101 Activities For Siblings Who Squabble

101 Activities For Siblings Who Squabble

by Linda Williams Aber

View All Available Formats & Editions

For all those times when your house feels like a mini-war zone--when siblings are so restless they pick on one another mercilessly or are so angry they can hardly speak--101 Activities for Siblings Who Squabble is a dynamic, creative handbook, full of games kids can play together plus peace-keeping tips that can turn sibling rivalry into sibling

See more details below


For all those times when your house feels like a mini-war zone--when siblings are so restless they pick on one another mercilessly or are so angry they can hardly speak--101 Activities for Siblings Who Squabble is a dynamic, creative handbook, full of games kids can play together plus peace-keeping tips that can turn sibling rivalry into sibling revelry. "Fence Menders," for example, will get feuding siblings on the same side. "Corner Warmers" can really take the cold out of a deep freeze. "Argument Enders" give advice throughout for negotiated peace during rough moments. Each activity has a "Different Ages, Different Stages" section to help parents and kids adapt the rules.

From the youngest to the oldest, your child will be fully entertained and engaged. You will find ingenious ideas and specific instructions for playtime indoors and outdoors, for every kind of weather and mood. On indoor days, help your kids make apple heads in the kitchen, fish with paper clips in the living room, or create a creepy haunted house in the dining room. Hot, sticky days are easy with games such as Hose Tag and Sprinkler Jump, Watermelon Fun and Body Painting. Also includes:

- ICY, FREEZING, FUN DAYS: Snow Angels, No-Sled Snow-Sled Race, Painless Windowpane Painting

- RAINY, POURING, BORING DAYS: Sunken treasure, Making Bubbles, and Finger Puppets

- SICK OF BEING SICK DAYS: Get-Well-Quick Card Craft and Cheer-Up Pillow Case

With children ages three to eight in mind, Linda Williams Aber provides some exciting, creative, ways to save parental sanity and make sure the little ones have fun.

Read More

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

101 Activities for Siblings Who Squabble

Projects and Games to Entertain and Keep the Peace

By Linda Williams Aber, Elaine Yabroudy

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1995 Skylight Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-8715-2


Ready, Set, Go!

Who's on First? What's on Second? And Where Do We Go from Here?

In the history of the world and all its siblings, a fight-free existence is as rare as a hen that lays golden eggs. Until now. 101 Activities for Siblings Who Squabble introduces games, activities, and argument enders that turn sibling rivalry into sibling revelry.

Children separated in age by one or more years can present a playtime challenge to parents who aren't prepared to address the differences in interests created by differences in ages. Some parents just accept it as a fact that kids of different ages don't play well together, fight a lot, and can't really do much more together than watch television. But this book is filled with alternatives to passive play. Each chapter offers suggestions for making the activities and games work well for a variety of ages.

Siblings can play happily together if they are taught how to make adjustments to one another's differing ability levels. Older siblings should be told in advance that the younger brother or sister may not be able to do something one way, but he or she can do it another way and the game can still work. Older brothers and sisters will naturally be better at certain things, but younger siblings can be bolstered in advance by hearing that trying their best is more important than winning. Everyone participating should understand that game plans can be changed to make play fairer.

Siblings will be siblings, and that only means that brothers and sisters, sisters and sisters, brothers and brothers, all have the same instincts: to survive, to be favored, to be right! In play as well as in work, children, siblings, friends, want to succeed, to win, and to be respected. Differences in ages can mean a difference in physical strength, muscle coordination, and energy level. They can also mean a difference in the ability to concentrate, follow directions, and communicate. Learning to be patient and understanding of one another's abilities and limitations is as important as learning the rules of any game.

This book is divided into nine chapters of cooperative games and activities chosen with the idea of bringing different ages into the same plane of happy coexistence. You'll find quiet games and activities, active play ideas for rainy day fun, and things to do on hot days, cold days, sick days, company days, and even during those terrible times when the siblings are so mad they can't even speak to each other.

