In a different post, I wrote about avoiding and solving conflicts through play. One of the things I wrote about was how I had encouraged my boys to work together as a team. I received a lot of feedback and questions about other ways to encourage siblings to work together.
Here are five games that promote team work among siblings:
*The Basket Race: Set a laundry basket full of toys and books that were scattered around in the middle of the room. Set a timer and then challenge siblings to empty out the contents and put them away in the right places before the timer goes off. When the timer goes off celebrate the team victory or ask if the siblings need “overtime” and try again. This is a great way to get the room clean, promote cooperation and team work! Adding the overtime option takes away the stress and competition and focuses just on the accomplishment in the end.
*Obstacle Course: Set up a simple obstacle course using a few pillows, ropes, a play tunnel and boxes. Encourage siblings to get through the course in funny ways such as holding hands, touching elbows or with a balloon between children. The sillier the better and in the end the goal is just to laugh and have fun not necessarily to make it through the full course at a certain speed or ahead of each other.
*Sand Pulley: Using small buckets, some play sand, a rope and something like an outdoor stair case or balcony create sand pulley system. Encourage siblings to pull the buckets up and over a certain height. Encourage siblings to work together so the sand doesn’t spill. To make it harder or easier you can regulate the weight of the buckets by adding or removing some sand. My boys also enjoy placing figurines inside the buckets and taking them for “elevator rides.”
*Building Blocks: Playing with building blocks to make towers and cities can be a great way for siblings to figure out sharing, exchanging ideas and working together. Letting the children take the lead, observe if they divide the blocks into separate piles and build alone or if they build together. Encouraging siblings to build the tallest possible tower or a very long trail of blocks all around the room can be a great starting point to this open ended activity.
*Hide & Seek: A great game to create a playful “us vs. parents” team, encourage siblings to hide together and later to seek together. While playing you can express how the “team” is so hard to find or how fast they can find you when working together.
For any of these games I find it important to highlight team accomplishments with simple observations such as “I can see you are working together” or “that looks like a team effort” and try to avoid praise which can spark tensions among siblings.
Peace & Be Well,
Do you have a game idea that focuses on team work? How does it work?