Taking care of kids can be challenging due to their boundless energy and short attention spans. It goes a long way to have some great babysitting games and activities on hand, whether you are an experienced sitter or a first-time sitter looking for some ideas.
As teachers pass on their lesson plans to newbies, we’re passing on these ideas from seasoned babysitters and camp counselors, so you’ll have plenty of fun activities to do while babysitting.
Babysitting Games & Activities for Preschool Through Kindergarten Ages
Taking care of small children can be a challenge in and of itself. It is easy to reenact some of the things we enjoyed doing as kids with older ones, but preschoolers require a little more thought.
When babysitting kids in the 3-6 age group, there are several fun games and activities to do, but be careful of the arts and crafts you do with them as they are lightning-fast when it comes to eating.
Board and Card Games for Young Kids
Children love board games, and chances are their parents have a few at home. They will play a game for hours if you can find one they enjoy. Here are some great babysitting game ideas for smaller children.
- Old Maid, Sevens, and Hearts are quick card games.
- Among the board games that keep kids in this age group engaged are Trouble, Candyland, and Chutes and Ladders.
- A popular game for this age group is Feed the Pig, which is a matching game.
Be prepared to cool some tempers if siblings start bickering about cheating allegations and being sore losers/winners during any competition.
Similar to freeze tag, freeze dance is played indoors and requires kids to freeze when the music stops. Play a bouncy playlist and get the kids dancing. They should freeze when the music is paused and maintain that stance until it starts again. The moment they move, they lose. The last person standing wins.
This is a time when kids are learning letters and numbers; reinforce this by having them name animals in the alphabet. Start at A and work your way to Z, helping them out as you go. It can be difficult to figure out X, for example. A chuckle can also be obtained by making the noises.
Name That Animal
Pretend play is a favorite activity for young children. You can play a fun game of charades where you pretend to be an animal and they guess what it is. Swap roles and see what wacky ways they think animals behave.
Outdoor babysitting games and activities
Take the games outside if the weather is nice.
- There are a variety of games you can play with most recreation balls, including kickball, basketball, soccer, and dodgeball. Consider using what they already have around the house if they don’t have the standard equipment.
- Make up your own ball games, such as throwing a Nerf football through a basketball hoop. First to ten wins.
- It’s also a great idea to play frisbee outside. Try using a paper plate instead of a Frisbee if you don’t have one. For points, set up three hula hoops and throw the frisbee into them.
Kids will enjoy balloons because they are cheap and easy to use. Make sure that you are the only one blowing them up when you are babysitting.
- With a plastic racket, you can play balloon badminton. The other team gets points if it hits the ground on your side.
- You just need to hit the balloon back and forth and make sure it doesn’t touch the ground as you play balloon volleyball. When it hits the ground on your side, the other side gets points.
Babysitting Games & Activities for Elementary Schoolers
The majority of elementary school students today would be content watching a tablet or playing video games. Through these fun interactive activities, you can win the award of babysitter of the year. Plus, it lets them expend some of that latent energy they weren’t utilizing before.
Balance beam game
Your babysitting arsenal should include a roll of painter’s tape. Make a balance beam for kids to walk on. Points can be awarded for crossing the “beam.” Make it more challenging by adding actions that must be performed while balancing.
Are you missing the board game? With some construction paper and painter’s tape, you can make your own. Each person takes turns calling out a body part and color.
Set up an indoor or outdoor hopscotch board and see who can navigate their way back and forth the fastest. For outdoor games, chalk can be used, while for indoor games, painter’s tape can be used.
Clue: Hide and Seek
Give the kids riddles to solve in order to find toys or random items hidden around the house. Finding the stuff and solving the clues will be fun for them.
Talking games can be great babysitting activities because they don’t require any materials. You start with a story, then let each kid add a few sentences, making it goofy. Not only will they laugh, but time will fly by.
DIY Floor Scrabble
Helping kids create their own life-size DIY game can be a fun thing to do when babysitting older kids. Fold construction paper into fourths and put common letters on each. Allow kids to pick 7 letters randomly. These are the tiles.
On a large area of the floor, put down a word. Kids will then use their tiles to build their words, like in Scrabble. They can also help you to make tiles.
On YouTube, have kids find choreography for a song. You can create a big performance after learning it together, and score each other on creativity, musicality, emotion, etc.
You may not immediately think of bowling when you’re thinking about what to do while babysitting, but this DIY version might be a hit. Use plastic cups and a large plastic ball to bowl with the kids. Keeping score is possible (each cup is worth a point, and they get two rolls to knock them all down). You can play this activity both indoors and outdoors.
There are some babysitting ideas that don’t require any preparation, but if you can grab some dress-up items in advance, this can be a winning idea. After all, there’s a reason why schools still allow whacky dress-up days during spirit week.
