Some children love a heated competition and some most decidedly do not.
I have both types of kids, which creates an interesting dynamic. I have relied heavily on cooperative games in our homeschool and today I would like to share our favorite cooperative games.
The Best Cooperative Games for Non-Competitive Kids
Are you the parent of a child who loathes competition? I am raising my hand over here! When I ask the kids if they’d like to play a game with me, my daughter will often counter, “But, is it a winning game?”
My oldest is a completely different child. He loves to play, but he also loves to keep score and celebrate victories. He loves the competition of it all. His presence adds an element of suspense to the game: “Who will win???”
So, how do you play games as a family when you have one kiddo who loves “winning games” and one who would rather run for the hills?
I have two words for you: cooperative games. Today, I am sharing top cooperative games, both for little kids and for big kids!
Want to see the games we are playing (and the books we are reading) each day?
The Best Cooperative Games for Non-Competitive Children
The reality is, some folks are more competitive than other folks. And if you are playing with a super-competitive competitor, I can see how gameplay could be off-putting to a non-competitive soul. As the parent of one ultra-competitive kiddo and one competition-loather, I have tried to add non-competitive games to our game closet. The reality is, most board games involve an element of competition and it can be challenging to find more cooperative games. Today, I’m sharing our favorite non-competitive games and then I’d love to hear your favorites.
Using cooperative games in your homeschool
I’d like to highlight a handful of the cooperative games that helped me navigate our early gaming years with one competitive kiddo and one non-competive kiddo. Then, I’m sharing heaps of other fantastic options for cooperative family gaming.
Hoot Hoot Owl (and anything by Peaceable Kingdom)
This is a fantastic cooperative game- perfect for children who do not enjoy competition! In this game, players must work together to help the owls get back to their nest before the sun rises. My children love this game and all the other fantastic cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom including: Dinosaur Escape, Race to the Treasure, Friends and Neighbors, Count Your Chickens, Mermaid Island, and more!
I love the creativity and imagination involved in eeBoo’s games for children. Obstacles is a fantastic, cooperative problem-solving game that encourages imagination, creative thinking, and team work. It requires that children think outside of the box together. To play the game, obstacle cards are placed randomly in a path on the floor. Some examples of obstacles are thunderstorms, poison ivy, monsters, mazes, etc. Then, players are dealt a number of tool cards. I love that the tools involve creative thinking. Examples of tool cards include: kite, saw, drum, ice, monkey, etc. Players take turns sharing how they would use a tool in their hand to overcome the first obstacle. After everyone has offered a solution, the players talk together about the solutions and vote for the best option.
Who doesn’t love Richard Scarry’s amazing illustrations? Every single time you look at a page in his books, you discover something new! The same is true for this game, folks. Busytown is a cooperative seek-and-find adventure game played on a six-foot board. To play, team members race around Busytown finding hidden objects. The goal is to find all of these objects- together- and make it to Picnic Island before Pig Will and Pig Won’t get there… because they plan to eat all the food!
We LOVE these cards. I’ve posted about them countless times on this site. The cards are durable, beautifully illustrated, and they inspire creativity and imagination. With a price point of $10, you can easily add to your collection over time. Our family loves to mix up different decks to create fantastic stories. There are also countless ways to play with these cards, so you won’t soon tire or outgrown this game.
Another beloved game in our home, this dice game encourages creativity, imagination, and story-telling. I love how compact these sets are- I almost always pack them when we travel. We also love to play at dinner. The game takes up very little space and the dice are easy to clean should they roll into a food plate (been there, done that!). There are several versions of Story Cubes and they cost less than $10, so it is fun to mix them up and have a blast!
This game is new to us this year and we have played it so many times already! I love that my children are learning yoga poses and mindfulness as they work together to plant a garden before the sun sets. One really fun aspect of this game is that, on certain plays, your children have the opportunity to create and name their very own yoga pose. This part is entertaining for all!
I used this social skills game when I was working as a school psychologist. This game also comes in a school version. To play, players take turns moving about the board and drawing and answering questions on community cards. Cards cover several different categories, including: library, police and fire stations, hospital, courthouse, city hall, park, grocery store, restaurants, etc. This game never fails to prompt important conversations that cover not only social skills but problem solving and life skills.
More cooperative games for little gameschoolers
Here are some wonderful non-competitive games for little ones. These games help to build teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship.
Cooperative games for older kids
Here are some top cooperative games for the entire family:
Do you use educational games in your homeschool?
Be sure to check out these related posts:
- How to Choose the Perfect Game
- The Best Books for Little Gameschoolers
- Finding Time to Play
- 10 Tips for a Successful Family Game Night
- Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling with Games
- How to Grow Gamers Using Amazing Gateway Games
- How to Enjoy Board Games With Toddlers Underfoot
- How to Enjoy Board Games with Kids Who Fight … And Still Have Fun
- Gameschooling: Learning Through Play
- 100 Games and Picture Books for Play-Based Learning
- Gameschool Resources
Do you love Gameschooling?
I rely heavily on educational games in our homeschool. Read more here:
Now, it’s your turn. Are your children competitive or non-competitive? Do you have a cooperative game to add to this list? Share here!
This post has been part of the iHomeschool Network summer 2015 Hopscotch. Click the image above to read more fantastic series posts!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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