Homework Help – Spelling Words

Now that school is back in session, you maybe asked to help the babysitting kids with their homework. The babysitting kids may put up a battle about doing their homework so you can encourage them with exciting ways to get the homework accomplished.

Here are some new ways to practice Spelling Words!

30 Seconds

See how many times the child can write one spelling word in thirty second

Trace

Write the spelling word once and then trace over the letters with different color markers to create a ‘rainbow’ look

 Hide N Spell

Write each letter on a slip of paper and then hide the papers around the room. Once the pieces are found have the child put the slips together so that the word is spelled correctly.

Stairsteps

Write the spelling word as a stair, adding one letter at a time

20140815_175607

Scratch n’ Sniff

This is my personal favorite! A bit messy but the most fun!

Write the spelling word out with glue on a colored piece of paper then sprinkle Jello powder over it. Shake off the excess Jello. When the babysitting kid traces over the spelling word it will have become a scratch and sniff.

With these fun and practical ways to practice spelling words, your babysitting kids will be mastering their words better than ever!

Adventures in the blanket fort!

Building tents with blankets has becoming a skill I almost feel like I should be able to add to my resume. Rhett, a three year old, wanted so badly to build one last time I babysat. The first thing he said to me was “Can we build a tent?”.

 Tent building is two activities in one! First, building the tent and second, playing in it.

Recommend Ages: Toddler through Middle School

In my bag:

  • Bed Sheets
  • Clothes Pins

Blanket forts are a classic kid activity and super easy to pull the supplies together while babysitting. Even if you forget them in your bag, you can grab some sheets or blankets from your babysitting house.

Even though younger children may not be able to build the tent, they can enjoy playing in it. There is a lot of creativity that can come out of a tent! One time, when the tent created a half circle, the babysitting kids raced to see who could do a lap the fastest. Other times they play imaginative games in them.

One babysitting families dinning room table is close enough to their living room that the tent can extend that far. The blankets create two rooms and a hall way.

Building Tips:

  • Use large blankets. Bed sheets work best.
  • Clothes Pins can be used to connect sheets together
  • Tuck the blankets into the couches so they are more secure
  • It may be necessary place a chair in the middle of tent to help hold the structure up

Of course, remember to take down the tent when the kids are done playing in it and put the blankets back where they originally were.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Eating While Babysitting

I’ve noticed due to the stress and pace of the day I often eat pretty unhealthy while babysitting. Of course grabbing a handful of chips is easier than looking through the fridge but then I’m hungry again only a few moments later.

So to stop this madness of junk food binge eating, here are some of the things I worked on this summer!

  • Check to make sure you are hungry. Don’t just have a snack because the babysitting kids are.
  • Just as you won’t let the kids have all unhealthy snacks the whole day, you should vary between healthy and unhealthy snacks. If the last snack you had was a some chips, look in the fridge for an apple or grab a few nuts.
  • Stock up on those veggies and fruit at lunch time! I usually try to have half of my plate be filled up with these items.
  • If we are having sandwiches, I only use one piece of bread for mine and fold it in half. Recently, I made an egg sandwich for myself instead of using the lunch meat.
  •  Drink water! I usually grab a cup soon after I arrive and just keep it the entire time.

 

Meal Expectations

For me, preparing a meal can be one of the most stressful parts of the day. I have to figure out what to fix and start the preparations for that, keep an eye on the babysitting kids, and safely allow them to help me if they want to.

The meal tips:

Expectations for the babysitting kids:

  • To stay in their seats at the table while eating
  • To chew with their mouth closed and not talk with their mouth full. This isn’t something all children have mastered. Your babysitting kids may need to be reminded of this but it is important to encourage table manners.
  • To eat what is on their plate. Each family has their own thoughts about the how much they expect their children to eat at the table such as some enforce the ‘clean plate club’ rule. While this may differ between families, it is important that children eat a certain amount of that is on their plate. You do not want the babysitting kid to be asking for a snack only a few minutes after a meal.
  • To take their plate and silverware to the sink when finished

These are expectations you will want to set from the beginning.

