My most recent fun idea for disolving sibling struggles between my 6 and 12 year old is (drumroll): Sumo wrestling shirts! We get two of dad’s big tee shirts, stuff the front and back with bed pillows (2 in front, 1 in back seems to work well) and then, let the wrestling begin!
I sewed a seam along the bottom edge and tied a drawstring so the pillows don’t come out so easily. They can bounce into each other and no one gets hurt. They fall over and laugh and laugh as they try to get back up. The other one will try to help and then they fall down, too.
This has been a great solution when they are slightly off track and want to be physical but because they are somewhat disconnected the play has a hurtful edge to it. This game allows then to be close and physical with each other and get in lots and lots of laughter, with me as the playful referee. The tension comes melting out in waves of giggles. They always end up in better shape and much more connected.