How to Play With Kids While Babysitting

Three Methods:ToysThings to Remember and Fun ActivitiesGames

Keeping kids entertained can be a full time job. If you're taking care of somebody else's kids and don't know their interests, this tutorial might give you some ideas to make the time enjoyable for both of you.


  1. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 1
    Tell the children what activities/games/toys you have for them. Ask them what they want to do first, or if they want to do something else. There's no need forcing a child to do a certain activity if they already have their mind set on something.

Method 1

  1. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 2
    When children don't know what they want to do, ask them to show you their toys. Maybe together you can find something fun to do.
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    Have the child pick up each toy they have and tell you a little about it. This might speed up the process of finding the right toy to play with and even if it doesn't, it will at least kill a bit of time and keep the child from being bored for a little while. You might find that the child will want you to play too, but don't be offended or surprised if they find the toy they need and forget you're there entirely.
  3. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 4
    Make sure to clean up! No parent likes to come home to a mess, and if you don't clean up, they will probably think that you aren't responsible. To make the process of cleaning up more fun, make a game out of picking up the toys.

Method 2
Things to Remember and Fun Activities

  1. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 5
    Remember the image you project. This is a job and the parents are your employers. Wear clothing that is modest, clean, and appropriate for the activities you will be doing with the children.
  2. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 6
    If the kids are scared of monsters, take a spray bottle and fill with water. Tell the kid that it is a special spray that will shoo away the monsters and get the kid to spray the water across the room. Make sure that the water bottle setting is on mist. If you can't use the spray bottle for some reason, take some glitter with you to the babysitting job and claim that it is pixie dust and if you sprinkle it over their favourite stuffed animal/doll/toy, then the stuffed animal/doll/toy will keep all of the monsters away. Just make sure that you clean up the glitter after you sprinkle it on the stuffed animal/doll/toy.
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    Have an activity where the child can build something and then destroy it. For example, build something out of soft blocks or small square sponges and let them knock it down. You could also get them to build something out of Play-Doh or putty and then let them crush it. You'll keep the kids happy for hours playing like that.

Method 3

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    Set rules before you play a game. If you're playing outside, make sure that all the children play only in the designated playing area (their backyard, a safe park etc.) and as far away from all streets as possible. If you're playing inside, make sure that no children go outside, that they are playing safely and not playing dangerously (putting a coin in an electrical outlet if they are playing telephone booth for example) and that they stay out of all of the off-limits rooms, such as their parent's room. If you're playing with a child younger than four, stay with the child/children at all times while you're playing the game (especially if the child is younger than four), and be aware of where the child/children are the entire time you're babysitting.
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    Get them to make a skit for you to watch. This is a good thing to get them to plan while you prepare lunch, or change a baby's diaper, or put a little one to bed. Most kids really enjoy this! Make sure that even if the play is extremely boring, look like you're having fun watching the skit! Most of the time, though, the kids come up with some great plays. Before you leave the kids alone, make it clear that they can only stick to a certain area (like the playroom or a bedroom) so that they aren't looking for prop ideas in other rooms and that should prevent the children from getting into lots of mischief.
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    Play Freeze Dance! Take turns being the person in charge of the music, and turn the music on and off. When it's off, stop. When it comes back on, dance! You can also play this game just by moving around, if you don't want to dance.
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    Play Statues. Pick one person to be "It". Everyone else moves around (dancing, jumping, or just walking) and when "It" says "Statues!" everyone freezes in whatever position they were in (if someone's arm is up, it stays up, or if someone's in a running position, they stay in that position). "It" walks around trying to make one person after another laugh or move. Whoever laughs first is "It" next!
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    Play Sardines. Sardines is the opposite of hide-and-go-seek. "It" hides in a space big enough all the children playing to hide, while the rest of the children count. When everyone is finished counting they all look for "It". When someone finds "It", they join him/her in hiding. The last person who finds "It" is "It" next! "It" or not, they'll have fun!
    • If you're playing with a child 4 years old or younger, always have the child with you. If you or the child is "It", have the child hide with you. When you're looking for "It", look with the young child.
  6. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 13
    Play the Snail Game. Using some sidewalk chalk, make a snail shape on the ground (the snail head is optional). Give each player a different color piece of chalk. The first player takes the stick or small rock and throws it onto a square of the snail. That player then walks on all of the squares of the snail starting at the snail's head and going around until they get into the middle of the snail's body, but the player jumps over the square with the stick/rock on it. If the player steps on all of the squares without losing her balance and without stepping on a line, she gets to write the first letter of her name in any one of the squares that she chooses. Then its the next player's turn, only now that player has to skip the square with the rock/stick in it and also the square with the first player's initial in it. Every time a player gets around the entire snail without stepping on the square with the stick in it, without stepping on a line, and without stepping in squares with their opponent's initials, they get to pick a square to put their initial in. Players are allowed to step in squares that have their initial, but not in squares that have an opponent's initial. The game continues until all of the squares are filled up. The player with the most amount of squares filled with her initial wins.
    • Place: Outside, on a driveway (or some open place where the chalk you use can be washed away by the rain. Not on a covered porch or similar place.)
    • To make the game a bit easier, change the rules so a person can write their first initial in a square if they make it around the snail without losing their balance and without stepping on a square with an opponent's initial. This is instead of without losing their balance, without stepping on a square with an opponent's initial, AND without stepping on a line.
  7. Image titled Play with Kids While Babysitting Step 14
    Create a menu for a restaurant, food court, or ice cream shop. Make one on your computer or just neatly make one by hand. Make fake money and give an equal amount to each child. When you play the game, ask the children what they want to 'eat/drink', how much they want, and so on. Then take turns being the Ice Cream Man!
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    Play Daddy/Mommy. Have one child go to the pillow or chair in the center of the room and close their eyes. Everyone else goes to the center of the room and everyone say together "Don't wake Daddy (or Mommy if the player is a girl)!" After they shout all the players walk around "Daddy/Mommy" in a circle not making a noise. When "Daddy/Mommy" hears someone make a noise, he/she says "Bring bring bring" then he/she counts to 5 out loud. When "Daddy/Mommy" starts saying "bring bring bring", the other children all run to their pillows around the room and pretend to be asleep. Once the "Daddy/Mommy" is done counting to 5 he/she opens their eyes to see if anyone is still running to a pillow or not looking like they are asleep. If someone is not doing what he or she should be doing ("sleeping" on a pillow) then the "Daddy/Mommy" calls their name and they are the new "Daddy/Mommy".
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    Play Spaceship. Pick a table to play with. Get under the table and pretend that it is your spaceship. When you get out of the spaceship, pretend you got out onto planet Dance, and that everyone is a professional dancer. Then go back in the ship and go somewhere else like Jump planet (get everyone to jump around), Laugh planet (everyone must laugh non-stop) and so on. Get each kid to take turns choosing a planet to go to. This can be a really fun game.
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    Organize a fun art activity. Have each child you are babysitting go out to the yard and pick their favorite leaf (because of this step, this activity works best in fall). Take colored pencils and paper and put the leaf under the paper. Then lightly use the edge of a colored pencil to draw over the leaf, until the pattern of the leaf shows. Then cut the leaves out and glue them to a piece of paper! Look at all the pretty leaves!
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    When playing games make sure that the games are the right age limit or that they don't have an age limit. You wouldn't want the younger children not doing anything while the older kids are engaged in their games or vise versa. Try playing games/doing activities like bingo or even coloring as these activities are appropriate for all ages.