To make peace more possible, "Argument Enders" are offered where appropriate. Each game and activity in this collection is accompanied by sections called "Different Ages, Different Stages" and "Then Try This!" These offer suggestions for ways to bend the rules for the benefit of younger siblings and to add variety for everyone. There are useful ideas for providing extra challenges to easier games so that older siblings won't cry "Too babyish!" when asked to play with a younger child. Appropriate ages are given under each activity title. These are suggestions only. Individual parents must determine their own children's level of ability and responsibility.

When there's nothing to do, there's plenty to do—indoors, outdoors, in tight spaces, and all places. When individual needs are considered and accommodated, new games are learned, but more important, mutual respect is gained. Let the games and activities begin fairly, squarely, and happily, of course.


Before quality playtime can begin, social skills need to be preached and practiced. Parents can do a lot to help siblings recognize one another as friends and playmates. By setting an example of being socially skilled persons, parents can teach their children some very valuable lessons.

Some siblings may feel "stuck" playing with one another. Resentment, competition for attention, and simple immaturity can make siblings mistreat each other. But to be happy in social situations, children need to know how to compromise, how to show respect for others, how to forgive and apologize, and how to control their own urges to be too aggressive. Here are some important things to understand and practice for happier social relationships.

• Listen to your children when they are talking to you. Don't interrupt or finish their sentences for them. This will teach them how to be good listeners too.

• Reinforce good behavior by pointing it out and complimenting your children on the way they behaved positively toward other children.

• If your children are too aggressive or are rude to one another or another person, speak to them about it in private. Try to make your children understand how such behavior makes another person feel.

• Teach your children some simple diplomatic ways to handle play situations. Children who learn that placing blame serves no purpose in playtime will spend less time fighting and more time playing. Diplomacy is a social skill that will come in handy all their lives.

If children can't agree on what game to play, suggest that one or the other say, "Try it for five minutes. If you don't like it we'll play something else."

If taking turns is a problem, suggest that the one being slighted say, "The game is more fun for all of us if we take turns. It's my turn now."

If one child teases or belittles another, suggest that the one being teased put a stop to it immediately by saying, "Let's try not to hurt each other's feelings. It spoils the fun in the game."

If diplomatic phrases don't stop crankiness or bad moods, a calm suggestion of a five-minute time-out in separate spaces often allows the players to start over happily.


A good sport is the most important thing a player can be. Other players will always want to play again if the one who wins makes the ones who lose feel good about themselves. It's nice to be nice. Everybody benefits from hearing kind words. Here are some things children can be taught to say to playmates who have lost the game but not the respect and friendship of the winner.

• "Good game. You were tough competition."

• "Thanks for playing. It's your turn to win the next game!"

• "It was a close game. Better luck next time!"

• "I had a lot of fun. I hope you had fun too."


Losing is never the best part about playing a game. Sometimes a player may be at a loss for words after losing. Before the tears well up, children can express their feelings with words that show that even though they are not thrilled about losing, they are not sore losers.

• "Congratulations. I wish I had won, but you really played a great game."

• "Let's play again and see who wins this time."

• "Good job. How about teaching me some of your tricks?"


Choosing who's first in a game can be as much fun as the game itself. Here are some time-tested ways for determining playing order fairly and squarely.

• For two players, flip a coin. Players call out heads or tails. Heads goes first. Tails goes second.

• For two or more players, draw straws cut into different lengths. The longest straw goes first, and the order continues from longest to shortest, with the shortest being last.

• For large groups, saying some version of the "Eeny, meeny, miney, mo" verse helps to determine who is in and who is out. The one choosing says the rhyme and points to a different player on each word. The pointing goes back and forth among players, with the finger landing on someone at the end of the rhyme, counting that player out. The player left is "It." Here is the verse as it is best known:

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo
Catch a tiger by the toe
If he hollers let him go
Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.
My mother says to pick this one,
and you are not "It."

• In card games, the player drawing the highest card from the deck goes first, or the player sitting to the left of the dealer may go first.


