6 Activities to Do While Babysitting Children

6 Activities to Do While Babysitting Children

A babysitter's toolkit.
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It seems for many people, their first paid job was babysitting. Whether it be younger siblings or neighbors, babysitting is a popular first job, and is highly sought out by many working parents. I know for me, I grew up in a large neighborhood full of children. My older sister was significantly older than most of the other children in our neighborhood, and she babysat for a large number of families throughout the neighborhood. I also babysat for the family who lives behind our home. Also, my friend and I babysat over a boy over winter break. I love babysitting because it is a fun way to make extra money. I love playing with the kids and doing activities with them.

One conundrum that always appears upon being asked to babysit is, what will I do with them? There are some days that it is easier to just hang out, but other times, it is fun to have something planned. This does not mean taking them out necessarily, but that can also be fun. Here are some options for when you just can not figure out what to do with the children you are babysitting.

1. Go to the playground or park area.

This seems like a pretty basic idea; however, it is always fun! The kids can play on the playground equipment or they can start up a game of tag or hide and seek. Also, after all that running around, the kids will probably be pretty tired and go to sleep early that night! That is a perk for you if you are the one putting them to bed or a pleasing surprise for their parents!

2. Crafts.

I always look up babysitting activities on Pinterest and find some really fun projects to do with the kids. Pinterest is great because you can find simple activities for very young children, or more complex projects that will keep the older children engaged. One of my favorite activities that I have used from Pinterest is the DIY play dough. This craft only required cornstarch, hair conditioner, a mixing bowl, and optional food coloring. This was fun to make with the kids and took up a lot of time because after making it, they were able to make fun things!

3. Make a fort.

When I was younger, I used to love making forts out of sheets in my room and in my family room with my siblings. Gather spare sheets and blankets and put together a fun fort. It is also fun to set up a laptop in the fort and put a movie on Netflix. This is a perfect rainy day activity.

4. Bingo.

Over the summer, I was asked to babysit for two boys who lived nearby and their friends while their parents went out one night. The other kids were not sleeping over, so the parents did not set a bedtime; therefore, we had a lot of free time. I decided to bring my old bingo cage and host a bingo game. I also went to the dollar store that morning and purchased some prizes for the game. This kept the children very engaged and it was fun for all ages because the children varied from 6 to 10 years old.

5. Go to the library.

Often times, local libraries will have separate children’s rooms with games, computers, books, and more. This can be fun if you want to get out of the house, but you do not want to spend money. You can go to the library and either read them a book, play a game with them, or let them pick out a movie to check out and watch back at home.

6. Scavenger hunt.

This is a fun way to get out of the house. Create clues or a map to landmarks or places around town and have the kids guess the location when they get there, take a picture of them with the landmark and have the final clue lead to a fun destination, such as an ice cream parlor, or have a treasure box waiting for them! This is fun for both you and the children and the parents will love seeing the pictures!

Cover Image Credit: ClipArt

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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To The Sister About To Move Away, Girl, You've Got This

You may not physically be here right now, but you're always with our family.

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You were there on the day I was born, somehow sleeping soundly as our mom gave birth to me. I'll never forget the photograph of her presenting me to the world and you sitting beside her, holding up your newly-purchased beanie baby with pride as if being handed this toy was equal to the miracle of birth.

It was a crab, by the way, which somehow makes it funnier.

Growing up, you loved to trick me. You'd make me do chores for you and steal my favorite Barbies, but I think that's just part of being an older sister. I'd stick my tongue out at you and cry out the same phrase, "Mooooom, Sissy is being mean to me!" In fact, I yelled this phrase so often that it began to take on a musical quality.

You were mean at times, but you always had my back. You physically beat up other children that had wronged me, and you let me crawl into your bed so we could watch TV together and exchange stories. We'd often immerse ourselves in fantasy worlds where we were princesses and we rode unicorns side-by-side.

But we grew up, and our fantasy world evaporated like the muddy puddles we'd play in after stormy nights. One second it was there, and then, it was just gone. I remember having a conversation a few years back where we wondered if we had known the last time we played Barbies would, in fact, be our last.

When I was a seventh grader, you were a junior in high school. Our problems were very different back then, but that didn't stop us from talking endlessly about them. We were so similar. We bonded over cheerleading, cute boys, books and music. But even more than that, we bonded over our similar life views and questions about the universe. We both possessed an innate love for life yet we were both distrustful of society's guidelines.

Watching you enter new life phases enthralled me. I thought, Wow, that will be me someday. I danced around the house in each of your four prom dresses, my imagination taking me to a place much grander than a high school gymnasium. Through your stories, I romanticized the future and hoped that I would be as cool as you.

It was a little tough at times, though, always longing for a different part of life. When I entered junior high, all I wanted was to be in high school. When I entered high school, I decided college was much cooler because that's what you said. And you were certainly right about that one.

You were the only one I felt comfortable sharing my writing with, the only one I knew could read the meaning behind my sideways glances. We just got each other in every way.

And we still do. To this day, you are one of the people I love and trust most. I don't know what I am going to do without you by my side, as you've been right there for 20 years. But I'm so proud of you. Of the many things we would lay around and talk about throughout the years, one topic persisted: moving away. Moving used to be a pipe dream, something beautiful that lived in your mind but would never come to pass.

And then you took a chance. And now that dream is a reality.

I want you to know how much I admire you. You are so incredible and resilient. I've never met anyone so strong-minded and willing to fight for what she believes in. You would never compromise yourself or your values for another person, but you are generous with others and so kind-hearted.

You are curious about the world and have a desire to learn about life and the richness it has to offer. That is a special quality that cannot be learned. You are beautiful in every way and are truly a blessing to have as a sister.

And it is from these very qualities and so many others that I know you will do great on your own. Sure, it's super tough at first; nobody said it would be easy. But if anyone can do it, then that person is certainly you.

I will always cherish our moments together, and you can always count on me to be there on the sidelines cheering you on, no matter where your adventure takes you.

Much love,

Your Little Sis

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