It is essential to encourage collaboration through various games and activities in order to allow children to forge meaningful relationships. Through sharing, team building, and cooperation, children learn to respect others. While it can be challenging to engage children in collaborative games, there are various activities that teachers have tested based on curriculum games that allow for children to have distinct roles while also helping and playing with one another.
Simple games can serve as great opportunities for children to play and explore opportunities together. Outdoor activities can be great for children to exercise their motor skills while cooperating with their peers. For example, outdoors car wash activities, where children can work together to operate the car wash by taking on different roles. Creating artful collaborations can also help children develop their creative thinking skills; table painting, creating murals, or building something with play dough can achieve this.
When children have friends over or are playing with their siblings, it is best to provide toys and games that can be easily shared and work well within small groups. Toys that lead to cooperative play can be musical instruments, cards, children’s books, and dress-up clothes for pretend play.
Research shows that children develop important skills through make-believe, such as strengthening their social skills, learning to share, and cooperate with others. Pretend play is not just fun, it builds on social and emotional skills, such as learning how to take turns, take responsibility, and creatively problem solve. During pretend play children also improve their language skills by repeating words they heard. This type of activity also provides children with critical thinking skills, which they use to solve problems during pretend play.