Big Kids, Little Kids, and Babies Too

Eliza Clark
January 29, 2009

As parents, we get a big kick out of coming up with activities, books and toys that are perfectly suited to our child's age and precise moment of development. Ideas that can help us build their confidence, but also stretch their minds and give them that "aha!" feeling of having grasped something new. Our Savvy Source developmental quiz is designed to give parents precisely those kinds of recommendations. And what an amazing resource it is!

But another thing that makes us just as happy is to find activities that can harmoniously bring together children of different ages and abilities. Because, the truth is, with younger siblings coming along and neighbor kids dropping by and other playmates about, we're more often than not negotiating play amongst children of wildly different skills and inclinations. These interactions can be fraught (the eighteen-month-old knocking over the four-year-old's block towers is predictably rage-inspiring) but also rich with learning and fun on both sides.

To bring out the joy of these playtimes, we suggest a few simple activities that big kids, little kids and babies all adore:

A play-dough party is a sure winner with all the kids in the house. Just set out a fresh batch of homemade play-dough (or a new case of trusty play-doh) on the kitchen table, and plenty of molds and implements for shaping and pounding -- everyone will be thrilled and fully occupied.

If you can handle the mess, finger painting and hand print art are other all-around favorites for toddlers as well as "big kids." Or for a real crowd-pleaser, try finger painting with pudding!

Sidewalk painting and chalk drawing are also great fun for wee scribblers all the way on up to young artists who can already sign their names.

Bubbles! What kid or baby doesn't love bubbles? The big kids can blow, the tots can chase -- everyone is delighted!

Lastly, there's nothing better than an impromptu dance party to make all ages (even the ancient parental types) happy. Put on some favorite tunes and try an animal freeze dance, marching in a mini-parade, clapping and drumming to the beat, and generally letting loose!

Tell us your ideas, clever moms and dads -- what have we missed here?

From the Parents

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