As a parent, my dream sitter would be someone who would come play with my kids. Like actually get down and play. They’d follow my child’s lead or they’d know fun activities to do with my kids. I’d come home to creativity, imaginative play, or some learning activity with my child so engaged they didn’t miss me one bit! (I’d also super appreciate leaving the screen time for when I’m in charge again because they only need so much and that is like a babysitter itself).
But I also know as a parent and a former teacher, thinking of those activities takes major mental energy and sometimes a little preparation ahead of time. And when you’re in charge of kids, sometimes you have to be creative on the fly.
So here are 6 activities that you can do with just paper and markers (mostly) that take no time at all to get ready!
Hop and Turn!
Get 8-12 pieces of paper and draw a large arrow on each of them. Arrange the papers on the floor in a line, with each arrow facing a different direction. Have the child stand next to the first arrow with their body facing the direction of the arrow. Then they should hop beside it to the next arrow, turning their body in whatever direction the next arrow is facing! Keep going until they reach the end and then it’s your turn! Or you can mix up the arrows in different directions.
Number Hide and Seek
Get 10 pieces of paper to draw on and a few others to cut (or rip) apart in smaller pieces. Draw one item on one piece of paper (for example a sun). Next draw two items on another sheet of paper (for example 2 strawberries). Then draw three items on the next sheet of paper (for example 3 hearts). Continue until you have 10 items on the last piece of paper.
Then you can use sticky notes if you have them accessible or smaller squares of paper. Write the numbers 1-10 individually on the pieces of paper. If you have multiple kids, you can make duplicates! Then hide them in spots around the house.
Send the kids on a hunt to find the numbers. When they find one, have them bring it back and match it to the paper that has that number of items on it. Lots of counting practice to be had!
If you have older kids, you could write addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems on the big papers and the answers on the smaller papers.
Finish the Drawing
Draw a squiggle or zigzag line on a piece of paper. Then hand it to the child to finish the picture. What can they create with it? Once they finish, draw a different type of line somewhere else on the page or on a new piece of paper.
This activity requires a sunny day, but it’s really fun! Take a small toy figure or animal, a piece of paper, and a pencil or marker outside. Place the paper on the ground and arrange the figure so its shadow lays over the paper. Then trace around the shadow on the paper! This can also be done with chalk straight on the ground if you have it!
Make a big rectangle using a colored marker on a sheet of paper and color it in or make a big scribble. There just needs to be color on the page! Make one for 3-4 colors. Then send the kids on a color hunt - inside or outside works! Have them bring back items and place it on or under the colored paper that it matches.
Gather some small toys or nature items (like sticks or leaves) and trace them on a piece of paper. Then give those items to the child to match to the different outlines.
If you’re looking for a sitter, check out Bambino Sitters. They make finding a local, trusted babysitter easier than ever!
Use the code QUIETBOOKQUEEN to get $10 off your first booking and sitters get an extra $10 on their first booking.
And if you want even more ideas in one place, check out my books here!