4 Fun Tips for Babysitting Large Groups of Kids

By Julia Dunn on September 6, 2017

Many students adore babysitting. If you’re the type who can’t get enough of reading children’s books out loud, getting messy with face paint, or playing board games, you’re probably one of these people! It can be a great way to have some fun (kids are hilarious) and even de-stress in some cases. Plus, babysitters make some pretty good money more often than not, and it’s usually a side job that you can fit around your busy schedule.

Even if you’re not into looking after kids, you may find yourself in charge of a large group of them for some reason at some point in life — when this happens, you may wonder how to keep them safe, entertained, and well-contained. Here are some practical tips for babysitting large groups of kids.

1. Start a group activity

What better way to keep everyone in one place than to initiate a group activity where everyone can participate? Kids tend to love social activities (some don’t — and you should respect that), and classic games like hide and seek, tag, kickball, and other group games can do the trick when you’ve got a group of kids to occupy for a few hours. If you need something to entertain kids for a longer amount of time, consider getting kids excited about a scavenger hunt they design for themselves/each other!

If you can’t get everyone to agree on a game, or if some of the kids don’t like this kind of activity, you can hold a simple coloring activity on the side while the other kids play the group game. The trick is to keep everyone in a common area so that you can keep an eye on everyone (you don’t want to be babysitting eight kids and suddenly realize that you’ve only counted seven in the backyard).

2. Play a movie or children’s show

This is great for babysitters who need a low-stakes method of passing time while babysitting, or who are babysitting at night. It’s usually too difficult to hold group activities outside if it’s nighttime, and having a movie night is a super easy way to contain everyone in one spot. You might not reach a consensus on what movie to play (especially if the ages vary of the children you’re babysitting), but you’ll usually be fine just playing a children’s movie or animated show.

Make sure to ask the parents of the children you’re babysitting about whether they have restrictions on the content or types of movies to play; for instance, some kids can’t handle scary movies (even those made for children can be too violent or spooky). When in doubt, play an educational show or classically well-loved children’s movie. You can make popcorn or cut up some fruit for the kids to have as a movie snack (again, make sure you know the dietary restrictions of the children as well). Note that popcorn isn’t great for young kids who may choke on the kernels.

3. Read to the group

If the kids are around the same age or don’t know how to read themselves, gather them around and conduct a read-aloud session. You’ll become a great storyteller just by creating different voices for different characters, and even the most serious babysitters will loosen up once they get kids laughing along with Curious George.

Image via Pixabay.com

Want to level-up to an even more personalized kids activity? Create a story as a group!

Have kids sit in a circle and select one to begin the story by coming up with one or two lines. Write them down as the kids recite them if you can. Then, go around the circle and ask kids one by one to contribute the next line of your collaborative story. These can get as funny as Mad-Libs games can (or better).

This kind of activity will give kids an avenue through which to express their creativity and feel they are part of a whole, which is integral to kids feeling important and heard. At a certain point, you’ll want to have somebody end the story, at which point you might want to read out the story in one piece (if you’ve been writing down the lines). Of course, you don’t have to write them down — leave it as a purely oral story that can change at any time. Prepare to unleash some silliness with this activity, and your babysitting will become a lot more fun!

4. Go on a free field trip

If you’re confident you can get everyone there and back in one piece, consider taking the kids on a walking field trip to somewhere local: a park, garden, even a festival or community event aimed at children, such as a carnival. Farmers markets usually have a kids section with little activities as well! Your best bet is to go somewhere that has free admission and isn’t too wild (a county fair is a bit too busy unless you’re really experienced in watching large groups).

Image via Pixabay.com

Have fun and be safe!

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
I am a graduate student in the Creative Writing MFA program at San Jose State University. I specialize in creative nonfiction writing and poetry, as well as composition studies.

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