I wouldn't recommend mercilessly pranking a brand new babysitter, or they might never come back! But if you've had a babysitter for a long time and you think they have the right sense of humor, some funny pranks might make the day for you, your kids, and even them!
In this article, you'll learn more than 30 (mostly) harmless pranks that you and your kids can pull on your babysitter. A couple of them will cause a mess or might seem mean, so make sure your babysitter can take a joke before attempting some of these!
Be aware that pulling a prank on your babysitter means you're probably going to get one in return. So make sure you can handle the consequences!
1. Soap Without The Bubbles
Coat a bar of soap with some clear nail polish. When your victim goes to use your soap, they'll be really confused when they rub and rub but don't get a single bubble off of it.
Just make sure you have a spare bar of soap to give them afterward.
2. The Case of The Shrinking Shoes
Take some fabric, cotton balls, or other similar material and stuff it into the ends of your babysitter's shoes. When they go to leave, their shoes won't fit like when they arrived! They might think their shoes have shrunk, or they grew.
For extra fun, do this only in one shoe. It works best if you have a densely-packed material that feels like part of their actual shoe. Otherwise, they'll probably just reach inside and try to pull out whatever is in there right away.
3. Limited TV Access
If you've got a babysitter who might watch a bit more TV than they should, you can use it against them in the form of a prank!
Set the parental controls on your TV so that the only channels available are kids channels that have shows for preschoolers. Your kids might love it, but your babysitter not so much!
Just make sure not to forget the password or you might be stuck watching kids shows forever.
A second way to use your TV to prank your babysitter is to make them think that the house is haunted. Some TVs have a timer setting where you can make the TV turn on and off at unexpected times. Cue the TV up to turn on and off at random times. At first, they'll be confused, but after a while, they might even start to get scared. At that point, it's probably time to have your kids tell them it's just a prank.
4. Flavorless Drink
If you usually have juice or Kool-Aid in the house, your babysitter will be expecting a nice refreshing flavor when they pour themselves a glass.
Instead, take plain old water and add a few drops of food coloring to it so it looks like the real thing.
To get a reaction right away, bring a glass to your babysitter. But that might be suspicious.
It's better to put your colored water in a regular-looking bottle in the fridge and wait for them to get a glass of juice for themselves. Then watch the reaction on their face when they take a big gulp and don't get any of the satisfying flavor they expected!
5. Language Swap
If your whole family speaks a different language, suddenly change to speaking in that language one day. To each other, and also to the babysitter. This works best if they've known you for a while and only ever seen you speak English so they won't suspect it.
6. Plastic Wrap The Toilet
This one is a bit less harmless because it might cause a bit of a mess. But you can place some bubble wrap or plastic wrap along the seat of your toilet and lower the seat onto it.
When your babysitter goes to use the toilet, they'll be in for a surprise!
7. Stop Snooping
If you think your babysitter will be snooping around the medicine cabinet in your bathroom or anywhere else that you don't want them to go, you can create a trap for them. Fill the shelves with confetti or packing peanuts that will spill out when they look somewhere they aren't supposed to.
You get the satisfaction of a great prank, and your babysitter will also learn to mind their own business!
You can also put fake medicine bottles for a very contagious condition if you want a more subtle trick.
8. Fake Messes
You can put clear tape on the wall and then draw and write on them with paint or markers. Your babysitter will freak out when they think your kids have drawn on the wall!
Some joke shops sell props like fake nail polish and other items You can put these on a carpet to make fake damage and see your babysitter's reaction. Just be sure to follow the directions carefully so you don't create a real mess!
9. Change The Clocks
Before your babysitter arrives, either set all the clocks in the house forward or back a few hours.
If you move the clocks ahead, your babysitter would feel like time flew super fast, but also might worry why you're late getting home.
If you move the clocks earlier, your kids might be able to trick them into staying up past their usual bedtime. So that's only recommended on Friday nights or weekends.
This prank might not work so well if your babysitter has their own watch or a cell phone with the real time displayed on it.
10. Fake Lottery Win
Record the winning lottery numbers being announced on the news. Then buy a ticket using those numbers next week and set it down on the coffee table. Ask the babysitter to watch and see if you win.
