Having children at different age groups can be extremely challenging as they fight over your attention. In an ideal world we would have 2 adults per each child but the reality is you at home on your own, with a screaming toddler and baby sick all down your top.
However all is not lost, we've come up with some fun ideas for all age groups so that your children can have fun playing together. Most of these activities are for babies older than 6 months but they are also good ideas for older children when younger babies are napping.
Funny Face Songs
Children love making funny faces and wiggling those bodies so why not use this to your advantage to keep your baby entertained. Watching their older sibling moving about will help encourage their own movements and practising facial expressions with them will help them make new sounds. Your older child will be proud as punch when their little brother or sister burst out laughing at them, so its a great tool to help encourage bonding as well.
I've uploaded a video of me singing one of my daughters favourite funny face songs and it's an easy one to teach toddlers as it doesn't have too many actions.
<video will be uploaded soon - sorry it's not here yet>
There are also lots of other videos on YouTube for inspiration and I've picked 3 of my favourites...Yes they are not everyone's cup of tea but kids love that stuff so give them a go and if they are not for you, why not go back to traditional nursery rhymes with actions, such as incy wincy spider or row row row the boat.
Mother Goose Club - Peek a Boo Song
This is quite a peaceful song so good for when you want to calm everyone down or if you are out on a trip somewhere.
Julia Donaldson - Funny Face
Written and performed by the author of The Gruffalo, this is a catchy wee song with lots of brilliant facial expressions
Patty Shukla - Wiggle It
This is by far the most cringey of them all but it is a great one for learning body parts and getting a good exercise in at the same time.
Playing Parachutes can work in both a small or large group so if you have friends round with their children as well, then its a game you can all play together.
The idea for this came from when my mum used to organise children's party games at a local community centre. She used to have a massive fabric parachute that all the children would hold round the edges and wiggle, whilst taking turns at running underneath. Seems a bit excessive for your living room but you can create a simpler version at home using a blanket. Foil blankets work really well as they are shiny and make noises when moved. You could get even more adventurous by adding balloons or dangling toys from the blanket (please take care when using items that aren't made for babies as they could be choking hazards).
Then instead of children running under the parachute, you can lie your baby down on cushions or a mat, whilst you and the older children gently shake the blanket over them. If you have more than one adult, then the older children can take turns at lying under the blanket as well.
Kids love getting messy so things like painting are a brilliant way to spend a rainy day. Earlier this year, I discovered a great way to involve babies in this process too so your children can become artists together.
Can Do Kiddo has a great tutorial to help your baby enjoy the fun of painting, without getting a drop of paint on them. and you can do it up at the table with the big kids. Just put dots of paint on a bit of card and then place it inside a ziplock bag, before using masking tape to secure it to the surface. Your baby can play away hitting, rubbing and poking at those paint splodges, without any of it going on their hands or in their mouth! I even found these great canvas boards on Amazon that fit perfectly inside a ziplock bag and look great in a frame.
I loved building forts and dens when I was child. My mum used to help my brothers and I throw sheets over chairs, peg blankets to washing lines and prop our bed covers up with piles of books. There was nothing more exciting than us all piling in and eating our favourite snacks or reading a book by torch light. You can also use this a fun way for you and your toddler to build a snuggley place for a baby to curl up next to you all.
Whilst your baby is taking a nap, give your other child the special task of making the den with a comfy spot for them and the baby. Once baby wakes, you can all curl up together inside and spend the afternoon telling stories and singing songs. If you are looking for an extra safe place to put them in, then I think these baby bean bags from Bean Bag Planet are a great idea as you can strap them in and they transform as your child grows as well.
Picture Credit: Early Years
Looking for more ideas?
Here are some bloggers who have more to say on the subject:
Have you seen our "Love Me" T-Shirt Collection?
Our Love Me T-shirts are made for babies but can be coloured in by their big brother or sister. They are a great tool to help parents explain to their child that a new baby is on the way or something to keep an older sibling busy whilst your baby is sleeping. Not only is it a fun way to fill the time but it will also fill them with pride to see the baby wearing something they helped create. We have designed this baby grow so that anyone in the family can colour it in and personalise from themselves, so it's a great idea for baby showers
So what are you waiting for...pop on over to our shop and take a peek.