Expectations for the babysitter:

  • To make healthy meals
  • Cleaning up after the meal. This includes washing the dishes, wiping off the table and counters, and putting away leftovers. Also, pick up any pieces of food that had been dropped on the floor.

It may not always work best to wash dishes right after the meal. If the children take naps, you could wait until then to wash the dishes.

Eat your necklace?!

I babysat all day a while back and this was the perfect activity! We made our snack before popping in the movie!

Recommended Age: Toddler through Elementary

In My Bag:

  • Yarn
  • Fruit Loops
  • Life Saver Gummies
  • Pretzels
  • Letter and Number Animal Crackers

20140811_150335

 

While the babysitting kids washed their hands, I poured all the materials into bowls. Sadly the Letter and Number Animal Crackers didn’t work out too well. Instead of having holes in some letters it was more of just indents. A few of them did work but the babysitting kids struggled with getting the string to fit through.

Next, I cut the string into super long pieces. We kept the necklaces on the table so that pieces wouldn’t fall off the yarn.

20140811_150215

Rhett, a three year old, could easily put the pretzels on the necklace. With the other food, he struggled. So he’d pick out what he wanted and I’d put it on for him.

When the kids were done with their necklace, I grabbed both ends of the string and placed it around their neck. I then tied it, making a couple knots just to be safe. Make sure it hangs low enough that they can get it off.

The activity doubled as a snack! I brought some zip lock bags and chip clips to seal back up the packages that had been opened. The babysitting kids weren’t able to eat them in one sitting so I put them in individual bags with their name on the bag.

Here are the kids and their fashionable and eatable necklaces!

20140811_151741

 

“I’ll pick the fruit!”

For me, preparing a meal can be one of the most stressful parts of the day. I have to figure out what to fix and start the preparations for that, keep an eye on the babysitting kids, and safely allow them to help me if they want to.

Other Babysitting Meal tips:

One of the families I babysit for the kids are very excited about helping me in the kitchen. Jenna, a five year old, always offers to help! Her offering has occurred so many times that now she is simply just in charge of picking and preparing the fruit.

I will get the main dish part started. While the oven preheats or I wait for water to boil, together we will look through the options. If needed, I’ll open the can and allow her to pour out the juice. Last time, we had grapes so she put some in a bowl and I helped her wash them off.

babysitting hack #3

There were a few times when her sister, Molli, wants to help too. When this happens there are several other things that she can do. Depending on the meal, she could help with that. For Mac-n-Cheese, a babysitting kid could mix together the cheese, milk, and butter into the noodles. Of course, someone will have to set the table. I usually include getting out the ketchup or other condiments that might be needed in with this job. For an older babysitting kid, they could take everyone’s drink order and get those ready.

A few days ago, Bunny and I made taco’s. She is about to enter seventh grade so she has experience in the kitchen. She took charge of frying the meat and mixing in the taco seasoning.

Other course not matter the amount of preparation, it seems the I always have to get up multiple times during the meal to getting something that was forgotten. But that is just a babysitter’s reality.

Bored? So lets play a board game!

I love board games so I was especially excited when the babysitting kids wanted to play Monopoly! Even better was that we played it during the youngest’s nap time so the house was quiet.

IMG_20140812_150837

I was amazed at how well they, a seven year old and two five year olds, played and understood the game. Grant, the oldest, was the banker. Molli and Jenna practiced counting with moving their pieces.

Once the youngest woke up from his nap, each babysitting kid got an baggie (an envelope would work too) to save their money and properties. I wrote which place the babysitting kid was currently one and who’s turn it was on their baggie. Now next time, they can pick up the game right were they left off! Grant was excited about this because he was very serious about finishing a whole game.

