Does your toddler cry and throw a tantrum after every game?
Cooperative learning is an educational concept that really took off in the early 1990s, and it has evolved ever since. This teaching approach involves placing students in small groups or teams to complete work tasks, projects or tests. While many teachers use cooperative learning techniques, the use of group grades is sometimes controversial. The zombies are coming! Protect your brains and plant your defenses in these fun-dead Plants vs. Zombies titles from EA and PopCap. Kick some grass in console/PC games, like the new Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville™ or Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2. 25 Best Mobile Multiplayer Games 2021: Top Competitive and Cooperative Games on iPhone and Android. By Harry Slater on Jan 18, 2021 at 10:00am. Unlike so many of the best cooperative board games, it can also be played in a massive group of 20+ people. So long as you're divided into teams of at least two per side, everyone can get involved.
Are you frightened of starting a game with your child because you are worried that it will end in lots and lots of tears?
Do you believe that your toddler is not a good sport or a sore loser? And does that embarrass you?
Then you must understand that the fault is not with your child but with the game that your child is playing
Why do children throw tantrums when they lose at games?
They are too young for competition
Children are not ready for competition until they are at least 8 years old. In the early years children are just beginning to develop their sense of self. They are trying to estimate their own worth and estimate their own ability. This is a time when they should be loved and valued only for who they are and not what they do. In a competitive game children feel that they are being evaluated and measured based on their ability to perform and win and that can severely damage their sense of self and self-esteem. Losing in a game is a threat to their self-esteem and they are too young to handle the stress of winning and losing.
They cannot tolerate unfairness
Around the age of 5 children become focused on fairness. They trust their parents and other authority figures and cannot imagine that an adult will ever be unfair or wrong. Unfortunately – most commonly available games like ludo and snakes and ladders are unfair. They are based on luck and do not involve the child’s skill. Young children cannot understand luck and gambling and when they lose – they think it is extremely unfair. When they are playing the game with a parent – they feel that the parent is being unfair and this shakes them up to their core.
What are cooperative games?
Cooperative games have the following features –
- Cooperative games are those that focus on the importance of play and fun. In contrast to competitive games they do not compel you to worry about winning or losing.
- They create opportunities for children to work together and rejoice when they reach a common goal.
- The best cooperative games give children a chance to appreciate each other instead of beating each other.
- Toddlers can take break from proving their superiority to build their self-esteem because in the best cooperative games everyone wins – there are no losers.
- When children play cooperative games – it gives them the chance to discover that sharing, caring and cooperating helps them build friendly relationships and feel good about themselves regardless of their skills.
30 best cooperative games for toddlers and preschoolers
Things to remember while playing cooperative games
- Do not play for too long
- Make sure you are not serious. Be silly and fun.
List of 30 Cooperative Games and activities
Build a tower together
Discuss how high the tower should be. What are the best bricks to place at the bottom and why. How making a large base is important for the stability of the tower and so on and so forth.
Play a matching game
For example match the animals with their places in a farm picture. Discuss why the cow and the goat need to be in a grassland and why the ducks need to be in the pond. What they eat – how they move and how that determines where they live.
Build a jigsaw puzzle
Begin by looking carefully at the picture. Then help each other pick out pieces that go with a certain person or a certain object in the picture. Discuss how putting together the corners of the jigsaw – followed by the straight edges can help build the picture more easily. The jigsaw can be left on a table in the house and can be completed over a period of days – teaching persistence and continuity.
Make paper boats
Set a timer and as group work towards making as many paper boats as possible before the timer goes off. The game will require everyone to do a certain folding step in order to move the assembly line along as fast as possible.
Play follow the leader
Start by being the leader yourself. Give 1 instruction like “Touch your toes”. Follow it up by giving 2 instructions – “Touch your toes and clap thrice.” Follow it up with 3 instructions – “Touch your toes – clap thrice – jump twice” Keep adding more instructions. Give instructions faster and faster to follow. Then allow your child to give your child to be the leader. Be silly. Pretend you forgot. Do the wrong things sometimes.
Put on a T-shirt while it is in the air
Take some over sized T-shirts. Throw them up in the air. Try to slip them on before they hit the floor.
Take some soap water and a bubble blower. Blow more and more bubbles. Blow bigger and bigger bubbles. Have one person blowing the bubbles and catch as many as you can with your kid.
