Games and activities help children learn cooperation and encourage sibling bonding, according to Lisa Hanson and Heather Kempskie, authors of “The Siblings’ Busy Book.” Board games, according to “Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine,” encourage communication, sharing, taking turns and focus. It also allows the kids to have fun together, which encourages them to participate in the activities.
Babies and Toddlers
Bringing home a baby can incite jealousy, so games with young kids are helpful for siblings to build a connection. Young siblings know games such as pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo and can make funny faces with the new baby or toddler. Siblings can also bring diapers and other baby supplies to help care for the small child, encouraging them to take some responsibility for the welfare of the little one.
Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Board games, matching and sorting games, and simple games such as hot potato, red light, green light, musical chairs and Simon says allow siblings ages 3 and older to play together and build a relationship. An older sibling facilitates the game by reading rules and instruction cards for younger siblings. You can help arrange the siblings into equally matched teams for scavenger hunts, junior Olympics or blanket toss, where the kids keep a ball in the air by bouncing the ball on a towel or blanket. The siblings could complete crafts together, play in the park and share meals.
Elementary-age kids meeting a new step-, adopted or foster sibling could read together and act out the story or illustrate it to put on a show for the family. The siblings can play board or computer games together or form a team to challenge others to a game of neighborhood basketball or hide and seek. They might enjoy putting a complex puzzle together or building a town with snap-together blocks and various items for cars and people. A trip, vacation or visit to an amusement park provides an evening of fun to the siblings.
Tweens and Teens
Older kids also gain siblings though marriage, adoption or fostering. They could play computer or role-playing games, strategy or trivia games. Older siblings might help care for younger new siblings while the parents go out, preparing a meal for the siblings, and organizing activities such as a movie night or dancing together to favorite music.
- The Siblings’ Busy Book; Lisa Hanson and Heather Kempskie
- Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine: The Benefits of Board Games
- HelpGuide.org: Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning
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