Babysitting is a great gig, but sometimes you set out for a babysitting job and you’re confronted with kids ready to play a game – they want you to be the creative one. The best babysitters know that if you’re going to be the one in charge, you should have some great ideas of things to do when you get there, and bring along your own supplies as well.
Everyone loves finger painting
, even older kids. Bring the necessary paints and paper with you to your clients’ house and be sure that everyone understands what is okay to touch and what is not during the painting. The last thing you want is to create a mess that your clients will have to clean up or handle – this is your project, so it’s your responsibility to make it go smoothly, and finger painting can be messy.
On the paper, squeeze out a bit of paint and let the kids have a great time creating their own pictures using the colors and their own designs. If you’re not comfortable with messy painted hands, bring a collection of washable paints and some large paint brushes for crafts. The kids can use the paint brushes instead of their hands and create pictures. Painting like this is much more exciting than just using watercolors or markers, and so long as you clean up the mess, the parents of the kids are going to be thrilled to have the new art projects.
Look in your closet and maybe poke around in the attic for your old toys
. A lot of the toys that were new to us are suddenly becoming new again, and bringing along some toys that aren’t on the shelves any more, but that are still recognizable can make you extremely popular in a household with older kids. Younger kids are excited about anything new, but be careful to avoid old toys that have small pieces if you’re playing with younger kids while babysitting.
Older kids will probably enjoy your collection of Barbies or your old Transformers or GI Joe dolls. The novelty of the old toys might just carry through the entire night. This is an especially good tactic if you’re babysitting for the same family over multiple nights. You can just bring another batch of toys or new outfits for Barbie the next time you’re babysitting – the kids will always be excited to see you!
Double-check with parents, but if you’re allowed to take the kids out into the backyard, do it. Busy parents don’t always have time to play ball in the driveway or take a long adventure walk. If you’re willing and ready to work up a sweat, absolutely give it a try. Being outside can help break up sibling fights and the fresh air is good for everyone. If you need something to get started with outside, bring along a travel set of lawn darts, croquet or sidewalk chalk to draw with. You’ll have a fascinated group of charges in no time at all.