Hi Nannies and welcome to the My Vacation Nanny team! One of the requirements for being an on-call nanny is to bring a nanny bag with you to each job with age appropriate games, crafts and activities. We hope that the bag helps you not only entertain the children but also provide lasting memories for the kids in your care.
Some of my favorite memories when arriving to a job is seeing the excitement and curiosity of small children when they see I brought toys. Their eyes light up and they instantly become eager to play with their new friend while their parents are away. Its a great way to help “break the ice” or bond with the children in your care.
What Kind of Bag?
The kind of bag is your choice. We suggest something that is comfortable to carry around a hotel and won’t hurt your shoulders or back. A backpack is a great option or a large tote with a comfortable strap. For years, I carried my nanny toys and activities in a large beach bag tote. It worked very nicely to fit oddly shaped toys in it. Recently I switched to a backpack for comfort and because it has other areas to store my wallet, keys, and snacks for myself.
What should I bring for ages 0-2 years old?
- Balls work very well for babies and young children. They can roll, kick, and throw. Even a soccer ball can work well and be used for older children as well.
- Bubbles are great for babies and toddlers. Go out to the lawn at the hotel or vacation rental and sit the small children on a towel or blanket and blow bubbles.
- Books are great for any age and very helpful for babies. Babies love to read, touch and feel. Pick a few touch and feel books to help with their sensory development.
- Instruments are great for this age. Put on some kid friendly nursery rhymes and shake some rattles or shakers with the children. Have a few options and they’ll enjoy sitting on the floor and exploring each instrument.
- Scarfs are great for dancing or playing peek-a-boo with little ones.
What should I bring for ages 3-5 years old?
- Trucks, cars, or trains. Preschool age children love playing pretend with vehicles.
- A few games are a great option as well. Candyland, Zingo, Go Fish, Picky Kitty or Matching are all great options for Preschool age children.
- Coloring or simple crafts can help children at this age. Bring coloring books or printable pages from online with crayons. Markers will work as well but they can be messy especially on their hands or clothes. Simple crafts with glue sticks, coloring, or stickers. Here is a website for ideas: https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/preschool-crafts-quick-easy-crafts-for-kids-toddlers/
- Puzzles are a great way to pass time. At this age don’t bring puzzles with too many pieces or they may feel frustrated.
- Water books are a mess free coloring book for children. This is a wonderful way to ensure the child isn’t too messy in the hotel room with coloring.
What should I bring for ages 6-8 years old?
- For older children, board games are a great way to entertain them. Guess Who, Headbands, Uno, Twister, or Sorry.
- Soccer is another way to get children this age outside and moving. Hotels and vacation rentals have large lawns to run around at.
- Fun books such as Where is Waldo, Mazes, Mad Libs or funny Fill-in books.
- Rock painting. If you can venture outside and find a rock to paint or you can bring a bag of rocks and paint with the children.
- Lego sets are a great way to work on a project together.
What should I bring for ages 9 years and up?
- Board games such as monopoly, scrabble, jenga, or UNO.
- Puzzles with 250-500 pieces. Great way to spend a few hours.
- Bracelet making is another option. Could do friendship ones with strings or with tiny beads.
- Drawing or watercolor painting is another option when you are in a small hotel room and want to get creative.
- Go outside and play soccer or catch a football. This will help get some energy out too.
Free Ideas to do while nannying:
- Build a fort
- Play the Floor is Lava
- Scavenger Hunt. Bring a list for indoor or outdoor.
- Hide N Seek
- Make in obstacle course
- Rock, paper, scissor
- I Spy
- Red Light, Green Light