Now that the weather is warm, let your house stay clean during your babysitting shift by transferring the activities outside. The kids will enjoy running around in the springtime air, and they'll wear themselves out before they go home (i.e. the other parents will adore you).
Here are 5 fun outdoor activities to enhance your springtime co-op shifts.
1. Bike Wash. Pull out all of your bicycles, wagons, push toys, and large outdoor toys and put them on the grass. Fill up a couple of buckets with warm soapy water, and give each child a sponge or small rag. After they've scrubbed everything down, let them use the garden hose to rinse the bikes. Plan ahead for this activity, and ask the other parents to pack an extra set of clothes or a swimsuit because they'll all get wet.
2. Hop in the Hoops. First, encourage the kids to "warm up" by running around or playing tag in the yard. Next, scatter hula hoops around the yard and tell the kids to listen carefully to your directions. Give directions like the following, giving the kids enough time to complete each task before you give the next direction. Here are some ideas:
- Put three fingers inside the yellow hoop.
- Run around the outside of the green hoop.
- Put your feet inside the blue hoop and your hands on the ground outside the blue hoop.
- Run from one end of the yard to the other end without touching a hoop.
3. Treasure Hunt. Hide chocolate gold coins or other small treasures in good hiding places in your yard. If you have time, make a quick map to show them where the treasure is hidden, and let them practice reading the map to find it. If you don't have time, you can use the old "hot, cold" method, telling them they're getting warmer when they get close to treasure and colder when they walk away from treasure. If they really enjoy this game, let the kids take turns making maps for the others to follow.
4. Rock Painting. First, help the kids to find a couple of interesting-shaped rocks. You could go on a walk to find rocks if you don't have many in your yard. Then lay out some newspaper on an outdoor table or on the ground and let the kids paint their rocks with tempera paints and water. This can be a messy activity, so warn the parents ahead of time to not dress their kids in their best clothes.
5. Cardboard Mazes. Drag all of those cardboard boxes out of your crawlspace and put them outside. Show the kids how to connect the openings of the boxes to make a cardboard maze. You can help by cutting openings into different sides of the boxes. They can even decorate the cardboard maze with crayons and markers. If you don't have any boxes of your own, ask local retailers if they have some boxes you could take. They usually just recycle them anyway.
What outdoor activities have your kids enjoyed?