I’m currently expecting my fourth child and know from past experience several times over how important it is to make sure that older siblings don’t feel pushed to the side when a new baby arrives. Showing the big sister/big brother lots of love is of course the absolute most essential thing that parents can do to ease the growing pains of a growing family, but the reality is that babies take a lot of time and parents of newborns are inevitably, irrevocably tired and don’t always have the time, energy, or patience to spend as much time with an older sibling as they would like. What’s more, friends and family are usually thrilled to snuggle with a newborn and often show up with an adorably baby toy, which can make the older children feel even more left out. This time around I’ll be preparing some ways to include my older children in the excitement, have some activities on-hand to keep them busy when I’m attending to the baby, and also have some nice (but small) gifts on hand that I can give them when a well-meaning visitor inadvertently snubs the big sibling in their excitement over meeting the newest addition to our family. For some, it’s traditional for the baby to give a gift to his or her older siblings. Older children seem to be willing to overlook that this is impossible as long as they have something new to play with. When my older children arrive at the hospital to meet their new little brother they will have a Learning To Play Camera and Learning to Play Microscope waiting for them. They can use the camera to help me take photos of the baby and the microscope to help the doctors make sure the baby looks okay. Both are high-quality wooden toys that can withstand some abuse. The camera is absolutely adorable and makes a squeaking sound when you push the shutter. The camera also has three interchangeable lenses so the big ones can see what the baby looks like through a clear, red, and kaleidoscope lens. Once home, the kids can use the camera to help take “photos” of baby’s first bath, sitting in his swing, etc. The microscope is equally as adorable and also comes with three interchangeable lenses as well as three different petri dishes. I’ll ask the older kids to use the microscope to help make sure baby doesn’t have any germs and isn’t getting sick. It’s a great tool to help kids learn to help keep the baby clean! The Imagine I Can line has almost endless possibilities for fantastic big sibling gifts that will delight the child and grant the parents some time to take care of the baby or even themselves! The Pet Rock Pals activity kit will not just keep kids busy for quite some time but will also spark their creativity. The kit comes with enough clay to make two pet rocks in any shape plus enough googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and felt shapes like mustaches, hair, and hearts so that kids can create their own special friend. A fun option that will keep kids busy with no mess to clean up later is the Character Mix-Up. With three backgrounds and 101 magnetic pieces kids can make-up their own stories or you can ask them to re-create scenes from a favorite book or you can use the pieces for inspiration to create your own story. I love anything that allows children to use their imaginations to create their own adventures and the Imagine I Can role playing kits fit the bill perfectly. I can’t wait to present my children with their Secret Agent Spy Gear and Fairy Enchanted sets. Both come with plenty to keep kids occupied, from braking secret codes to collecting fairy dust, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with on their adventures around the house while I am having my own adventures in caring for a newborn. Some small items I will be keeping around for when they are needed is the Imagine I Can Catch a Pirate and Shape Stack games. These both pack a lot of punch into small packages. Catch a Pirate is a simple game that a parent can play in a sleep-deprived state or kids can maneuver alone. The Shape Stack game is a fun but challenging color-coded game that requires some luck and some skill to balance shapes. It’s another good choice because parents can choose to help or allow children to try to figure it out themselves. These are also great items to throw in a diaper bag to play with during the many doctor’s visits newborns require or when trying to spend some time out of the house without going crazy with a bored toddler or preschooler along.