I've got three boys now. Big J is 4.5, Little J is 2 and Baby N was born last Sunday. When Little J was about to join our family, I was mildly concerned about how Big J would handle the adjustment. He did fairly well. It helped that Daddy was home for two weeks to help out. Now, I'm a little worried about how Little J will handle being a big brother. Maybe it's just that little "worry bone" that every mother seems to have. However, Little J is quite the momma's boy. Even more than Big J was, who now prefers Daddy for just about everything - unless he's in a button-pushing mood, that little stink. In that case, he thinks mommy's buttons are easier to push. Little J is getting better, but I hope that the sudden time-suck of a newborn won't shock him too much. So, to help ease the change, I planned to give my older boys Big Brother Kits - from the baby. You can't hate someone who comes with presents, right? Right? Please let me be right...
BIG BROTHER KITS
Disclaimer: Obviously, you should adapt these things to fit your kids' needs and interests. These are just to help give you some ideas if you decide to put together similar kits. Of course, my list is based on young boys... that's what I have. My kids are both very active and ages 4.5 and 2. Older kids or little girls might not want the same things.
- Puzzles (Dollar Tree has 24 piece puzzles in a variety of themes. Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse won out here).
- Books. Big J loves Little Critter books and when I found "The New Baby" on Amazon for less than $3, I got that for his kit. Little J loves the Osborne touchy-feely books and I found one on ebay for less than $5. We'll see if it gets here before the baby (it didn't), but I found a couple Lightning McQueen and Dusty Crophopper 2-packs of books at Dollar Tree that can substitute until it gets here. Or The Berenstein Bears "New Baby" can go in Little J's kit.
- Coloring Books. I opted for Color Wonder, due to the convenience of no-mess. When we're at home, we typically just get out the crayons and a huge IKEA paper roll. But, this way Grandma will have something she can toss in the diaper bag, just in case, without having to worry about scrubbing up crayons at the end of a coloring session.
- Felt Road. I first made this for Big J like two summers ago and then I had an order come in for one right before we were leaving for a three-and-a-half-week long vacation. I asked Big J if he was okay with me shipping his and then I'd make him a new one when we got home. He said yeah and off it went. I still hadn't replaced his though! Bad momma! I plan to split the track up so they each have equal pieces and tell them (in a little note) that they can play with their own roads by themselves or they could share the pieces and make even bigger roads. We have a sharing issue sometimes... I'll throw in a car from home too, so they'll have one to play with wherever they are. I don't think we need any more cars to stumble over in the middle of the night.
- Play dough. This will probably get used once we get home and mommy needs 20 minutes to feed the baby or shower. Grandma doesn't do play dough. I made several colors and gave both boys their own sets. Big J likes to mix them. Little J does better with one color at a time... otherwise, he starts his own little taste testing scenario.
- Sidewalk Chalk. We've been having a pretty mild winter so far and the boys are loving the chance to play outside more than usual. I found a set at Dollar Tree and split it between my two boys. They like to draw with chalk on paper too. Dip the chalk in water first before drawing for more vivid colors and less dust.
- Big Brother Shirts. Confession: I actually made these back in July... August?... and that's how we announced that we were expecting another baby. It was pretty funny when Grandpa Wolff finally noticed what the shirts actually said. However, my boys haven't worn them much since then. What better time to pull them back out and celebrate all over again?!
- Printable Sandwich Shop. This is more Big J's speed, something he can do on the days he doesn't feel like he needs to nap. It's totally cute and you can't beat FREE. Get your copy at Kid's Activities Blog.
- Paper Dolls. I've done a few of these for Big J so we can practice sequencing (First, put on shirt, then pants, last is shoes) and familiarity with dressing himself. He can do it, but he is absolutely content to let someone else do it for him... while he whines. That's gotta stop. Google "printable paper dolls" or find some super cute sets on Babalisme Blog. I really like these ones, as they aren't excessively girly (I also like that the undressed girl dolls look like they are in swimsuits, not a bra and panties; but, that's just the mom in me I'm sure).
- Mini Experiment Kit. This is a super toned-down version of the Kid's Experiment Kit. Basically, the experiments that take only a few minutes and minimal supplies. Sparkle bottles or snow globes would also be a good project to do with preschoolers and early elementary aged kids, if you've got half an hour and the patience to deal with glitter.
- Story Tiles. These are the same idea as the story stones I made Big J, but smaller and, more importantly, lighter. Little J is going through a phase of throwing things. The rocks have been put away for the time being... can you imagine why? As long as your kiddo doesn't put everything in their mouth, this is a great alternative. You can use sharpies to draw on the tiles or get fancy with a woodburning tool. I used Scrabble tiles, because I have a cupboard full. Literally.
- Memory Game. I chose some photos from the past year or so and printed two copies of each. Then I cut those out and glued them to scrapbook paper and laminated the cards. I hole punched the cards and they can be stored on a binder ring.
- Personalized Go Fish Game. You can play this game with the same cards you make for Memory. Just deal them out instead of laying them face-down on the floor. Then take turns trying to make matches. Make simpler cards for your younger kiddos - a single photo of dad, mom, grandma, grandpa, etc rather than multiple photos with mom and dad in them.
I ended up putting mostly store bought items in our kits, as that's all I had gotten done before we found ourselves in L&D at the hospital. I had planned to do up cute little bags with "Big Brother" on them - but instead I fell back on some bags we had around the house.