  • If the weather is nice and there's a safe, enclosed area outdoors, and if it's okay with the parents, let the child run around outside. Just remember that outside play requires constant supervision.
  • Do what the child wants to do and make it exciting for them, but make sure you are teaching them to clean up as you go along. If the child wants to do something inappropriate or something the parents don't want them doing, distract them with another, equally fun, activity.
  • If you are babysitting at night and the kids are smart enough they'll try to stay up later then their bedtime by saying things like, "I need some water," "I need to use the potty" or "Read me a story." Get them to put their PJ's on and complete their bedtime routine well before bed. However, don't get the kid to go to bed early because if you make a kid go to bed early and they know it, they won't be happy with you, and that means you may not be hired again.
  • Try to have fun with the children. Chances are, if you have fun, they'll have fun too!
  • Make sure you get the kids to bed at the right time.
  • Sock wars are a good choice for kids 4 and up. You get socks, then hide from each other and throw the socks at each other again. It's a blast, but not all parents will be okay with it and it creates a big mess so clean up and ask the parents first.
  • Incorporate picture books into your babysitting experience. Children often have favorite books sitting right on their bookshelf. Ask the child to show you some of their favourite books and then cuddle up together and have a good book reading session. It is also helpful to bring your own books to insert a little variety into the child's reading routine. You might want to bring some childhood favorites with which you have been unable to part, or you might visit the library and pick up a few good stories.
  • You'll get further with a kind word and some crayons than you will with just a kind word.
  • Lightly tickle the kids if they start to get bored. Most little kids love to be tickled, but if the kid shows any discomfort when you tickle them, stop immediately.
  • Let them do what they want to do, even if it's playing a game like Star Wars. Also make sure you play it along with them!
  • Any good babysitter knows that if you're babysitting in the evening a bedtime story is almost always mandatory. Bring your own book or visit the library and pick up a few good bedtime stories.
  • If a toddler wrestles you it means that they love you and they're doing it for fun. If the kid is mad at you and doing it, then they are trying to hurt you.
  • If you're talking to a kid considerably shorter than you, get down until you are at their eye level and they don't have to look up to see you because that sends a message to the kids:You are older than me and I am scared of you
  • Be engaged in the activity, and look like you're having fun. If you are on your phone the whole time, the kids won't think you are fun, and may not want you back.
  • Be patient with the child! Younger kids tend to become squirmy, so always have something new to do.
  • Let them make their own board game with a manila folder and some markers/crayons!


  • Never refer to a child's medicine as "candy." This can only lead to trouble and the child may eat more than is healthy.
  • If you are playing sock wars make sure there isn't stuff that could easily be knocked down and broken. The kid's parents won't be too happy.
  • Watch out for small objects/toys that young children may be able to swallow.
  • If the parents come home in a condition in which they are unable to care for a child, don't leave them alone with the kids. Call your parents so they can come help you and never let the kid's parents drive you home if you think they've been drinking.
  • Ask them about the parents' policies on disciplining and playing with the kids. Some parents have set rules for punishments such as the length of time of time outs or what types of punishments (time outs, taking away privileges) you should use.
  • Keep permanent markers away from all children, as the strong smell may be toxic or irritating.
  • If a kid is scared of doing something or doesn't like that game or food, don't make them do it, play it, or eat it. They have their reasons.
  • Never punish a child by hitting them. It's best not to punish them at all as you are just there to have fun, but if the kid(s) are really acting up, a time out for 5-10 minutes will suffice. Any longer and they will probably be quite unhappy with you.
  • Never leave the children you're babysitting unattended.

Things You'll Need

  • Toys (age appropriate)
  • Games
  • Books
  • Socks (optional) (they will probably have some)
  • Mini First Aid Kit (Just in Case)
  • Coloring Books (optional) (Works for all age groups)
  • Appropriate movies (optional)
  • Spare clothes in case of a spill (they'll probably have some)

Article Info

Categories: Babysitting