The great thing about babies is that they’re easily entertained, which is especially helpful when you’re trying to build a connection between your tot and their older sibling. Babes are obsessed with everything their siblings do, and bigs take great pleasure in making their babies laugh, or showing off their “reading” skills with their favorite nursery rhymes. So before your tot becomes a toddler and turns your big kid’s world upside down, your baby can start bonding with their older sibling by playing sweet and silly games together. These budding connections will only grow as your kiddos get bigger. From classics like peekaboo to anything-goes dance parties, here are our favorite sibling activities for big kids and babies.

1. Peekaboo

This old favorite is a classic for a reason! Peekaboo is an easy, surefire way for an older sibling to put a smile on baby’s face. To add an extra twist to the game, get out a lightweight blanket that your older kid can drape over their head, and then let your little one take off the blanket. Big kids can also play peekaboo with favorite stuffies, hiding them behind their backs before the big reveal. Ta-da!

2. Making the Band

Kids of all ages love to rock out. Gather up musical instrumentsxylophones, rattles, even ukuleles for the big kidsand encourage your kids to make beautiful music together. If you don’t have instruments, break out the pots and pans and wooden spoons. If your budding musicians want to make their own instruments, dig into the recycling bin: Make a drum out of an oatmeal canister or a shaker by putting beans in a toilet paper tube and taping over each end. You can find more baby Mozart-worthy DIY instrument ideas here.

3. To the Races

Encourage mobile kids to get out their wiggles and race each other across the living room. To even things out, big kids can do a crab walk or walk backwards while little ones crawl or scoot. Ready, set, go!

photo: Edward Cisneros via Unsplash

4. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Babies adore seeing facesespecially when they belong to beloved older siblings. Big kids can pretend to be mirrors and mimic their little siblings’ expressions, or make an exaggerated face and see if their baby sibling can do the same. The eye contact siblings make when they’re playing a mirror game helps to strengthen their bond as future besties.

5. Echo

The imitation game can also be played with sounds: Have the older sibling mimic the coos and noises their little sibling makes. For a twist, your big kid can even extend those oohs and aahs into words. This back-and-forth is how babies learn to talk and take turns in conversations, so by playing this game your older sibling is creating the building blocks for your baby’s future babbling!

6. Patty Cake

Rhymes, hand-clapping games, and finger-play classics are always a sibling playtime hit. Your older child can teach their little new tricks with patty cake, or throw other preschool favorites, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider or Five Little Monkeys, into the mix.

7. Story Time

Long before kids can read, they memorize their favorite picture books. Older siblings feel oh-so-grown-up when they “read” these books to baby siblings. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t know all the words yet; just reciting the beginning, middle, and end of the story will entertain their younger sibling. To make the story time a little extra special, add puppets, like these from the Etsy shop Frankly Fun Felt ($18).

8. Made You Laugh

Is there anything better than baby giggles? Challenge big brothers and sisters to make the baby laugh without touching them. They can try funny faces, silly dances, pretending to be an elephant, putting their shoes on their head…. Anything goes!

photo: Jens Johnsson via Unsplash

9. Keep It Rolling

Rolling a ball back and forth is an easy introduction to taking turns, and kids can play this game together almost as soon as little ones are sitting up on their own. Easy-to-grab balls like this one from Oball ($5) help baby play the game. Big and little siblings can also roll cars or trains back and forth. Pro tip: Rolling two similar toys back and forth at once makes taking turns a little easier because each kiddo will have a toy to hold onto at all times.

10. Dance Party

Put on your favorite tunes, pull out some gauzy scarves, and get a dance party started. To make it extra special, just add bubbles. Give your baby a rattle if they aren’t quite big enough for a full-body boogie. We guarantee it’ll give you a few minutes of peaceand you might be inspired to join in the fun.

Make sure to capture all those sweet bonding moments—and share them with your family and friends near and far—with the Tinybeans app. The secure platform puts parents in total control of who sees and interacts with photos and videos of their kids.

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