Baby Play with Siblings: Baby School

Baby School

Baby school is a baby play idea that my kids invented – and I’m writing about it because I think it’s a great way for siblings to interact with a baby! The idea is very simple: the kids identify something they want to teach Anna about, and then they decide how to teach her. In this case, they cut out some pictures from a baby catalog to teach her about baby gear.

Catalog pictures only work if you have a baby like Anna who is content to watch and not eat, but this can be done with just about anything – play food from a kitchen (check for choking hazards first), wood blocks, and even baby toys. My kids have talked to Anna about colors, shapes, numbers, and sizes. They are practicing their own knowledge more than anything, but since they see themselves as teachers they interact with their baby sister in a particularly empathetic way – giving her plenty of space, waiting for her to react to what they are doing, and treating her with a lot of respect.

This (short) little clip captures both my “big” kids’ enthusiasm for the idea, as well as five-month-old Anna’s interest:

What are your favorite ways for siblings to interact with baby siblings?

a book full of baby play ideas that will help you enjoy parenting a baby and bond with your baby.

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

32 thoughts on “Baby Play with Siblings: Baby School”

  1. I absolutely love this. Fun for the baby, builds connections and positive play with the siblings and is the best way for the older siblings to learn – by teaching! Another lovely post from you!! Pinned, of course.

  2. Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest

    What a fabulous idea! It must be so much fun to watch the older ones teach the baby. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it :)

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Gorgeous! My favourite way for my kids to interact with baby siblings is sharing toys, particularly by playing games that the younger sibling enjoys. Lots of smiles from everyone when the baby is especially happy or excited!! :)

  4. First of all, those baby cheeks are killing me. I actually said, “Ohhhh!” out loud. Secondly, this is great. I freaking love when my daughter decides to teach my son his letters and numbers. Sometimes she jumps into more complex ideas, and I just assume he’s absorbing it all for when he’s older.

  5. I totally love this idea, and my kids do it with the youngest who is 2. They love trying to teach her counting and numbers, it gives them a sense of great accomplishment and she feels so special getting attention from her older siblings!

  6. Varya @ littleartists

    What a great idea!!!! T loves reading to A and play with her. She introduces toys to her. A still doesn’t sit on her own but it works during tummy time!

  7. LOVE this post! Collin and Reagan play “preschool” and Kate is their student. They are always trying to teach her things. She is always interested in what they have to offer.

  8. I love that Emma and Johnny are so engaged with Anna. I think this is the best part of big families – younger kids get to learn not just from parents but also from their older siblings…

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