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Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie: Inside Their Family

Updated

They’ve munched on crickets in Cambodia and surfed the waves in Cancun, but for the six children of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, life in the boisterous family is as much about everyday bonding as it is the big adventure.

“The children are always playing, jumping on each other and sharing fun moments,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “They share a special bond.”

Leading the pack: oldest son Maddox, 10, who “is almost like a teenager now, the way he understands things,” says another source. “He’s grown up very quickly.”

But his younger siblings are rapidly growing up, too. Six-year-old Zahara and her 5-year-old sister Shiloh are especially close, while 7-year-old Pax “has become more independent in the past year,” says an insider. And with twins Knox and Vivienne now 3 – they help pack their own suitcases! – the family is settling into a lower-key, if still decidedly adventurous, rhythm.

RELATED: Brad Pitt Hires Private Train for Family and 350 Crew

“Now that all the children are older, things have calmed down a bit in the household,” says the source. “There’s a great family dynamic right now.”

For more on the Jolie-Pitt family, along with special coverage of Hollywood’s cutest kids, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday