13 Fun Games & Play Ideas When the Babysitter is in Charge
Keri Wilmot from ToyQueen.com is an occupational therapist, toy expert, Dallas blogger and parent, who shares popular toy reviews, tips and toy unboxings.
Keri is a full-time pediatric occupational therapist. With more than 18 years of clinical experience, professionally Keri specializes in working with infants, young children and their families by promoting developmental milestones in clients' homes, in the public school system and in the community.
Over time it was clear that Keri had developed a talent for finding developmental toys that promoted a child's educational skills, in fun, natural and playful ways. ToyQueen.com and its various social media channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) were developed to be an online resource that reviews toys, games, attractions, events, movies, experiences and baby products for their developmental qualities, with the goal to help all parents and caregivers learn practical ways to play everyday with their children through unique products and experiences.
- Every experienced babysitter comes into your home with a few good games to play with. your kids. Those who may be new to the job – and even those who already have some ideas – generally appreciate some suggested activities.
- For sitters and children who are spending time together for the first time, games can serve as ice breakers and provide a fun way for them to get to know each other.
- For many parents, leaving a list of emergency contact information, house rules, the children’s schedules and meal and snack ideas allows the parents to provide babysitters with a lot of important information. Adding a list of games and activities would be a welcome suggestion for fun.
Visit www.thegeniusofplay.org for more tools, resources and play ideas.
Whether you are leaving the kids for a date night, for the entire day, or maybe even heading out of town for the weekend, an important job requirement for any babysitter, after making sure that the children are safe and fed, is to offer playful and entertaining activities that aren’t focused on passive activities like watching movies, accessing devices or playing video games. These play ideas and games for the babysitter will help keep kids entertained and engaged, while parents are at work for the day or out for a quick date night.
Read a Book and Make a Snack
Children love to hear stories read out loud. After reading the story, make a healthy snack inspired by the book you read. Cut green apples and strawberries and arrange them in the shape of a caterpillar, add a little food color to scrambled eggs for green eggs and ham, or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from a slice of cheese. There are lots of simple snacks kids love, which are inspired by popular children’s books and movies.
Classic Outdoor Games
Kids need gross motor activity to stretch their muscles and release their energy during the day, especially after they have spent any time watching television or using a device. If it’s possible to safely play outside in a fenced yard, on the driveway or by taking a short walk to a nearby park or playground, grab a ball and play classic yard games like “Kick the Can,” soccer, baseball, basketball, 4-square, and Pickle.
Outdoor Water Play
Get on those bathing suits, grab a hat and lather on the sunscreen because outdoor water play is a fun activity for kids to enjoy on a warm day. A slip and slide, water blasters, water balloons, sprinkler play, or a water table or small, plastic container filled with bath toys will keep kids cool and happily entertained.
Make an Obstacle Course
Can’t get outside to play? Design an indoor obstacle course. Sit-ups, push-ups, log rolling, somersaulting, frog jumping, and bunny hopping are fun activities to include. Make sure to take turns being the leader, because designing the next course is just as fun as completing it together.
Assemble No-Bake Treats
Lots of kids like cooking and baking, but to minimize the use of the oven or stove, there are lots of no-bake treats and snacks that kids crave. Use the blender to make fruit smoothies, frost and decorate store bought cookies, or arrange veggie sticks or fruit in a rainbow pattern on a platter.
Use painters tape arranged in shapes on the sidewalk or driveway to create a mural or find inspirational sayings or book quotes to write together for others to read as they pass by on their walks or bike ride.
There are so many sensory textures kids love to play with that can keep their attention for a long period of time. Add sand molds, toy construction vehicles and kitchen utensils like tongs to plastic containers of sand, dough, dried rice, and water beads.
Arts & Crafts
There are so many arts and crafts activities to choose from. Kids love to finger paint, paint with water, color by number, complete mazes and dot-to-dot activities, assemble wood projects, design jewelry or even just use safety scissors to cut up grocery store advertisements to make their own shopping list.
Kids like to play board games but be mindful of the fact that many kids are still understanding the concept of following rules and emotionally dealing with how to win and lose. Younger kids do best with games like Candyland and Zingo! that don’t require too much reading and that focus on simple skills like matching. Many children also like games with manipulatives that are fun and include turn-taking action like Pop Up Pirate, Jenga, Lucky Ducks and Pop the Pig.
Bubbles are a great activity, both indoors and outside. Kids love to not only pop bubbles with their hands, but they like stomping them with their feet and having a bubble dance party, too.
Dress - Up
Get out those princess dresses and Halloween costumes, or maybe even let the kids swap clothes with their siblings. Dress-up for lunch, have a tea party, and use those arts and crafts supplies to design a photo booth for the kids to take selfies to send to their parents.
Put on a Talent Show
Cue up music for the singers, design a dance routine, put on a magic show or tell a funny joke and rehearse for a family talent show.
Make a Fort
Use blankets and pillows to design a fort, then read books with flashlights or play games inside.