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  1. #1

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    Babysitting advice needed

    I volunteered to sit my neighbor's kids (3 under the age of 6, 2 boys and 1 girl) for 2.5 hours, 3 times, as she is recuperating from surgery. I've not been around kids that young for a very long time -- I'm almost 50, have no kids, and have not babysat since I was 14. Do you have any advice on activities that I can do with them that will keep their attention and wear them out? I'm looking for specifics -- reading stories (which ones?), acting out adventures (suggestions?), playing games (??), etc. The weather will be nice enough to be outside, which should also be good for allowing their mom to rest.

  2. #2
    Skating Pairs with Drew
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    Hide and go seek. WIth any luck it will be at least 20 minutes before they realize that you aren't looking for them. Just kidding.
    Most kids love to be read to. Toy cars are a hit. Let them build roadways out of magazines, etc. Going out for a walk or to the playground if the weather permits. Building with blocks. Coloring, PlayDoh. So many things to do.

  3. #3

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    In addition to parks and playgrounds (endless hours of amusement), you could check the local parents' websites for local events for kids. There are always things you can find through this network - theatre, music, performances, many of which are free.

    There are also card games like Go Fish, although these kids may be too young for cards. If not, Uno is always great.

    I'm a big fan of take the kids outside and let them run. They sleep so much better after a day of fresh air.

  4. #4
    Bountifully Enmeshed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    I'm a big fan of take the kids outside and let them run. They sleep so much better after a day of fresh air.
    This.

    Your local public library will probably have things going on during the week, especially for the younger ones who aren't in school. Your local parks and recreation department probably offers things as well.

    For other activities, I used to get a lot of ideas from Family Fun: http://familyfun.go.com/

    Some book suggestions:

    http://www.parenting.com/gallery/the...with-your-kids

    And I have to put in a plug for some of the books I really enjoyed reading to my kids:

    Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore! I can still recite this one from memory . I like David McPhail's other books, too, but this one was a favorite.

    Zoom Broom and Maggie Palatini's other books.

    The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and Jon Scieszka's other books.

    I really liked Junie B. Jones, too, but a lot of parents apparently don't like those books. Junie B. does not model good behavior .

    But really, don't stress out or do too much. They're kids; they will entertain themselves. You mostly have to keep them out of trouble.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  5. #5
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    For books, I'd recommend The Stupid series of books for young readers (The Stupids Step Out and The Stupids Die etc). My Mom used to read them to her first grade class and they were always the kids' favorites.

    And for the amount of time you'll have them, a video or two won't hurt. Whoever said tv can't be a good babysitter is wrong. - especially if you're not used to doing this and might need a rest when you have them. If you still have something that plays a VHS tape, get the Gymboree Zoo Safari tape from Amazon (they have used copies). I don't think it ever came out on dvd and they no longer sell it in the stores, but for years I gave that to everyone I know who had a kid, and most of the parents ended up hating me. Their kids played that tape over and over and over until the songs were running through the parents brain at work. The 1 and 3 year old would probably enjoy it.

    And what a nice offer to make - this is something very thoughtful and useful!!
    Last edited by Garden Kitty; 09-21-2011 at 08:06 PM.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the advice. Playing hide & seek is an option that completely slipped my mind. I'll definitely do some kind of craft from one of the websites you suggested. Will ask for their favorite books -- hoping the family has some so I don't need to go out to the library. Need to raid my closet/fabric chest to see what else I might have that they would be interested in doing.

    This will be interesting!

  7. #7

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    My grandsons loved to play with little plastic animals. You can buy a bag at a thrift store, or dollar store, for a dollar or two. (Be sure to wash well before using).
    One boy would sit for a hour, just moving the little creatures around and making up stories about their activities.

  8. #8

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    Bubbles. Kids love blowing, chasing and popping bubbles. Also frosting and decorating cookies (although this can get major messy!). Those foam sticky things are the best craft invention ever. Scavenger hunt, limbo, catch - all good forms of entertainment. Let us know how it goes! Best of luck!
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

  9. #9
    engaged to dupa
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    I don't suppose handcuffs and shackles are on your list? You could call it playing Houdini.
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

  10. #10
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    if you like you can go to a hardware store, buy a bag of play sand and a plastic tub that will hold all of the sand (make sure it has a good tight fitting cover). Throw in some water and plastic cups/plates/sand toys and you're golden. Perfect to do in a garage/patio if it's raining outside.

    I do agree with the others about the park, it's really the best for young kids. And bubbles, TONS of bubbles!

  11. #11
    snarking for AZE
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    I don't suppose handcuffs and shackles are on your list? You could call it playing Houdini.
    throw in some cough medicine and patent your idea, it's golden!
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

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