All players of all ages would rather play than fight and argue. Clever comebacks often cut through the tension, but no words end an argument better than simply saying "I'm sorry." And no words keep the peace better than "Please," "Thank you," and "You're welcome." When arguments begin, the best argument ender is an apology and a smile. Showing respect, care, and consideration for fellow players is the real key to having fun.


Before playing begins there are definite rules for social behavior that need to be taught. Parents should make it clear to players that there are some things that are just not allowed: no name-calling, no sarcasm, no comparing, no negative comments.

Ending arguments is a social skill that can easily be learned. When a parent is called in to be the mediator, there are some specific concepts to remember and use for effective problem solving. When breaking up a dispute, speak in short, precise sentences. Don't look for blame, but listen closely to what the problem might really be (that is, one sibling is bullying the other, one sibling feels inferior to the other, one sibling is jealous of the other's ability, one sibling feels persecuted, and so forth). As the mediator, a parent must be respectful and courteous to both parties. Stick to the topic at hand, use positive language that acknowledges your understanding of the situation ("I see you are both upset. You're both good at things, but perhaps you feel she is doing this thing better than you are today"), and use the specific "Argument Enders" offered throughout this book for some of the more common arguments engaged in by siblings and friends.


Just as diplomacy, respect, kindness, and consideration are important tools to bring to any games or activities, there are some basic craft and game supplies that any well-stocked home with children should have. Here are suggestions for things to put into the Surprise Supplies Box.

For Crafts Projects:

• plain paper

• construction paper

• pencils

• crayons

• markers

• paper clips

• tape

• glue

• yarn, string

• cardboard boxes

• fabric swatches

• paper bags

• old magazines

• paper cups

• paper plates

• food coloring

• scissors

For Games:

• playing cards

• paper

• pencils

• timer or stopwatch

• tape measure

• dice

• playground ball

• small rubber ball

• chalk

Keep the Surprise Supplies Box within easy reach so players can help themselves to the supplies they need. Every once in a while, refill and update the supplies so the box doesn't become just another "junk box."


Shhhh! Don't Wake Anyone!

Quiet Fun for All Ages

"Quiet!" "Shhhh!" "Hush!" All the whisper-please words in the world won't keep the noise down if the children are up! Whether the reason for turning your home into a "quiet zone" is a mom or dad working at home, a sibling home sick and sleeping upstairs, a baby asleep in a crib, or an elderly visitor requiring quiet in the house, those who are not working, not sleeping, and not looking to fill time with silence need to have their fun. The games and activities in this chapter are selected with two things in mind: peaceful sleeping for the sleepers, and peaceful playing for the players. Even when "mum" is the word, "fun" can be the other word!


You don't need fancy board games for kids who are just plain bored. All you need are some time-tested games that are easy to explain and even easier to play. These activities challenge the minds of even the youngest players. Next time boredom strikes, strike back by going right for the games!

Don't Look, Touch!


1 or more players


paper bag

fabric swatches, 2 of each texture (corduroy, felt, velvet, wool, burlap, cotton, nylon, etc.)

timer or stopwatch

crayons or markers

Object of the Game:

To reach into the bag and use fingers and hands only to find as many fabric swatch matches as possible.

How to Play:

The sense of touch provides hands-on fun in this fabric-match game. Letting fingers, not eyes, do the matching gives hands of all sizes something to do when space is limited. Preparation is easy. Let the players do it all!

Prepare for the game by collecting as many different textures of fabric as are available around the house. Cut the fabric into pieces no smaller than 3" × 3", making two of each fabric texture. Place the fabric swatches into a paper bag. Players take turns reaching into the bag without looking and try to pull out two matching fabric swatches. Allow from 30 to 45 seconds for each turn. As long as the player makes a match, his or her turn continues. The player with the most matches wins.

For extended playtime, add more fabric swatches of different textures, or increase the amounts to be matched to three of each fabric.

