The Benefits of Cooperative Games for Children
Cooperative games are games in which competitiveness disappears and cooperation reigns. The fundamental objective of these games is teamwork and helping one another to achieve a common goal. These games have many uses, but one of their main advantages is that they help build relationships among participants.
Therefore, the use of cooperative games is common in activities where a group is just beginning to form. Or, in a situation where an already established group needs to deepen its union. These games increase pro-social abilities, including the ability to share and to be kind.
Cooperative games promote trust through supportive collaboration. They help to achieve common objectives in a fun and playful context. What’s more, they help to leave aside individualist practices and competition so that education is more useful. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of these activities.
Cooperative games reduce violence in small children
These games are an excellent tool for reducing violence among small children. This is evident in the study Cooperative Games in Young Children: A Way to Modify Aggression conducted by April Bay Hinitz in 1994 at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Cooperative games are just as much a form of cooperative learning as they are, of course, a type of game. Currently, there are many studies that document the benefits of cooperative learning.
The benefits of cooperative learning include the possibility of a greater mastering of education content. It also helps to reduce control and discipline problems in the classroom. What’s more, studies have shown that play is an essential part of a child’s mental health and intellectual development.
Therefore, cooperative play has all the benefits of cooperative learning, plus the added benefit of play itself.
Research has also shown that cooperative games are also very useful in therapeutic situations to improve communication abilities in autistic and socially excluded children. Children on the autism spectrum don’t develop social imitation games and creative activities in the same way as neurotypical children. Therefore, cooperative games are very useful for them.
Creating feelings of belonging through cooperative games
Cooperative games are inclusive and, therefore, have the ability to promote feelings of belonging within a group. The importance of a sense of belonging when it comes to academic achievement has been widely documented in various studies. These include a study that Geoffrey Cohen conducted in Stanford.
Fun through cooperative games
The fun and happiness that these games offer are emotions that are becoming more and more valuable and important in educational settings. Think, for example, of the United Nations Declaration of Children’s Rights about the right to play. Positive psychology is also starting to document the value of happiness in human health.
Cooperative games help promote empathy because they possess the underlying ethics of mutual care and concern. This goes against the personal individualism that so characterizes our society.
Say goodbye to competitiveness
These games offer a much needed break from the need to compete. Studies have widely shown that competition has many disadvantages for children. It increases anxiety and reduces feelings of equality.
The greater part of educational systems are based on structured competition. This is what makes cooperative games so important – to get away and take a rest from excessive competitiveness .
When adults offer children the opportunity to play in a cooperative context, we’re sending the message that cooperation is a valuable and important social norm. Therefore, these games help to promote a positive social climate that feels safer and more comfortable for children.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Gregory M. Walton, Geoffrey Lawrence Cohen. (2011). A Brief Social-Belonging Intervention Improves Academic and Health Outcomes of Minority Students. Science.
- April Bay Hinitz. (1994). Cooperative Games in Young Children: A Way to Modify Aggression. Universidad de Nevada, Reno.