What’s the point of limiting them to just one day per year to dress up like someone else? Let each other go hog wild with old clothes, accessories, or costumes.
Babysitting Games and Activities Pre-teens Will Like
A pre-teen is at the age where they’re testing out what adulthood looks like without knowing what it entails. Playing babysitting games with you probably won’t appeal to them because they are trying to mimic the adults around them. Most of them would be perfectly happy if you ignored them.
The kiddos aren’t quite grown-up yet, but these games and activities can help draw them out of their ‘too cool for anything’ stage.
Make funny faces or cross your eyes at your kid and get them to laugh. The one that holds out the longest wins.
Start with A and alternate until you run out of words that begin with A. The person that can’t think of another A word loses. Do this all the way to Z. The bigger the word, the better.
TikTok Dance Challenge
Dancing challenges are at TikTok’s heart, and you and your babysitting charges can learn a few unique moves from each other. Put together a few combinations and create your own TikTok dance to show your parents.
Truth or Dare Games
Pre-teens love a challenge. Try doing some hilarious dares or pulling from the latest school drama with a couple of knock-out truth questions.
Make up ridiculous tongue twisters and have the kids try them. The first one to fail to say the sentence loses.
Don’t forget outdoor activities for this age group, too. They love to play sports, skateboard, and even take walks when they have someone to talk to. However, always clear any outdoor activities with the child’s parents beforehand.
Board Games for Older Kids
Typically, at this age, you might be able to entice the kids with a game of chess or checkers. For an added challenge, modify an existing board game. For example, have kids try to think about a few ways they could modify Monopoly. Include their new rules and play the game.
Fun things to do while babysitting doesn’t have to be super complicated. If the parents have given their okay, you can also volunteer to play video games with them. Kids that don’t have siblings often enjoy having a babysitter that’ll play two-person video games, and it can be lots of fun for you too. Make sure you run any games by their parents first to find out which ones are off-limits.
Fun Babysitting Activities for Mixed Ages
When you’re babysitting groups with age gaps, you might scramble for things to do that keep everybody entertained. But everyone can tap into their inner child when prompted by the right kinds of fun, and these babysitting activities are just what the doctor ordered.
Guess the crayon’s color
You only need a box of crayons (the bigger, the better) and a good memory to play this fun game.
- Draw a crayon from the box and ask the kids to guess the crayon’s color. They’ll start tossing out answers like “Razzmatazz, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, Asparagus, and Sienna,” to name a few.
- Pass the box around the table and let everyone get a turn.
- This game works best with larger groups, but you can adapt it for younger kids into “guess the color of my egg” where you think of a basic color and they guess different ones until someone gets it right.
This babysitting activity takes a bit of pre-planning but will be worthwhile since it wears the kids out and takes up a lot of time.
- Just like in the regular Olympics, you set up a few activity stations suited to your kids’ age group.
- Think of things like, ‘jump the river’ between two parallel jump ropes, corn hole toss, lawn bowling, hitting a paddle board so many times in a row, etc. The possibilities are endless.
- You can act as the judge as you set your kids throughout their various events and give them points for how they place.
Just remember to have something to give them at the end of it all. A paper crown you cut out or a $1 medal you picked up at the dollar store will make the whole affair feel that much more real. And they’ll be begging you to come back to babysit them.
Make an Oobleck
A non-newtonian liquid, Oobleck, is the name for a slime-like substance that appears in Dr. Seuss’ story Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Literally, all this science experiment requires is cornstarch and water. If the people you’re babysitting for have food coloring on hand, you can add a few drops of it to your mixture.
To make Oobleck, follow these simple instructions:
- Mix a cup of water with 2 cups of cornstarch in a mixing bowl.
- Add a few drops of food coloring if you have some on hand.
- Thoroughly mix the ingredients together. If it’s getting hard to move the spoon through the mixture, it’s ready.
Have your kids test the Oobleck’s properties by trying to force something through the liquid and seeing how much resistance it gives. But when they place their hands just barely on the surface, they start to sink. Think of it like safe quicksand.
Build a secret society.
Put everyone’s creativity to the test by building a secret society together. Draw up the different types of clothes your people would wear, the way they’d greet one another, and any rules they have to follow.
Then, you set up a blanket fort using pillows, chairs, and a sheet to host your inaugural secret society meeting. If you babysit these kid(s) frequently, then this can turn into a consistent part of your babysitting routine.
Bring a strong babysitting game
Babysitting can be hard, especially if you didn’t grow up with younger siblings and don’t have a toolbox of things to pull from. Finding age-appropriate games for all different skill levels can really save you time scrolling through your phone with the kids staring at you in the long run.
Whether it’s just throwing a frisbee around or playing bowling with cups, kids will laugh and have fun for hours – and you just might have fun, too.