Your kids can watch the shock and excitement on their face as all of the numbers come up one after each other. See how long it takes them to see the date on the ticket!
11. Plastic Creepy Crawlies
Get some plastic toy snakes, rats, ants, and other creepy crawlies and put them in random places around the house. Your kids will know the babysitter has found one when they hear a shriek!
12. Computer Malfunction
If your babysitter uses your PC or laptop, you can flip the screen upside down to really confuse them! In Windows, right click on your desktop and change the screen orientation to "landscape (flipped)." Everything will be upside down, and the mouse will move the opposite way as normal.
This can be really confusing and your babysitter might not be able to fix it, so it's not a great idea to do this if they're working on a homework assignment due the next day!
13. Colorful Food
Put a couple drops of food coloring on the bottom of one of your bowls and let it dry. Ideally, pick the same color of the bowl so it blends in. So if your bowls are blue, use a similar color of blue dye.
When your babysitter goes to make any kind of food in the bowl, like cereal and milk or soup, their food will turn a surprising blue color. It will still be perfectly edible and not affect the taste though.
If your milk comes in cartons instead of see-through jugs, you can also just add a few drops of food coloring straight into the milk carton. Your babysitter will get a surprise when they go to make their cereal or add it to their tea or coffee.
14. Fake Mayonaise
Take an empty jar of mayo and re-fill it with yogurt or vanilla pudding. Tell your kids to take the jar out and start eating pudding straight out of the jar with spoons partway through the night. The babysitter will be disgusted!
15. Mobile Phone Pranks
If you or your kids can get ahold of the babysitter's cell phone and it doesn't have a password, change the background on their phone to a picture of the kids or something else random. Or change their ringtone to something funny.
16. Where Do Babies Come From?
If you want to create a really embarrassing moment for your babysitter, get your youngest child to ask them where babies come from.
17. Salt Shaker Prank
Loosen the top of the salt shaker. When your babysitter goes to use it, the top will fall off and way more salt will fall into their food than they planned. You can also do this with pepper. Although this prank is a bit mean and might ruin their food.
18. Black Eye
Get a telescope, pair of binoculars, or a kaleidoscope and put some washable black marker or paint around the edge of the viewfinder. When your babysitter puts it up to their eye, they'll get a big black ring around their eye. The kids will probably be laughing at them, but they won't know what's going on until they finally think to look in a mirror.
19. Block The Spout on Bottles
Take a bottle of ketchup, hand soap, or something your babysitter will likely use. Unscrew the cap and place a piece of clear plastic wrap over the opening, then close it back up. Cut off any excess plastic wrap from the outside so it doesn't give the prank away.
Your babysitter will squeeze the ketchup or pump the soap as hard as they can, but nothing will come out!
20. TV Sensor Trick
Get a small piece of black electrical tape and cover up the sensor on your TV remote, or the sensor on the TV itself. Your babysitter will try the remote but it won't work. They might even try to change the batteries, only to find it still doesn't work!
21. Fake Cookies
You can make pretty realistic looking cookies that don't taste like cookies are supposed to! Mash up a potato to make the "batter", then add canned black beans that will look like chocolate chips once they're cooked. Make them into cookie-sized balls and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Offer your babysitter a cookie and watch their reaction when it tastes like mashed potatoes and beans!
22. Fly Eater
This one can be really convincing if you actually have a fly buzzing around in your house. Put a raisin inside of a paper towel and hold it in your hand. Then pretend to swat a real or imaginary fly, making sure that your babysitter is watching. Then bend down and pretend to pick up the fly with your napkin. Turn around and eat the raisin in front of your babysitter. They'll feel sick to their stomach thinking that you've eaten a real fly.
23. Another Hand Soap Prank
Earlier I mentioned a prank where you put plastic wrap in your hand soap dispenser to stop it from working. But there's something even more evil you can do.
Replace all of the liquid soap in your soap dispenser with some sticky corn syrup that you've dyed to be the same color as your usual soap. Your babysitter will think they're pumping soap into their hands, but really it will be a sugary sticky mess.
24. Googly Eyes Everywhere
Googly eyes are always funny. Stick some on random objects where a babysitter won't expect to see them, and they might be taken aback a bit. Add googly eyes to items in drawers, or even better, onto eggs and vegetables in the fridge where they'll be really unexpected.
