From the time I was 13, I've loved babysitting. Being the oldest kid meant that I was pretty good at knowing how to take care of kids. Plus, it's a fun way to earn extra cash. I still like to take babysitting jobs in the evenings and on weekends when I can.
I was thinking about how I used to bring a bag of crafts, candy and other surprises for the kids. I also had some games that I rotated through to keep the kids occupied (and not just watching tv or getting into trouble). I've forgotten how much little boys love paper airplanes and little girls like beads. Here are some of the games I used to use:
Huckle Buckle Beanstalk
This one is my favorite. It's an active version of the 'quiet game' if you can believe it. This game is usually new to kids so they get really involved. It goes like this: one person is 'it' and they are in charge of hiding a quarter in the room while the rest of us go in another room. The quarter can be hidden anywhere that it is visible without moving things to see it. Once it is hidden, the rest of us go find the quarter and the person who finds the quarter has to say huckle buckle beanstalk when they find it. The kicker is that if you alert everyone else to where it is before you say huckle buckle beanstalk, someone else may beat you to it. So the kids are usually really quiet and concentrate on finding the quarter first.
Hide and Seek
This one is a given. But I usually have kids pick partners and and change up how long the 'seeker' counts. I also make sure to set some ground rules, such as off limit areas (i.e. Mom and Dad's bedroom).
Paper Airplane Races
I don't know a whole lot about real planes, but I can make a high flying paper one. I know fun tricks like taping pennies inside, folding the wings up at the tips, and using heavier paper.
I'm not sure where the name for these fun paper things came from, but I do know that most kids under 10 love writing messages inside (often silly things) and giggling when you pick the one they want. It's fun to decorate and write in them and take turns picking from each others'. Here's a link for folding instructions.
Just one balloon can make a fun game. You know, the one where you try and keep it from touching the floor? easy peasy, and it keeps the kids playing together and happy.
When I was little we used to play games like Mother May I? and Red light Green light too. Sometimes I pull out these games when kids don't know what they are. New things always seem to catch kids' interest.