Keep balloons up in the air
Blow up two or three balloons. Throw them all up in the air. Keep hitting them to keep them afloat. Between the two of you don’t allow the balloons to reach the ground.
Play train – train
Hold on to each other and from a train. Make a chuk chuk sound and go to various destinations in the house to pick up and drop things. You lead first. And then let your child lead.
Buy some seeds. Get some potting soil and a pot. Dig up the soil and plant the seeds. Water them. Look at pictures of how the seeds will look like when they become plants. Talk about farming and how farmers grow our food. Also how we should not waste food because it is so difficult to grow.
Fill the bucket
Keep a bucket full of water at one end of the lawn and an empty bucket at the other end of the lawn. Carry mugs of water from the full bucket to fill the empty bucket. For older children soak a sponge in water and have them wring it out into the empty bucket to fill it.
This game can be played on a sunny day when shadows form outside. Or at night with a light. Do silly dances and see what they look like as shadows. Make animal shapes with the fingers and have fun. Try different actions and see how small body parts can be made big and big body parts can be shrunk.
Float and sink
Collect objects from all over the house and gather them in the balcony or the lawn. Take a large bowl of water guess if each object will float or sink. Then put them in the water and see if your guess was right. Then take a pair of tongs used to make rotis and fish out the objects. Repeat the guessing game – this time your child may make more accurate guesses.
Complete the picture
Place a blackboard at one end of the lawn. Each player gets a chalk piece. Each person runs to the blackboard one by one and draws one body part. The game can be extended by adding clothes and hat shoes etc. The sillier the picture – the better it is.
Make finger puppets by rolling a small piece of paper or a band-aid round your finger and drawing a face and hair on it. Play music and do a silly dance. Have the puppets do individual and group dances.
Talk about the nice things you can do with different parts of your body
Talk about the hands – demonstrate how you can clap, wave and help with the hands. Talk about the mouth. List out the nice things you can say with the mouth. Talk about the feet – how you can run around and help with the feet. Make lists of these nice things on a board.
Have conversations to count your blessings
Talk about what you can share and whom you can share with. Talk about how you can be kind and who needs kindness. Talk about what you can do to be helpful. Allow your child to come up with ideas.
Throw the dice to complete the face
Draw a large face – just a circle is enough. Then make all the parts of the face on different pieces of paper. Give each part a number. Start rolling one player at a time – both dices together. Add up the number that comes from the sum of the two dices and place the part on the circle. 5 for mouth 4 for hair 2 for right eye and so one. Do this until the face is complete.
Where do you want to go
Make a list of places on a blackboard. Have a map available. Sit in the circle and roll the ball. Whoever gets the ball gets to choose a place to go to. You can read out the places for very young children who cannot read. Then help the child to find her/his chosen place on the map and allow her/him to put a sticker or a sticking bindi on the place to mark it.
Volunteer as a family
Whether it is a clean-up drive to clean the neighborhood or an initiative to sell cards door to door to collect money for charity or just volunteering at a common charitable kitchen – volunteer with your child. It shows them how powerful each one of us is when we work together.
Bake or cook together
One of the best things to do together is to cook together because it gives us so many opportunities to cooperate. Give your child simple repetitive tasks that she/he can perfect with practice. Form an assembly line for something like cutlets. Children can be given the task of dipping the cutlet in egg wash or coating the cutlet with breadcrumbs.
Arrange a cupboard together
Involve your child when you are classifying toys or stationery. You can enlist your child’s cooperation in finding scattered blocks or scattered sketch pens. You can also have your child pair up socks or classify photographs.
If there are three people – play a game where each person has to say something nice about the other people in the game. Have 3 bowls on the table – one for each person and start filling these up with the slips with the compliments written on them. The aim should be to fill each bowl.
Get to know each other better
Have a bowl full of chits with things like – favorite color, favorite movie, Favorite book favorite flower etc. written out. Have each person write out her/his favorites on a piece of paper and keep it with themselves. Then begin the game and have the others guess what they think is the favorite of the other people playing the game. After that each person corrects the other based on what they had written earlier. It helps each person know the other members of the family know each other better.
Getting ready for a trip
Pack a suitcase. First take a board and draw pictures of or write names of things you would need on a trip. Then take suitcase and start packing. Teach your child how to fold and arrange.
Plan a picnic
Plan a picnic. It could just be to the park in the complex. Pack the picnic hamper with everything you may need and then go down and do everything you planned in the park.
