10 Affordable Things To Do With Nanny Kids

Nannying. The ideal summer job for high school and college students but lets face it, two weeks in, you’ve already played all the board games in their house and gone to every park within a 3 mile radius. After nannying for over 2 years, I have had to become very creative with activities and places to go. I have compiled a list of 10 things to do or places to go that my nanny kids really enjoy! Hope this helps you and your young ones have an exciting summer!IMG_0482


  1. Humane Society

Going to the humane society was one of my favorite things to do when I was younger and my nanny kids have found the same love for it that I have. The closest humane society to us is about 20 minutes away but it’s always worth it. The kids love getting to play with the cats and dogs and see if there are any other special animals looking to be adopted such as chinchillas and birds. If you’re older than 16 you can ask to take a dog or cat into a private room to play with them. Something fun we’ll do is visit the humane society website before we go to see what animals are there, that way when we arrive we can look for certain animals we saw online! Although it can be kind of a sad place to go, my nanny kids are always overjoyed when there is a sign on a cage that says “Hooray! I’m on hold for adoption”. This is such an entertaining and fun place to go and it’s free!


2. Dog Park

For this activity it is necessary to have a dog with you, either their dog or if you have a dog you could take yours as well. There are several off leash dog parks in Minnesota, some do require a license for the dog but it is very easy to obtain and definitely worth it when you see how much fun the dog and kids will have. There are also free dog parks that don’t require a license so just look into that before going! It’s a big open space that the dog and the kids can run around in, and they can interact with other dogs that are there. Bring a ball if your dog likes to play fetch because that’s always fun to get the kids involved in the experience! Don’t forget a doggy bag!

3. Scavenger Hunt

This is an activity I tried with my nanny kids last week and they absolutely loved it, I think i’ll have to make up another one again soon. Scavenger hunts are always a fan favorite and if you offer a reward, the kids will get even more into it. The scavenger hunt we decided to do was a photo scavenger hunt which meant we had to find what was on the list and take a picture of the kids in front of it, when we found all of the things the reward was an ICEE (life hack: get it from SuperAmerica, it’s only 79 cents)! The options for scavenger hunts are endless and are super easy to make up or find online! Here are some examples of what was on our list: white picket fence, American flag, cool mailbox, road work ahead sign, a bridge, colorful flowers, a school, and a yellow car. The list can be as long or as short as you want and could be made easier or more difficult depending on the age of the kids. The kids I did it with are 9, 10 and 12 and they had a lot of fun remembering where they have seen things and coming up with places to go!


4. The Zoo

A classic but always a good time. The zoo is also a fan favorite and could be combined with a scavenger hunt for some extra fun. Almost every kid I’ve ever met likes animals and kids love getting to see their favorite ones. Minnesota has both the Como Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo. The Como Zoo is free with a recommended donation of about $3 a person and the Minnesota Zoo is 12-18$ depending on the age. Both zoos have a lot to offer but I prefer the Como Zoo mainly based on price! Helpful tip, eat lunch before and pack snacks and water because I guarantee the kids will want to get ice cream or cotton candy there and it’s definitely not worth $4 to buy a bottle of water!


5. Colored Smoke Bombs and Pop-its

A favorite of mine and my nanny kids over the past 2 years has been smoke bombs and pop-its. I buy these at Target but I’m sure you can get them at Walmart or Costco and places like that. These items are incredibly affordable, smoke bombs are $2 for 8 and pop-its are $1 a box for a TON of pop-its. Both items you can’t purchase unless you are 18 but are very easy to use if you are 16 or older. The smoke bombs require a lighter so I would recommend that the nanny do this rather than the kids. They are super easy to ignite and they let off insanely pigmented smokes that don’t stain clothes or the driveway! Pop-its’ are just fun little things that make a cool sound when you throw them against the ground! Make sure the kids pick up the little papers left behind from the pop-its or you’ll find them on the driveway for months!


6. Make Something They Like

Something my nanny kids LOVE is soda, so something we did last summer was make our own “Sprite”. I went online and found a super simple recipe linked here. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/258455/imitation-sprite/. The kids had so much fun pouring in the ingredients and then getting to drink it after! It was a fun and healthier way for them to enjoy one of their favorite refreshing drinks!

7. Mini Road Trip

If you’re like me and are with your nanny kids for a large chunk of the day, it can be very beneficial to find something to do that takes up a few hours. Something we did last year was plan a little trip at the end of June that the kids could look forward to. We decided to go to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. This is about a 45 minute drive but the kids brought pillows and actually ended up sleeping the whole way there (this is also a time and place to pack snacks and water). The kids were so excited, because who doesn’t get excited about candy? Not only did we have a fun drive there and back but our time at the candy store was a blast! It can be very big and overwhelming but your destination for your road trip could be adjusted depending on timing or what the kids want to do! Again, this was such a fun experience for both me and the kids! Just make sure you have an appropriate playlist ready to go:)


8. The Library

A very simple place to go that can sometimes be a struggle to get kids to want to go to it the library.  I have noticed that once we are there they always have fun. My rule is that the kids have to pick at least one book that is their reading level and then they can also pick an easier and more fun book to read. Going to the library is really fun, and I usually get a book as well, which makes it fun for me too! Almost everyday we have 30 minutes of “quiet time” where they can either sit in their room and read or listen to music they just have to chill for about 30 minutes. Since we go to the library a couple times a month, they always have a book to read during that time and i’ve found that depending on the book they pick, there are times when they extend their 30 minutes without being prompted, just to read more!


9. Dollar Movies

A perfect idea for a rainy day or just if you have a break during a busy week of camps and sports is to go to a cheap movie theater or set up a “movie theater” at the house! A movie theater in MN I highly recommend is the Hopkins Mann Theater. Tickets are $2.50 a piece, a price you can’t beat! They show movies that have been in theaters for awhile or are recently out of theaters which is why the prices are $10 cheaper than most theaters! This is a super fun activity especially if they’re playing a movie the kids really want to see! You can enjoy a movie and have a movie theater experience without breaking the bank! Another option is to pop some popcorn and just throw on a movie at home! This is an even more affordable option and can be more fun since you usually have more movie options to choose from!

10. Chutes and Ladders

One of my favorite places to go as a kid was a HUGE outdoor playground in Bloomington called Chutes and Ladders. This park is filled with slides, things to climb, rope courses and even a water element. It’s free to go to and provides hours of endless fun for the kids. We usually pack a picnic lunch so when the kids need a little break, we refuel and then they’re back to playing ASAP! There are concessions there so something we usually do is get an ice cream treat on our way out if it’s a hot day!


I hope this gives you some ideas on some fun and different things to do with your nanny kids! If there are any activities you’ve found your kids like, please comment them! I am always looking for new things to do:)

Thanks for reading!

-Etta Grace