How to play with multiple kids of different ages

October 17, 2022

Do you like a referee every time your kids play together? Or are you struggling to figure out what sort of activities to do with a baby and a bigger toddler? We can help. 

First, it is important to know that play skills develop in stages just like all other areas of early childhood development. Just like your child learns to sit before they stand, and stand before they can walk, play skills develop bit by bit. 

Stages of Play

So if you have two or more kids in different play stages what do you DO to make sure everyone has a good time, and you aren’t putting out fire after fire?

First, you want to make sure any activity you pick uses toys and tools that the littlest one can do. The great thing about the early years is that repetitive practices are important. So you actually want kids to do the same activities over and over again because each time they do they’ll get a little better. This means any of the baby or littler kid aged activities in the Earlybird library will be great for the bigger kiddos. They will just do the activity in a new way each time.

Next, you want to remember that there is no “right” way to play. Both kids don’t need to be doing the activity in the same way. If you look at our stage of play image you’ll see that at certain ages, simply observing others is a form of play. And as you can see in this life-sized gingerbread person activity from the Earlybird library, Anderson (3) is doing the activity, and Frances (1) is just exploring the materials. They are both playing in their own way and getting SO much out of it. 

If you want to learn more strategies for playing with multiple kids, and our top activity ideas for kids in different stages, take our Setting Up Your Play Space and Building Independent Play workshop

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