Babysitter Activities for Infants, Toddlers, and Young Children

Babysitter Activities for Infants, Toddlers, and Young Children

Keeping kids actively engaged is easy if you are prepared! Here are some suggestions for age-appropriate activities and games for babies, toddlers, and young children. It’s always good to plan ahead and have a list of ideas and imaginative concepts in mind to make sure you have a fun and creative time with the kids.

Activities for Infants (0 – 12 months):

Babies are learning about the world around them through all of their senses. Interacting with you, exploring their environment, and playing are all a part of babies’ social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. A warm, nurturing, and emotionally supportive environment provided by parents and caregivers is very important.

  • Talking, reading, and singing all encourage language development and social skills! Sing nursery rhymes, simple or silly songs, and lullabies. “Read” board books and describe what you see in the pictures.
  • Games like “This Little Piggy” promote sensory awareness and language skills.
  • Try Finger Plays like “Here is the Little Boy” that often memorize babies – a favorite for toddlers, too.
  • Sensory play includes touching, and often tasting, baby-safe toys. Try setting out a variety of textures for babies to explore – for example a soft toy, a hard toy, a fuzzy toy, and a smooth toy.
  • “Peek-A-Boo” and a simple version of “Hide & Seek” are favorite interactive and stimulating activities; calming activities can be as simple as slow counting of fingers and toes.
  • Encourage baby’s physical development by responding positively and happily when babies are practicing new skills like pushing up, rolling, and sitting up supported. Make sure these activities are done in a safe area.

Activities for Toddlers (12 months – 24 months):

Toddlers start transitioning to creative, imaginative, and symbolic play. They are quickly developing gross and fine motor skills and new physical abilities. Almost anything can be a toy – as long as it’s safe! By 24 months many children can tell you exactly what they want to play with.  Here are some favorites to try:

  • Sorting & stacking, filling & emptying (sand, water, etc.), pushing & pulling are all part of the daily toddler repertoire of play. These seemly simple and repetitive activities are actually building very important cognitive skills.  You can use containers, Tupperware, blocks, and more!
  • Rolling, throwing, & catching: play “catch” with a soft ball. For younger children, roll the ball to them on the floor and encourage them to roll it back to you.
  • Climbing, crawling, & balancing are all ways in which toddlers begin to master their environments. Get kids outside to a nearby playground or indoors you can build forts, tunnels, tents, or other cozy nooks.
  • Classic activities like coloring, painting, and play-doh never get old.

Activities for Preschoolers (2 years to 4 years):

Preschoolers are ready for a lot of really fun and engaging projects. Think about fun seasonal art & craft ideas, simple learning activities, and hands-on “experiments.” While preschool age children are rapidly developing a sense of independence, they also thrive on focused attention and an emotional connection to their caregiver. The possibilities for creative play with preschoolers are endless, but here are a few ideas to start with:

  • Dress-up: this is the age where a child can become a princess or a pirate, a dinosaur or a fairy, with a simple crown, ribbon, or scarf.  Create a magical story or put on a play together.
  • Cooking: with parents’ permission and attention to safety and allergies, there are a lot of great cooking and baking projects to do with kids, from making your own Play-doh, to kettle corn, to bread. Working on their level, you can assist the kids in measuring, pouring, mixing, and kneading.
  • Nature: From nature walks to bug hunts, nothing beats playing outside when you’re a kid. Here are 10 activities you can do with young children outdoors.  Studies show outdoor play is essential for children’s health and well-being.
  • Science: research easy to do projects with non-toxic materials. You can make a volcano using baking soda and vinegar or many other fizzy, foamy, slimy, or gloopy projects.
  • Play Trays: these require a little planning but can usually be put together with things already around. The goal is to provide materials for sensory-rich, open-ended, imaginative play.
  • Don’t forget about FUNdamentals: reading (fairy tales, short stories), ‘riting (chalk drawing, tracing) and ‘rithmatic (counting, collecting).
  • Bring inexpensive surprises with you like stickers & bubbles. These are a big hit with the kids & score points with parents!

We know you’re not “just the babysitter.” Taking care of kids is both a privilege and a responsibility.  Children deserve & need your full attention, understanding, empathy, and nurturing. They blossom in response to your imagination, caring, and creativity. We hope these suggestions will inspire you to come up with your own engaging babysitter activities and ideas for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Ready to hire a babysitter? Or, are you a babysitter looking for jobs? Visit ASAPSitters to learn more.