Ask questions like – “What is round and gives light.” “What is green like grass but found on trees”. “What is a white food that is not sweet” Be open to answers and also allow your child to make up and ask such questions..
Start with a word like stitch or bridge or station. Think up lots of rhyming words and make a list. Turn the words into a silly song at the end of the game. Sing the song often and turn it into an anthem until the next time..
Start a story – say one line out a aloud “In a small there lived a brown puppy”. Ask your child to continue the story with the next line. You add the following line. Let an absurd funny story emerge. Do not correct the story for logical sequence of events or reality. Let it be hilarious.
Follow the leader’s instructions
Play a game in which you call out instructions like “crawl like a cat”, “bark like a dog”, “jump like a monkey”, “roll like a ball”, “spread like a tree”, “be straight like a pole” and so on. Do the actions yourself as well and be as silly as possible. Then allow your child to call out instructions
Advantages of playing cooperative games
Cooperation is a learned by watching others cooperate. When a child sees how cooperating with others allows everyone to reach a desired goal – it encourages the child to learn how to cooperate and to cooperate in every walk of life.
Helps children fit into the outside world
Children are born thinking they are the center of the world. An essential part of fitting into the outside world is to understand how our words and actions affect others. When a child plays a competitive game she/he understands that it is important to establish oneself as supreme at all costs. A cooperative game on the other hand teaches children about others – their needs – their wants – what makes them happy and what doesn’t – their feelings and their reactions. All these help the child to settle into the outside world more easily.
Children learn that caring builds friendly relationships
Cooperative games build vocabulary
Cooperative games build problem solving skills
Listening skills are built
When children play cooperative games they are open to listening and considering the other person’s ideas and point of view because there is no loss of face involved
When children contribute, they feel valued, accepted involved needed and this helps build self-esteem.
Children learn from their experiences and behave the way they feel. When they feel wanted and worthwhile in a team effort they contribute and cooperate more. And this leads to them feeling valued and accepted, which builds their self-esteem, increases their overall happiness and leads to them valuing and accepting others.
Games and activities are a great way to bond with your child. If you are a loving affectionate parent who avoids playing games with your child because you hate the tantrums that happen every time the child loses in the game. Then it is best to play the above 30 cooperative games to build a relationship of love and happiness.
How often has this scenario played out in your classroom? You’ve planned a fantastic lesson that involves students working together and learning together. In your well-crafted plans, the students are engaged in the activities, supporting one another, and growing as a learning community. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? So why don’t these activities always work out as planned?
Although there may be many factors at play, it could simply be that your students are unable to work together properly because they do not know how to support one another. By using cooperative learning, specifically cooperative games, students will become critical thinkers, learn to work with one another, and apply these skills to accomplish team goals. The best part? Your students will have fun while developing these skills!
Cooperative classroom games differ from competitive games, as games (e.g. basketball, soccer) tend to focus on winning or losing. Cooperative games do not have to have a sole winner, as the objective is for all teams to succeed. Competitive games sometimes result in poor self-esteem for students who are on the losing end, and not all students have the competitive edge needed in order to win. Think about that student in your class who has great ideas but is not athletic or competitive. How do we address such needs when that student does not want to participate in the competitive aspect of games?
Cooperative classroom games are the solution, as all students will benefit since no one is left out and the focus is on the success of the team as a whole. When students are provided with a challenge, students are given the freedom to work together to solve the challenge by discussing various strategies, communicating their ideas, and putting their plans into action. These games have the students’ development in mind, as students are the primary decision makers with little teacher direction. As students try out various strategies and assess the outcomes, they are becoming more self-confident, learning to deal with stressful situations, and understanding the importance of working together as a team to be successful.
We have compiled a list of fantastic cooperative games for many grade levels. Although these activities may just seem like a fun pastime, these games are actually vital teaching tools that will allow your students to develop their collaborative skills. At times, you may see that some groups are arguing; however, the discussion and communication will improve as they gradually develop their collaborative skills.
1. What’s in a Name?
You can play this game with students of all ages, grade, and level, depending on variations; however, we recommend this activity for grades K-3 as it really helps students break the ice, especially at the beginning of school!
Arrange students in partners. Have one student begin talking about their first name to their partner, telling them what it is. Once they have said their name, they can now share a little bit about it. Some of the things you may encourage students to talk about are the meaning of their name, unique ways to spell it, why they were given it, what their name means in other languages, if they were named after someone, nicknames, and more. After about 2 minutes, they are then to switch and let their partner discuss their name as well. Remind students to pay close attention as their partner discusses their name! Encourage them to continue to pay close attention throughout the activity.
