Babysitting kids involves keeping the youngsters busy to keep them happy. When watching one or more kids, plan plenty of playtime for the youngsters. You will likely find that the time speeds by and everyone gets along more easily when you stay engaged and play with them.
Arrange a tea party with the little ones, inviting dolls and stuffed animals as extra guests, if desired. Make mild herbal tea with milk and honey or serve fruit juice in kid-safe teacups instead. Offer dainty sandwiches cut into tiny wedges, fresh fruit and cookies for a delightful repast any child will enjoy. Another option for keeping busy indoors involves modeling compound, rolling pins and cookie cutters. Show kids how to roll out the dough and cut it into various shapes and designs.
When the weather cooperates and you can get the kids outdoors, take advantage of the opportunity to expend energy. Try old-fashioned favorites such as hide-and-seek, tag or follow the leader. If you have time to organize it, you could also create a treasure hunt with the kids hunting for small objects already hidden randomly throughout your landscape. Take the children on a scavenger hunt through the neighborhood looking for specific nature items such as pinecones, rocks, bird feathers, leaves and acorns.
Sometimes quiet play fits the bill if other children are napping and you need to keep the volume down. Sit with kids on the floor or on the couch and take turns building an original story together. With each turn, each person can add a few sentences to the story to create an innovative tale with engaging twists and turns. Playing a game of 20 questions can also keep little ones occupied quietly with one person thinking of an object and everyone else taking turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to try to guess the object.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the play stops. Introduce children to the delights of shadow play. Turn off all but one light and direct it against a free wall in your home. Show your little ones how to stand against the wall and make a pose. Everyone can take turns making original poses or trying to copy poses of other people. Create a make-believe campout by spreading sleeping bags in a circle around a pretend campfire. As you sit, serve a snack of popcorn or apples and cheese and sing songs together. You could also tell adventure stories to entertain the kids -- skip the ghost stories, though.
Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.