10 Fun and Free Games Babysitters Can Play
For a young babysitter, money can often be an issue. Also, packing a large selection of toys and games for a short shift can be inconvenient and unwieldy. If you find yourself without supplies and charges in need of entertainment, here are a few free and exciting games you can play.
- Pretend – Children from Pre-K to school-age are fans of “playing pretend.” With their vivid imaginations, your charges will often build elaborate pretend worlds for themselves and their caregiver to inhabit. Follow their lead and let them make the rules, and they’ll be occupied for hours.
- Hide and Seek – Whether you play indoors or in the backyard, Hide and Seek is a perennial favorite of all children. If you decide to take the game outside, be sure to set clear boundaries to ensure that no one wanders too far for safety.
- Ring Around the Rosies – Despite its morbid origins, Ring Around the Rosies is a simple game beloved by children for generations. Be sure to find a large, clear space to play; cramped quarters can lead to bumps and bruises when you “all fall down.”
- Tag – Not recommended for indoor play, but great for nice weather. Like Hide and Seek, be sure to mark out the acceptable area. A good way to keep kids in the safe zone is to institute a rule that anyone who goes “out of bounds” is automatically It.
- Building a Blanket Fort – Few things inspire delight and imagination for youngsters like building a blanket fort. With things found around the house, you can build elaborate tents and forts. Building is half the fun, but you’ll be amazed at the Pretend games that spring up once the fort is completed.
- Farmer in the Dell – This classic game is great for larger groups of kids, but can be easily modified for smaller groups. The lyrics to the accompanying song can be found online, if you’ve forgotten them in the years since you last played.
- Red Light/Green Light – In addition to being a favorite among children, Red Light/Green Light is also great for developing coordination and muscle control.
- Musical Chairs – Almost every household has enough chairs for this classic game; if you don’t have a way to play music, just sing. It’s recommended for the babysitter to control the music and stay out of the action; you’re bigger and stronger, and can accidentally hurt little ones in the struggle for the last chair.
- London Bridge – The two tallest children in the group are best for forming the “arch” in London Bridge, but smaller ones will want a turn as well. When the little ones are filling this role, be sure to modify your playing style to accommodate small arms.
- Clapping and Rhyming Games – Games like “Miss Mary Mack” and others of its ilk are great for the times when you only have one charge. This one-on-one attention makes your charge happy, and you’ll be able to rediscover the clapping and rhyming games of your own younger days. The variations are endless, so find new ones online or even make up your own.
By playing these games with enthusiasm and vigor, you’ll quickly endear yourself to your charges. Being a kid favorite will make you a parent favorite as well, leading to more work and more money. When playing games that require moving furniture, like Musical Chairs or blanket forts, be sure that you put everything back exactly as you found it. No matter how much fun your charges have, parents will think twice about calling a sitter who leaves their house in a mess.