Once both partners have shared their names, pair one set of partners with another set of partners, forming a group of four. The idea is to have each student introduce their partner to the two new students in the group. Encourage students to include as much of their partner’s description as they can remember. Each student gets a chance to introduce their partner. Watch and enjoy as your students listen carefully, repeat, and get to know their peers!
2. Wave Stretching
This is a quick, fun, cooperative building activity with which to begin any lesson. Students have fun together as they listen to one another and physically repeat what they have been asked to do. It’s so fun to watch how attentive they are and how they work together to get the game rolling!
Have students form a large circle (you may even choose to do this in small groups depending on the space). Begin by picking one student within the circle. Have them call out a stretch. Going either clockwise or counter-clockwise, every student must do the stretch one by one. The idea is to pass the stretch as you go along. Once the stretch gets back to the original student you chose, have the next student call out a new stretch. The other students will have to hold the initial stretch until the new stretch makes its way to them. You can play this activity for however long you’d like; however, depending on the age and grade level, you may want to limit the number of stretches and eventually increase in number as they become more familiar with them game or as they learn additional stretches.
1. Balloon Bop
This is such a fun game for all students, great for the younger students to begin learning cooperation, but also great for the older students as they begin to master skills! You can play this as a whole class or in groups.
Students begin by standing in a circle, holding hands. The teacher drops one balloon into the circle. The goal is for students to see how many times they can tap the balloon into the air (students may tap the balloon with hands, arms, heads, shoulders, chests, or knees—but NO feet), keeping it up in the air without losing connection (all students must continue holding hands). In order for this to work effectively, students have to work cooperatively, each of them making sure they are not letting go of their neighbors’ hands. They will soon figure out that they must all move together, as a circle, to make sure they do not lose connection. If the balloon falls to the ground or a student taps the balloon with their feet, the count begins again. Depending on grade level, you can add more balloons to make it more challenging!
Before playing the teacher can model how to tap the balloon lightly in order to keep the balloon up in the air. Try this with the students individually and then in partners. Once they are successful at keeping their balloon in the air without dropping their partner’s hands, add more students to the group until they form one whole circle. Let the game begin!
2. All Aboard
This is a great activity to encourage students to cooperate and work together in order to solve a problem. This activity is best suited for students in fourth grade and up.
Materials: Rope of varying lengths, music
Cooperative Games For Elementary Students
Tie a piece of rope in a loop large enough for all students in your class to fit within it and lay it on the ground. Invite all your students to sit inside the circle. Once they have accomplished this, congratulate them for working together to make sure they all fit and now challenge them to see if they can do even better. To challenge them further, make the rope smaller. Now, invite your students once again to sit within the circle. Continue to make the rope smaller and smaller until you see that your students are beginning to run out of solutions as to how they can all fit within the circle.
Eventually, the circle will be much too small to fit every student. The goal is for students to cooperate with each other and work closely together to come up with creative solutions. You will be surprised with some of the solutions they come up with such as putting only hands in, feet in, fingers in, etc. At the end, discuss what you observed and invite feedback.
1. Human Knots
This game is geared towards helping students work together and problem solve while having fun! There are so many variations to the game. You know your students best – add in or change it up!
Students are to get into groups of 6-8 and form a large circle. They are to stand within the circle, crossing arms at the wrist. Next, they are to grasp hands with two different people across from them. Students must now work together to try and untangle the knot without letting go of any hands. Once they have untangled themselves and are still holding hands, encourage them to lean back, balancing their weight and try to sit down, then stand back up again as a group. As an added challenge, have each of the groups race to finish first.
2. The Line Game
Materials: Activity to be played in the gym with a number of overlapping floor markings (basketball & volleyball courts)
Divide the class into two large groups. Have each group stand at opposite sides of the gym. The goal is for students to work together to move their entire group from one side of the gym to the other. They are to do this by only walking along the lines marked on the gym floor. The lines must connect. Students are not allowed to jump from line to line. They may move backward, forward, or side-to-side. Once they pass the mid-court line, they are only allowed to move forward or side-to-side. The first team to have all its members on the opposite side is congratulated! Remember, students begin at the same time and move as individuals; however, they work together as a group, encouraging one another as they move along. They are each working towards the same goal – getting to the opposite side!