When you have kids you can often feel like an entertainer and that role is heightened when you have different ages and attention spans to satisfy. The trick is finding something that is easy enough for the youngest to join in with but interesting enough to engage the older kids, and encourages them to play together.
Choose open-ended activities and be there to support the littlest ones, while making things a bit harder for older children. Here are some ideas to get children bonding and entertaining each other…
- Teach little ones something new – get older children to teach younger ones a new skill like tying up their shoelaces, doing a forward roll or learning the alphabet. Older children can also read a book to younger children
- Gardening – allocate children their own child friendly digging patch where they can go digging and even have their own herbs or vegetables to look after, and it might just stop them digging up (or pulling and picking at) your prized flowers and plants. They will want to copy you so get them their own mini gardening set and get them to have a sunflower growing competition
- Garden fun – outdoor toys like play houses, skipping ropes, trampolines and ball games can be enjoyed by all ages and gets them outdoors in the fresh air
- Cooking – get them to join in when you are making dinner, holding and measuring different ingredients. Get them to do the stirring and some tasting as you go! Baking is a delicious way to have fun together and the anticipation and hunger will mount as they watch the treats bake and count down the minutes until they can taste it!
- Toys that engage rather than entertain – give them a train set, animal figures or some dressing up kits so they can engage in role play and have fun together
- Bubbles – all ages love playing with bubble, so see how many they can catch and how big they can make the bubbles
- Swimming - take them swimming and let them burn off some energy. Get some dive accessories for older children to find and have fun in the water together. Alternatively take them for a walk on a rainy day, put on their waterproofs and wellies and go for a splash in some puddles
- Singing – children love to sing so get them doing this together or just get the younger ones to dance about as the older ones do some karaoke. They could even put on a music concert for you, learn some routines and take it in turns to perform
- Arts and crafts – give them cardboard and pens or some play dough and they can be entertained for hours
- Lego blocks – this is something that everyone can have a go at. Toddlers can put the lego into colours, count them or stack them, while older children can create an enormous elephant or make a car
- Balloons – children love balloons, so play a game indoors where they have to try and catch the balloon as they throw it to each other, but don’t let it touch any furniture or the floor
- Watch a movie – put on a family friendly film for everyone to watch and have some quiet time snuggling up together – snacks are essential!
- Build a den – give them some blankets and let older ones find the perfect location for a makeshift den while younger children decorate it with cushions. They can pretend they are on a pirate ship or in a castle and use the den as a place to read books. No adults allowed!