I have been lucky enough to have a wonderful Jr.High student come over a few hours a week during the summer as a mother's helper. I am home while she is here but hiding in my room working out, writing or just going to the bathroom in peace! However she is still young so I lay out easy activities for her to choose from so if she gets in a rut the tv doesn't automatically get flicked on.
1. Easy Arts & Crafts - I pre cut sticky back foam, get out paper, markers and bring the scrap paper bin out too. This minimizes the mess you have to come home to.
2. A few "new" books - maybe from the library, or books that your kids haven't read in a while. The novelty of a new book helps reluctant readers get a little extra excited about sitting down to read.
3. Basic games. My kids and sitter love to play sight word egg hunt. Old Easter eggs are filled with sight words and when they are found the child needs to read the word . My daughter plays too without the words.
4. Simple No Bake Cooking projects. Making things like trail mix is a great way to promote healthy eating and cooking without any safety concerns.
5. Dress up . - include some fun items for the baby sitter too! Leaving out old costume jewelry, shoes and hats are a great way to promote play between your babysitter and your child.