The family that you are babysitting for will most likely have a selection of cartoons and movies on DVD that you can show the children, however it is more fun for them if you bring something from your own collection. Make sure the parents are ok with you showing it to them first!
There are many kid-friendly websites that have online games for children. Both educational and recreational games can be found. Again, make sure the parents are ok with you allowing the kids online, supervised, while they are gone. They may have rules about t.v. and computer that mean the kids have limited watching time per week.
Educational Babysitter Games
Using your babysitting time to teach educational games and activities with the kids is something that the parents will really appreciate. Doing homework isn’t necessarily fun, but with the right attitude, kids will go along with it. There are also a lot of educational games available on the market which will help in this manner, but you can also make up your own.
Here is one idea:
Using index cards, print a letter on each card. Hand out each child a set number of cards as well as yourself. Play the game similar to Uno, where one card is placed upright next to the deck of leftover cards, face down. Going around the circle, in order, have each child play a card of a letter that they can 1. say the letter name, 2. say the letter sound, and 3. say a word that begins with that letter. (Depending on the age of the child, you may want to have them just do #1 or #2 instead.) If they get it right, they can ‘play’ the card. This is a fun game that I do with my 5 year old and he loves it!
All kids like to be read to, especially before bed. One of the best ways of entertaining children and introducing them to the wonders of the written word is to pick a good story book and read it to them. We’re not talking a board book or small children’s book that a child can read themselves, we are talking a big long work of fiction. One that is a book that you bring and read to them a chapter or two each time you babysit, providing it is a regular job. It will keep them asking for more! Check with the parents first, but here are a few ideas of books to get started: Charlotte’s Web, Treasure Island, Little House on the Prairie,Chronicles of Narnia, etc.
Prior to the babysitting job, cut a bunch of strips of paper out. Write an activity on each strip of paper, fold it up and put it in the jar. When you are at the house, this is a great babysitting game to play with the kids. Allow each child to pick out one piece of folded paper. Then all of you will play the game or activity that is on the paper. After playing the game, then let the next child pick out a paper and then everyone play that game as well. Let them each have a turn. Make sure the activities are doable or it won’t make sense to the kids if you have to say no to it.
Bring coloring books and crayons with you when you go babysitting. Make these special books that you bring on the job and take home when you leave. This will help make them special to the kids. If they see them everyday, they will be less interested in playing with them, but if you take them away when you leave they will want to see them again.
Babysitter games are easy to come up with. If you are looking for more ideas, take a look online and see what else you can come up with. Check in your games closet at home and bring some of your own board games over. Or, best of all, put yourself in the kids’ shoes. Think like a child and decide what you would have wanted to do if you were that age. You most likely end up with a lot of babysitter games that you can use for future babysitting jobs.