As I learned from reading the Baby Sitters Club as a child, having a bag is VERY important. Like, life changing important. As a crafty nanny, its even more important to have things on hand to create an activity at a moments notice. It has become so (need a word for this) that a lot of my kiddos call it my “Mary Poppins” bag, and since I’m still convinced that Mary is a time lord, I take it as the highest compliment.
But really folks. Who here that babysits or nanny’s doesn’t try to roll up like Mary Poppins and just blow everyones minds? If only it were as easy and practically perfect as she makes it look. I mean… I want to jump into a chalk painting and hang out with my chimney sweep best friend while I’m playing with someone else’s kids…. moving on.
Now, that being said, these are the craft staples of my nanny and babysitting bag. I buy most, if not all of these things at the dollar tree to cut down on costs. Other things change out from day to day and week to week, depending on what I’ve got going on. These items stay in there though because they’re great for a quick activity in any combination!
Want to survive the summer? Check out the Summer Survival Babysitting Bag too!
UPDATE: I’ve just added this adorable DIY Emoji Pillow Busy Bag to my babysitter bag staples!
First, get yourself a big bag. I like to use an Ikea bag so I don’t get upset if anything spills and its cheap.
1. First Aid Kit -Not necessarily crafty, but a must have. Most homes I babysit in have all the items needed for first aid, but I’d rather have things on hand instead of having to search for it. You can get one here for about $10 and its great for everywhere. I particularly like the tin case. Makes me feel better about it banging around in my nanny or babysitting bag.
2. Pony Beads – I get these at 400/$1 at the dollar tree or you can get a pound of them for $6 on amazon if you want to buy in bulk. They’re great for busy activities like pipe cleaner bracelets, wind chimes, and bead animals (for older kids)
3. Craft Pom Poms – I never saw the greatness of these until I started nannying and now I adore them! Puffballs are amazing for craft projects, color sorting and creating all sorts of busy activities. I get mine from the Dollar Tree as I need them, but if you want to buy in bulk, you can get a half pound for about $10 on amazon
4. Pipe Cleaners – I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve sat a nanny kid down with some pipe cleaners and beads, or buttons, or anything really and told them to go at it. I love them for toddlers because they make it easier for them to string the beads, which helps with fine motor skills. You can get a craft pack from Amazon that has Pipe Cleaners, Pom Poms, and googly eyes for $9 and is a great starter kit.
5. Coloring Books or Printables/Crayons/Cheap Markers – Pretty sure this goes without saying, but coloring is one of my favorite activities. I tend to keep a few different kinds in there as well as one for myself (because I want to color too okay!) I love encouraging children to use their imaginations and using pages as learning and conversation tools.
6. Clothes Pins – Yep. Clothes pins. They’re super useful in hanging items up to dry, creating crafts with other items (coffee filter butterflies), and pretending they’re baby birds eating puff balls.
7. Stickers. Lots of stickers – I get these for $1/pack at the dollar tree, michaels, or even the dollar section at target. I try to keep things seasonal, but if I know a child is really into a character, I’ll try to have some of those too. Also, just because I’m excited to share this… I bought some Lisa Frank stickers from Amazon. My inner 90’s child was screaming with delight.
8. Paper Plates – I don’t go anywhere without these. Seriously. I use them to feed kids on (because I hate dishes), as work and craft surfaces, as bead holders, paint pallets, paper crowns, or as the crafts themselves. Paper plates… never leave home without them.
9. Washable Glue – Most families have this on hand, but since I’ve been known to use crafts with a lot of glue (especially letting a child squirt their own) I keep my own on hand. To be honest, I don’t ever want to be without it or tell a parent that they’re out of it if they use the glue themselves. I’m sure its strange, but whatever. Get the cheapy stuff from the dollar tree, unless you plan on making Gak, in which case, its Elmers all the way!
10. Construction Paper – I get this stuff on the cheap or in bulk and use it often. Really, the possibilities are endless from water painting, chalk drawing, straight up coloring, torn paper mosaics, shapes, etc.
Do you have a babysitter bag? What are your (craft) staples?