Knowing this, the next time I went I put Sorry! in my babysitting bag. They loved it! We played it two times in a row. This board game says for ages six and up. I would agree, kids need to know their numbers and be able to count. This board game was also perfect because it doesn’t involve a lot of skill or thought processing. You randomly draw a card and that controls the certain moves you can make.

Since Sorry! was already in my bag, I took it with me to my other babysitting family’s house. Bunny told me that they own the game but we still played it! I can’t remember if this is normal or because we all fully understood how best to play but our Sorry! game took over an hour to finish.

With the recent success of playing board games, I looked into several others that may work just as well!

Aggravation (my personal favorite!) or Trouble is for ages 6 and up. This game is just based on luck and helps children practice counting! You would not want to play this game with toddlers around as they could get a hold of the marbles and put them in their mouth.

Battleship, a two person game, is for ages 8 and up. This game would be harder to do with children younger than that since you cannot help them by looking at their board. The babysitting kid has to have enough understanding of the game to be able to play.

Yahtzee is also a board game for ages 8 and up. This one may be rather noisy to play during nap time but I think older babysitting kid families would love it! If you have a various age ranges, people could be on teams or in pairs. This would allow the older kids to play while keeping the younger ones included.

Other great games for young babysitting kids: Candyland, Connect Four, and Chutes and Ladders

 

Ready for school?

In preparation for school, the babysitting kids and I went to Flight School!

Recommended Ages: Preschool through Middle School

In my bag:

  • plastic table cloth
  • painters tape
  • paper

I found this wonderful idea for a paper airplane target on the Sewing Mama Raeanna. 20140728_101253 (1)   We started off at the kitchen table making our planes. I had no idea what I was doing and simply randomly folded the paper. Soldier, who has much more skill than I, used tape and scissors. Bunny used the painters tape to make markers on the carpet. We did four rounds of flying. We started at the marker closest to the target and moved back to the next marker each round. Bunny was also the one who labeled the target’s different point values. To make the paper airplane target, I folded the table cloth in half at various points and cut out half circles. I made the target before hand but brought along extra if they wanted to make their own. The babysitting kids had fun seeing how well (or not so well) their airplanes worked!This is an activity that involves very little prep and can keep their attention.

Makin’ those meals!

For me, preparing a meal can be one of the most stressful parts of the day. I have to figure out what to fix and start the preparations for that, keep an eye on the babysitting kids, and safely allow them to help me if they want to.

The upcoming meal tips are going to cover:

  • allowing the babysitting kids to help
  • expectations to have set for the babysitting kids
  • healthy options for you

Often parents will toss out a few meal ideas before they leave. The main dish is usually the easiest thing to figure out. Some babysitting food classics would be pb&j, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. Spaghetti is an option to fix quick too.

After that though, what does one put with the main dish? Fruits and veggies are an important thing to add to every meal! Of course, every house is different and has different ways to incorporate healthy sides.

One of my babysitting families keeps fresh fruit and veggies in their fridge. I usually cut up some veggies and place ranch dip beside them. Another babysitting family usually has canned fruit and veggies. Cheese sticks, yogurt, and apple sauce are other common sides to add to a meal with my babysitting kids.

babysitting hack #4I’ve learned this hack with my older babysitting kids. They are more willing to eat their fruit or veggies when they are the ones that picked them out. I lay out a variety of options and tell them to pick at least two depending on what the main dish is.

 

3 Ball

The game is much like kick-ball except it’s better so you should for sure learn how to play!

Recommended Ages: Elementary through Middle School

In my bag:

  • three different types of balls
  • cones
  • a plastic container

20140726_115932

How the game works:

  • Use the cones to make bases
  • Have the 3 balls in the plastic container at the home base
  • The person at bat will toss, throw, kick (however they want to get the ball into the field) all three balls. No one can move until all the balls have been thrown
  • Once the last ball is thrown, the person at bat will run to a base. The outfield team is trying to get the three balls back in the plastic container
  • If the three balls are in the plastic container before the runner reaches a base that player is out
  • If the player returns to home, he or she has earned a point