I have a 6.5 yo son and a nearly 4yo girl. They're very different kids in a lot of ways. DS doesn't really do imaginative play unless someone else leads it, is very physical and into active stuff, but will play board games til the end of time. He tends to read a lot when he has free time at home. DD loves imaginative play, both with small toys and with her pretending to be a fairy etc. She likes to be read to, but isn't as into books in general as DS, even taking the age difference into account. Her idea of a good time is setting up a waldorf-style puppet show in the living room and acting it out for an audience.
The two of them went through a period maybe a year ago where they played together great. DD was open to DS's very physical games, like jumping on and off the bed a million times. DS was somewhat open to some pretend play with DD. Now it seems like they've diverged more in their interests, and they just aren't getting along as well. I've been fairly hands-off about their playtime together, hoping they'd figure out a new rhythm, but it's just not happening. It seems to devolve into fighting so often and I'm weary of it.
Meanwhile there's another, related issue that's starting to disturb me. DD is so loving towards her big brother, but he's often really cold to her. He often doesn't acknowledge her when she asks him a question or tells him a story, won't let her hug him, and just seems generally disinterested in her unless he wants something from her. I've worked with him on it a bit, such as asking him to please find a way to say goodbye to her at the bus stop even if he's not up for a hug, etc. But the underlying coldness bothers her, and me.
SO...I know much of this is normal, developmental stuff. But as much as I is possible, I'm hoping to introduce some activities that will foster a better connection between the two of them. I remember seeing a book from Mr. Rogers at the library that had a section of games that fostered cooperation/connection but I can't find it. Any ideas?
SAHM to 6.5yo DS and 4yo DD. PCOS with two early m/cs. Married 8 yrs. Certified birth doula, writer, editor.
Some stuff I like:
We had several co-operative board games when our children were that age - Max the Cat, Snowstorm and Harvest Time are the ones I remember best. I played them with the kids the first several times and made sure we were having a lot of fun so there was that association with the game. It didn't take long before they got the idea and played these games together on their own initiative.
How are they with outdoor play? Having things to climb on, explore, swing and slide on can be a good meeting ground for kids where they can be active and "do" stuff and still have a setting for some great pretend.