25. Jelly Drinks
Pour gelatin into a bottle or carton of juice, milk, or soda so it solidifies and your babysitter won't be able to pour it. They'll be really confused why the container feels full but nothing is coming out.
Cut out a bunch of brown pieces of paper in the shape of the letter E. Then put them on a baking tray and cover them with aluminum foil.
Get your kids to say they baked brownies and ask if your babysitter would like one.
They'll be confused at first, and after a few seconds, they'll understand the joke... Brown Es!
27. Slippery Sanitizer
Take an empty bottle of hand sanitizer and fill it with petroleum jelly or some other kind of slippery oil. Your babysitter will think they're cleaning off their hands, but they're about to get really slippery!
28. Trapped Bug
Put a cup upside down with a note on it like "there's a bee under this cup, please don't move or it will sting you!" It's best if the cup is somewhere really inconvenient that your babysitter can't avoid, like right in the middle of the coffee table.
29. Greasy Handles
Take some olive oil, peanut butter, or other greasy substance and put it on your cupboard handles, doorknobs, etc. Your babysitter will get goop all over their hands when they go to open a cupboard or door. If you really oil them up, they might even be too slippery to open.
30. Rock Boss
Put a big rock somewhere that your babysitter will see it. The larger it is the better, but make sure it's not too big that they won't be able to lift it.
Write the words "turn me over" on the rock. Then underneath, stick a note that says "you just took orders from a rock."
31. Healthy Snacks
Open a bag of junk food type snacks and fill them with healthy snacks instead. This works really good if you have two foods that look similar, like replacing Cheetos with baby carrots.
Seal the package back up with glue to make it an even bigger surprise.
32. Oreo Swap
Does your babysitter love Oreos? Prank them by replacing just one or two Oreos in the package with something nasty. Take the cream out of your Oreos and replace it with toothpaste instead. You'll probably need to put them in the refrigerator for a bit to let the toothpaste set to a more solid consistency.
Make sure to put your trick Oreo near the beginning of the pack where they'll most likely pick from, and get ready for their disgusted reaction!
33. Frozen Cereal
If your babysitter is staying overnight, prepare a bowl of their favorite cereal the night before and put it in the freezer, including the milk. Before you serve their cereal in the morning, add a little extra milk and pieces of cereal on top to hide your frozen treat. Then watch their spoon bounce right off when they go to scoop some up!
34. Bubble Wrap Rug
Take a large piece of bubble wrap and hide it under a rug where your babysitter is likely to walk. They'll be greeted by loud crackling and popping noises when they step on the rug.
35. Prank Call Your Sitter
If your kids have their own phone, they can call the landline to prank your babysitter.
They might call and say something like "Hello, I think your dog is in my garden." When the babysitter explains that your family doesn't have a dog, your kids can say "I don't have a garden either" and then hang up and laugh.
36. Giant Bug Prank
Take a sheet of paper and cut it into the shape of a huge beetle or spider. Make it as realistic as possible, and then hide it underneath a lampshade in your house. Your babysitter will be terrified when they turn on the lamp and see the silhouette of a huge bug on the ceiling.
37. Unwanted Visitor
Print out a picture of an actor or cartoon character that your babysitter will recognize. The larger it is, the better the effect will be.
Paste this cutout onto the outside of a window on your house. Then find an excuse for you or your kids to ask a babysitter to go open the curtains at some point. For example, if it's starting to rain you might call and ask your babysitter to make sure all the windows are closed. When they go to open the curtains, they'll be startled when they find themselves face-to-face with your cutout character!
What to give a babysitter for Christmas
Do You Provide Dinner for Your Babysitter?
(Try These 8 Easy Food Ideas)
Is It Legal to Record a Babysitter?
(What the Law Says)
6 Things To Keep In Mind When Looking for a Babysitter
Find a Sitter
The Perfect Gift For Your Babysitter
My book, Babysitting Business Secrets, is out now as an inexpensive ebook or full-color paperback. If your babysitter is serious about becoming the best sitter they can be, then this book is perfect for them. I reveal all my tricks and tips for first-time babysitters or experienced sitters who just want to up their game. Get your copy today!
- Matthew Taylor, Kidsit Founder