Babysitter's Guide: Fun Activities to Do with Kids
As babysitters, the child's safety, nourishment, and well-being are on top of your priority list. For this article, we will focus on how you can help maintain and improve the child's well-being by engaging them with fun and age-appropriate activities. Doing activities with kids can help to:
- Break the ice, especially if it's your first time to babysit the child.
- Build a relationship with the child naturally.
- Allow the child to express themselves physically, verbally, and emotionally.
- Make the babysitting time fun and educational.
Fun things you can do while babysitting kids
1. Appreciate Music
Music can lift the mood of an unhappy and overwhelmed child, and help the concentration of a studying child. You can incorporate music into your activities and see its positive effects on the child.
- Listen to music - classical music is said to help in babies' brain development and may promote good sleep.
- Sing songs - sing nursery rhymes to babies and toddlers. With repetition, they also learn the words, and soon they will learn to sing it by themselves too. Make up your songs together. Make songs about eating vegetables, bathing in the tub, or brushing teeth. It encourages creativity and makes activities more fun.
- Dance to the music - dance your heart out to the child's favorite beat. It could be a theme song from the latest cartoon movie, a nursery rhyme, or her made-up song.
2. Play Pretend
Playing pretend requires little to no preparation at all. All you need to do is let the child freely act out and be part of his pretend world.
- Only the imagination is the limit. The child may choose to dress up as a superhero, a ballerina, or a doctor. Kids can wear costumes or use regular items at home like blanket to dress up.
- Be a supporting actor in the play and encourage the child to express their understanding of the role they are playing.
3. Play Brain Games
You can already engage kids as young as two years old to play mind games. Mind games help with working out kids' brains and prepare them for challenging activities.
- Sorting - young toddlers can already start playing with their shape sorter toys. While they will probably be just grabbing and throwing the objects, they will begin to recognize the colors and shapes. As they get older and as their fine motor skills develop, they will learn to master the sorting and shooting the shapes into the sorter.
- Puzzles - start with two-piece puzzles for toddlers. Puzzles can help them practice their grip and spatial recognition. Color and themed puzzles can also help them be familiar with objects and animals according to its theme. Introduce more challenging puzzles with more pieces to toddlers and older kids.
- Board and Card Games - introduce age-appropriate board and card games to kids. It gives a lot of opportunity for learning. The games can teach them to wait for their turn, to understand simple to complex game instructions, to count as they check the dice, and a whole lot more.
- Blocks and Bricks - for babies, soft blocks can help them practice grasping. When they become toddlers, they can move on to wooden blocks and toddler- appropriate bricks. Watch them build and knock out towers of blocks. For older kids, they can use smaller bricks and use their imagination to make their creations.
- iSpy - take turns to describe the object. It will help them improve and expand their vocabulary and speak more. Start with simple objects that are highly visible to the child.
4. Play Physical Games
Get those muscles moving and engage the kids with fun games.
- Hide and Seek - a classic game that all kids love. Make sure to set boundaries where they can hide before you start to play.
- Scavenger Hunt - you can prepare hand-drawn notes of items the child can look for inside the house. For older kids, you can write the names of the objects to practice their reading skills too.
5. Do Arts & Crafts
Bring out the papers, pencils, crayons, and paints and let the child explore the inner artist in him/her. Arts and Crafts activities help promote color recognition, fine motor skills, and creativity in kids.
- Drawing - toddlers may start holding a thick pencil and start creating his doodle masterpiece. Younger kids can start drawing stick figures and eventually create more beautiful illustrations.
- Painting - you can start introducing painting to babies as soon as they learn to sit. Make it mess-free by putting the paper and blob of paint inside a zip-lock and let the baby pound away. This activity doubles as a sensory activity for babies. Toddlers may start holding a toddler brush and start creating his artwork. Make sure to use toxic-free and washable paint and always put big paper or plastic to protect the table where the child is doing his/her arts and crafts for easy clean-up.
- Cutting and Pasting - cutting and pasting is a good exercise for those little hands. Make the activity kid-safe by using round-pointed and small scissors. You can use scratch papers, magazine pages or colored papers for the activity. Let the child freely do the collage or prepare activity sheets for older kids.
6. Read Books
Visit the world of prince and princesses, and aliens or learn about geography and space. Reading books brings us to places we have not been to and learn things we didn't know of. When reading the book out loud, remember to:
- Be enthusiastic as you read
- Use different voices and tones for different characters in the story
- Keep them engaged by asking questions or asking them to read with you
- Let them dress up like the character in the book
You can also let the child read to you. In this way, the child can practice his reading skills and build his/her confidence in speaking.
7. Play Sensory Activities
Sensory play helps kids stimulate their sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
- Play with Play Dough - let the kids feel the softness of the dough and be intrigued by the different colors. Older kids can make shapes and figures.
- Play with Sensory Bin - setup sensory bins and fill it up with objects that the child can play with. You can fill it with water beads, small animal figures, different textured and colored cloth.
- Guess the sound or song game - tickle those little ears by a quick guess animal sound or guess the song game.
8. Do Practical Activities
Make completing house chores fun and interactive. Invite the child to stack his/her sandwich or compete in shooting toys back into its box. When chores become play, children see chores as goals to complete and fun things to do.
What activity will you do on your next babysitting?
Remember to tailor-fit the activities based on the child's age and interests. Make precious time memorable and fun for you and the child. We are pretty sure you will both look forward to the fun activities when babysitting.
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