The Nanny Game
(New York Version)

Judy Applebaum
Bob Crosby
Al Fernandez
Jolie Kennedy


| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |

Instructional Objective

After completing a comprehensive nanny course, the learner will be able to give correct responses to a variety of questions relating to the following age groups: infant, toddler, preschooler and school age. The game will reinforce facts, concepts, procedures and principles for future nannies in order to prepare them for employment.

Learners & Context of Use

The game is designed to be played by prospective nannies. The game is supplemental material to a comprehensive childcare course and should be played more than once. It is versatile enough to be played in the classroom, at home, or any other place nannies might congregate. Nannies who have played this game after completing the comprehensive childcare course will feel confident and be sufficiently prepared to obtain gainful employment.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to collect three different nanny monies during each time track and be the first player to return to the nanny quarters at the end of the day.

Game Materials
  • Game board: A graphical representation of a clock that supports two to four players
  • Pieces: Pieces representing various nannies in film and television
  • Question cards (morning, midday, and evening): Questions covering four topics related to periods of childhood
  • Discussion cards: Questions that pertain to unpredictable events that elicit player discussion
    Reality check cards: Cards that present challenges at various stages in the game
  • Die: A single die
  • Spinner: A means of choosing questions based on the four topics
  • Fake money (bills) as prizes: Morning money, midday money, and evening money—each with icons representing each age category


Sample Game Piece

Sample Cards

Time Required

Setting up the game should take less five minutes. Game play should be completed in one session that lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. Naturally, time of play would depend upon the degree of knowledge of the course content.

The Rules
  • Place the cards face down on the game board.
  • Place the spinner in the center of the game board.
  • Put nanny money in their corresponding money holders.
  • Choose a nanny game piece.
  • Start at the nanny quarters.
  • Roll the die to see who goes first.


Playing the game:

  • Roll the die and move clockwise along the path of the outer circle.
  • Enter the morning track (inner circle) when you land on or past the hot pink gateway square. Place your nanny piece on blue, red, yellow or green.
  • Spin the spinner.
  • A different player reads the question from the morning card that corresponds with the type of question (age category) indicated by the spinner. If you answer correctly, you receive corresponding morning nanny money and you spin again. If your answer is incorrect, then it is the next players turn.
  • Play continues clockwise… Player #2 rolls the die and proceeds to the hot pink gateway square. Each player follows this same pattern.
  • After collecting three different nanny bills in the morning track (one from three out of the four age categories), roll the die on your next turn and exit the morning track.
  • Play continues clockwise on the outer circle path until you reach the orange midday gateway.
    Progress through the midday and evening tracks in the same manner as the morning track except players collect midday and evening money respectively—again, one bill from three of the four age categories.
  • After receiving three evening bills, roll the die and continue on the outer circle path until you reach the nanny quarters.

Winning the game:

Play ends when the first person returns to the nanny quarters.

But what about…

Reality check cards: When a player lands on an orange square on the outer circle path, he picks up a “Reality Check” card and follows the directions that are on the card.

Discussion cards: When a player lands on a purple square, he picks up a purple discussion card. The same player reads the card and all players discuss the topic on the card. Time limit for discussion is no more than three minutes.

Special instructions regarding gateways:You cannot pass a gateway. If you overshoot on a roll of the die, you may still enter the track.

Taking turns: When on the inside track, your turn is over when you:

1. answer incorrectly
2. receive a “lose a turn” Reality Check card
3. get “lose a turn” on the spinner

Variation (Speed Round): Eliminate outer track play. All players begin in the morning track and progress directly to the midday and evening tracks after correctly answering three out of the four age category questions in each track. As in the original rules, players collect nanny money for correct answers. The winner is the first player to collect three different nanny monies from each of the time tracks.

Design Process

Judy Applebaum and Jolie Kennedy conceived the game. Both have worked in nanny-type capacities in New York, and Judy currently employs one for the care of her child. It is a game dealing with real-world situations that are common nanny experiences. As a group, we decided to base the game on a nanny workday. The time covered would be from rising in the morning until retiring in the evening. The main areas of play would be Morning, Midday, and Evening. Our biggest difficulty was determining the look of the board and thus the flow of the game. We decided on a round board as a clock metaphor. Originally we designed a board that had three circles within a large circle. On that board, each of the small circles contained a separate spinner. We rethought that approach and decided that three circles with the same information inside would be redundant. Our modified board uses two concentric circles for the different areas of play.

We started out with five categories such as first aid and professionalism but felt that approach was complicated and frankly unrealistic. We then decided to use four stages of a child’s life as the categories. We used the experiences of Jolie and Judy and inspiration from the novel, The Nanny Diaries to form the foundation for the game. Additional material was taken from a manual that the Red Cross offers for babysitters, parenting books and magazines, and web sites related to children in New York City. Each member of the team discussed the idea of the game with family and friends seeking feedback. The game continued to evolve during subsequent team meetings.


Books & Journals

American Academy of Pediatrics. (1998). The complete and authoritative guide: Caring for your baby and young child. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

American Red Cross. (1998). Babysitter’s Handbook. Boston, MA: Staywell.

Balter, L. (1985) Dr. Balter’s child sense. New York: Poseidon Press.

Balter, L. (1989). Who’s in control? New York: Poseidon Press.

Brazelton, T. (1992). Touchpoints: The essential reference. Massachusetts: Perseus Books.

Kutner, L. (1994). Toddlers and preschoolers. New York: Avon Books.

Spock, B. & Parker, S. (1998). Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (7th ed.). New York: Pocket Books.



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Last updated October 14, 2002