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Making Togetherness a Game


Want your child to be able play cooperatively with others? Many interactive games teach social skills in an enjoyable way that promotes togetherness.


The excitement of game playing allows children to learn to take turns gracefully, handle frustration without blowing up, recognize social cues, and practice self-control – all in a fun way. We can lecture children about staying calm when they can’t be first or don’t get what they want, but those lessons aren’t usually learned through words.


When we play games, we provide experiential learning. We also have the opportunity to role-model the ability to handle the ups and downs of winning and losing in socially appropriate ways. There are games for every age.


Even very young children can play red light/green light, a movement game that incorporates fun movements with the ability to run and stop quickly without falling over.


The board game Candy Land doesn’t require reading and provides a great opportunity for preschoolers to learn turn taking, color recognition, and following instructions, as they move their marker from spot to spot by color.


Charades, a game where individuals or teams act out book, movie, or song titles or simply phrases without saying anything out loud, offers practice in reading social cues and body language. It can be played without reading at a young age or with written scripts as children get older.


Apples to Apples does require reading. It teaches perspective and flexibility in a game where there are no right answers, as players decide what things are alike, often with hilarious combinations.


Jenga is a game of physical skill that requires concentration and cooperation. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower of 54 blocks and placing it on top without the tower falling over.


These are examples of popular games, many of them with established rules, but it’s equally fun to make up games with children and create your own rules. The attitude of playfulness in a park, riding in car, or when everyone’s stuck in the house makes time together more vibrant and has long-term benefits.