Cooperative Board Games for Children’s Classrooms
At my daughter’s school children are not allowed to bring cupcakes or trinkets for other kids for birthday celebrations. Instead, the child can bring a gift for the classroom, and the birthday girl or boy gets to unwrap it and share it with the class. I asked my daughter’s teacher if she had any requests and was told the class could use another set of Boggle. Perfect! I LOVE Boggle. If you ever dare to challenge me, come prepared. I am the reigning champ among everyone I know. But I digress…
That was an easy request to fill, and I felt good about the educational value of the game. But then the day before her birthday my daughter informed me that you can also bring a gift for the after-school program. Because I work full-time, my daughter is in the after-school program five days a week, and while I think it’s better than the average after-school program, I was happy to seize on any opportunity to contribute to upgrading the quality of the time she spends there. But I was stuck with very little notice. I was in our small town center, which has one independent somewhat expensive toy store that seems to have an inventory problem for about eight weeks after Christmas. I could have bought a puzzle – they did have a ton of puzzles – but my daughter isn’t much of a puzzle kid, and I wanted her to be excited about the gift too. Their game section was thin – very thin. But they did have a decent selection of “Cooperative Board Games.” I had never heard of such a thing before, but I also didn’t have much choice. In a cooperative board game, apparently, there are no winners or losers. The kids work together toward a collective goal. I was slightly apprehensive. It sounded a bit like a game called “Save the Whales” that my sister had when she was little. It was an okay game, but clearly a smoke-screen for a political agenda (that went far beyond saving the whales) that a 6-year-old doesn’t need to be roped into in my opinion. But, I was pressed for time (when aren’t I?) and figured there wasn’t a lot to lose.
So I bought Peaceable Kingdom’s Race to the Treasure, and lo and behold, when I went to pick my daughter up that afternoon I got to see the kids playing it together. It was a huge hit and a great educational opportunity. The players have to build a maze to make it to a treasure before the ogre does. Each child got their turns, but they also really got to work together toward a common goal. It doesn’t completely eschew the notion of competition — after all they are collectively competing against the ogre, and I think that’s a good thing. But they were also able able to collaborate, learn from each other, be excited at the same developments and share in their disappointment when things didn’t go their way. I’m now among the converted and highly suggest trying one out yourself. It’s especially perfect for a setting where lots of kids can play together.
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Parent Conversations about Birthdays & Birthday Parties
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Board Games for Preschoolers
- E-family news: Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party without the Stress
- Bright Horizons on Pinterest: Kids Birthdays & Parties Board
- Read more posts about birthdays from the Family Room bloggers