18 Great Games for Nanny and Children
With a few great babysitting games under your hat – some outdoor, some indoor – and maybe a yarn necklace or two, you can be the great nanny of your little brood. …
Here are some great nanny and children games to try:
Nanny and Children Games : Bring it Outdoors!
If you have a little sunshine beckoning, and the great outdoors are calling, these nanny and children games are ideal:
1. Shark Attack
Grab a couple of hula-hoops or jump ropes placed in a circular pattern and set them out in the yard. One child is the shark while the other kids jump to safety on the “islands.”
When the shark yells “shark attack,” the kids must run from one island to the other without getting tagged.
2. Carnival Fun
Use folding chairs or outdoor picnic tables and benches to set up “booths” around the yard for your very own carnival.
You can use the kids’ horseshoes sets, plastic bowling pins or squirt guns to create some of the games we all know and love, like “ringer,” tossing a baseball against pins or cans, or squirting water at a target.
Let the kids look through their own games and see how they can transform them as “carnival” fun.
You can be a “fortune teller” in one booth, reading the kids’ palms.
Serve hot dogs for lunch or dinner and pop some microwave popcorn to make the day complete.
3. Get Off My Tail!
This is an oldie but a goodie: Cut three or four 1-foot lengths of string and tuck them in the back of the child’s pants (don’t tie them on).
When you say “go,” have the children run around the yard and try to step on each other’s tails until they detach.
The last one with his tail intact wins.
This can get really loud and crazy with more than a few kids – the larger the yard, the better!
4. Obstacle Course
This game can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be.
Building the course is often as much fun as running through it!
Grab ladders, hula-hoops, trash cans and anything else than can be jumped over, ducked under or run through. Set them up throughout the yard.
You can time the kids for their very own backyard Olympics.
5. Bubble Pop
This is an easy one, and a big hit with the under-3 crowd.
Most households with small kids have some bubbles on hand, but you might want to bring your own just in case.
Blow bubbles and ask the little ones to try not to let any bubbles “escape to the sky.” Have them pop the bubbles with their hands or let them use tennis or badminton rackets.
Nanny and Children Games : Indoor/Outdoor Games
If the weather outside is frightful, these nanny and children games have the advantage of adaptability to be played indoors or out:
6 Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of materials that kids can find.
Outdoors, kids may be able to find a leaf shaped like a heart, a rock with at least two colors, a flower with six petals, etc.
Indoors, you can list a blue sock, a water bottle, a blank piece of paper, etc. (with the indoor items, however, you have to be sure all the items get put away at the end of the game!)
Give each child a copy of the list and see who can find the most items first. This game can be made easy or difficult, depending on how old the children are.
7. Balloon Volleyball
Blow up a round balloon and engage the kids in a game of living-room volleyball. One variation of this babysitting game is to see how long each person can keep the balloon in the air using all available body parts.
This is an oldie but a goodie: You’ll need a portable radio or CD player.
Have the kids do crazy dances to the music, but when the music stops, they must freeze in whatever pose they are in at the time.
If the kids move before the music goes back on, they are out.
Who doesn’t like making forts? Enlist the kids to come up with a true fort, complete with fort name, fort flag and at least two rooms to live in. If you’re playing indoors, turn over the couch cushions, grab the kitchen chairs and cover them with sheets and blankets.
You can set the kids up with paper and crayons to create colorful flags to fly over their fort once they’ve “named” it.
Add to the fun by spreading a blanket on the floor and having lunch and dinner in your fort. Just make sure that the fun is all cleaned up before Mom and Dad get home!
10. Let’s Put on a Show
This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.
Help the kids come up with an idea for a play, such as an old fairy tale or a popular television show. Look for costumes and even music.
Make sure there are roles for every child – even the youngest can have a walk-on part. If there’s time, put the play on for the parents when they come home, or videotape it to watch later.
Another idea that is popular with older kids – especially girls – is to choreograph a dance routine. Younger kids also love learning magic tricks to perform a magic show.
11. Rock Band
This game is great for both tiny tots and older kids.
If actual kid-sized instruments are not available, use pots and pans, buckets, lids, and brooms and put together a living room rock band.
You can make this even more fun by raiding the closets for costumes.
12. Puppet Show
It is a good idea to bring a few supplies for this game. Paper bags, socks, buttons, markers, and yarn are all good choices.
Have the kids use the materials to make puppets that they will later use to put on a show.
You might try coming up with a theme, such as “American Idol” or “Batman,” and create the puppets to go along with the story.
Nanny and Children Games : “Cool games” for Hot Days
When the temps warm up, sometimes the kids’ parents will say okay to water games. If so, these nanny and children games are always a big hit:
13. Water Limbo
Put the kids in their bathing suits and grab the hose. Aim a steady stream of water horizontally at different heights and see if the kids can limbo underneath it.
14. Water Paint
This is another great hot-day activity. Grab a bucket of water and some old paintbrushes and have the kids “paint” with water on the patio or driveway. Talk about easy clean up!
Nanny and Children Games : Bedtime and Restaurant Games
Sometimes you might need to dial down the energy a bit! If you’re in a restaurant or waiting room (or as the clock ticks closer to bedtime), here are a couple of quieter nanny and children games that will keep kids busy:
15. What’s Missing?
This is a quick game to play with kids about 4 years and older to get their creative juices flowing.
Gather some small objects such as coins, small toys, utensils, and pens. Place seven or eight on the table for the kids to see – give them 10 to 20 seconds to try to memorize what is there.
Quickly remove one of the items and cover the rest with a towel. Have the kids look again to see if they can guess which object is missing.
16. Foldover Figures
Take a sheet of paper and fold it horizontally three or four times. The first person draws a head on the top fold, turns it over and passes it to the next person.
That person draws shoulders and a torso on the second fold and so on, without looking at what the person before her drew. When the feet have been drawn, open up the paper and look at your funny creation.
17. Eye Spy
Another oldie but goodie: Eye Spy gives your babysitting charges the advantage because they know what is inside their home or bedroom.
Take turns “spying” something in the room and saying “I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with G…” and let the kids guess. If they don’t know how to spell yet, you can easily adapt this to colors.
18. Complete the Next Line
Perfect for bedtime, you can let kids complete the next line of a story you are telling or a song you are singing.
Begin a bedtime story or song, then create a sign (such as putting your hand on top of your head) to let them know that they need to say the next line.
It will ensure plenty of giggles for both of you.
When you’re babysitting, games for kids to play – either outdoors or indoors – will make the time fly.
These ideas are typically easy to modify for kids of different ages, and – if you have children who are particularly sensitive – play for fun rather than having a winner.
With your new bag of creative games, you might just become the most popular nanny in town.
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