Creating an evening of engaging activities for kids can be a challenge for even the most seasoned babysitter. Help your teenager become the most in-demand babysitter on the block by making a “Savvy Sitter’s Activity Box” together. This mobile treasure chest of games, craft supplies and educational aids will help your teen keep her kids entertained and happy without resorting to the TV.

  • Get Crafty. Inexpensive, versatile supplies can be creatively morphed into a wide range of activities. Good choices include washable markers, colored pencils, craft sticks, crayons, finger paints, Play-Dough, construction paper, safety scissors, glue sticks, glitter, stickers, felt squares, hole punches and yarn. Homemade cards and picket puzzles are just a few of the countless creative crafts you can create.
  • Holiday Fun. Seasonal craft supplies for holidays like Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Easter help channel pent-up energy into a creative craft. Savvy sitters can find great clearance deals after the holidays and stock up for the rest of the year.
  • Express Your Inner Artist. Mini smocks make little artists feel extra special, and help ease worry about spilling paint on clothes.
  • Throwback Board Games. A collection of classic, simple games like Twister, Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, checkers, Old Maid, Go Fish or jacks encourages interactive play—without a Nintendo controller.
  • Snuggle with a Story. A big book of bedtime stories or children’s classics not only helps kids wind down, but also encourages a lifelong love of books.
  • Safety First. Every kid is prone to the occasional scratched knee or bumped head, so a first-aid kit, complete with anti-bacterial spray, patterned bandages and crack-and-use ice bags will be a big hit with parents. Bonus points for super sitters who are trained in basic first-aid skills and CPR.
  • Cover All Your Bases. Pre-printed forms for parents to jot down contact information will be crucial in the case of an emergency. Categories should include:
    • Parents’ first and last names
    • Cell phone numbers
    • The street address of the home, including cross streets and gate access codes, if required
    • The name and contact information for the location(s) parents will be while out
    • The name and number of the child’s pediatrician
    • Contact information for a reliable relative, friend or neighbor who can be used as an emergency contact if the parents are unreachable
    • A list of the child’s medicine or food allergies
    • A section for special instructions, such as letting the dog out at a certain time, bedtime rituals or parental limits on video game use and television viewing
  • Imaginative Ideas. An activity file of popular games, crafts or projects, written on index cards and stored in a small box, will provide ideas for fail-proof fun. Plus, kids will love the opportunity to sift through the box and pick their own special activities for the day.
  • Costumes Galore. Every kid loves to dress up. Stash some essentials like old clothes, hair ribbons, inexpensive jewelry, and accessories to inspire imaginative pretend play.
  • Mess-Free, Stress-Free. Parents will be delighted if they come home to a clean kitchen and tidy play room. Include a tub of non-toxic all-purpose cleaning wipes that can be used to quickly and efficiently clean up spills, drips or messy craft projects.

With just a little bit of thought, you can make all the difference in your teen's time with the kids. Caregivers who invest in creating and stocking their activity box are sure to be at the top of the list when parents need a night out. In addition to having fun with the kids and making the most out of her time with them by boosting their brain power, your teenager will also learn a valuable lesson in planning, responsibility and going above-and-beyond on the job—lessons that will serve her well in life!