Different Ages, Different Stages:

Players of all ages will enjoy collecting the fabrics to be used in the game. Older siblings who are handy with scissors should do the cutting, while younger players can keep busy decorating the paper bag with crayons or markers.

Children ages 4 and older will be capable of succeeding at this match-up game. Younger children may take a little longer to feel around in the bag with their fingers. As a guideline, allow 45 seconds for players ages 4 to 6, and 30 seconds for players 7 and up.

Then Try This!

Turn this game into a size-recognition and money-learning experience. Change the texture of the game completely by replacing fabric swatches with coins. Put two of each size coin into a paper bag. The object of the game is to feel the coins and find their matches.

Memory Fun

(AGES 4 TO 10)

1 or more players


large tray

10 to 20 small objects (toothbrush, marble, penny, miniature car, ring, etc.)

towel or cloth large enough to cover the tray

pencil and paper for each player

Object of the Game:

To study the tray of objects and remember as many of them as possible.

How to Play:

Setting up the game can be just as much fun as playing it. Siblings of all ages can help each other collect items to be used in the game. A parent or other nonplaying person should choose objects from the collection and spread them out on the tray. Cover the tray with the towel so neither player gets a sneak peek. Place the tray between the players, where both can easily see everything. Remove the towel and allow players to memorize the objects on the tray for about 1 minute. When the memorizing minute is up, the tray should be covered again. Players may then write down what they remember. Players should be given a time limit of 3 minutes to remember and list objects. The player with the most complete list wins.

For extended playtime, keep changing the objects and start over.

Different Ages, Different Stages:

If there is a wide gap in the ages of the players, you may want to prepare two trays. Older children may be more capable of remembering more objects. For the player who is between the ages of 4 and 6, prepare a tray of 10 objects. For the player between the ages of 7 and 10, prepare a tray of 20 objects. Assign a 2-point value to each item on the 10-object tray, and 1 point value to each item on the 20-object tray. Winners may be determined by highest point score.

If a younger player cannot write down answers alone, either the parent or the older sibling may help out by allowing the younger player to dictate answers.

Then Try This!

The opportunity to hunt for "treasures" lost between the cushions makes preparation for this memory game just as much fun as the game itself. Let the players lift up sofa and chair cushions and find all the "lost treasures" that have fallen down there. Some found objects just might make perfect Memory Fun game pieces for the display tray.

Card Concentration


2 or more players


deck of cards

Object of the Game:

To get the most matching cards by remembering where they are after they've been turned facedown.

How to Play:

No matter what new toys or games come onto the market, a good deck of cards is always a reliable source of fun for all ages. The game of Concentration helps sharpen memory skills at the same time it beats the boredom that often is the most common cause for sibling scuffles. When fighting breaks out, break out the cards!

Shuffle the cards and place them facedown on the floor or a table. Arrange them in neat rows. Decide who goes first by turning up one card each. The highest-value card goes first. If both players choose cards of equal value, keep turning cards over until one player wins the turn.

To play the game, players take turns flipping over two cards for each turn. If a pair of matching cards is faceup, the player may take those two cards and continue playing until no match is made. Cards that do not match must be turned facedown again. Players try to concentrate on the location of the cards as they are revealed. The game continues until all the cards have been taken. The player holding the most pairs wins.

Different Ages, Different Stages:

This game can easily be simplified for younger children. Just divide the deck of cards in half or select as few as six or eight matching pairs. Siblings can play together, or side by side, using as few or as many cards as they like. The very youngest, whose attention span may be short, can be part of the game by helping to lay the cards out in rows, or be in charge of holding the pairs as they are found.

Then Try This!

No cards? No problem! Let the players create their own Concentration cards. Plain index cards or even paper cut into rectangles may be decorated with drawings, letters of the alphabet, spelling words, math problems, symbols, or stickers. As long as there are two of each design, the game can be played successfully.


Excerpted from 101 Activities for Siblings Who Squabble by Linda Williams Aber, Elaine Yabroudy. Copyright © 1995 Skylight Press. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >