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Games to Teach Young Children the Concept of Giving

by Sarah Cairoli

Giving is a difficult concept for young children who are just starting to realize that they are not the center of the universe. Understanding that giving to others without expecting anything in return can be rewarding is hard for preschoolers who are reluctant even to share their toys. Reading books about giving and demonstrating sharing during play dates can introduce young children to the idea of giving. However, young kids often learn best when they are playing and having fun. A number of games are available to teach young children the concept of giving.

Play Games

Any board game or card game will teach young children to take turns, which reinforces the concept of sharing. In order to understand the concept of giving, children need to have a willingness to share and empathize with others. Basic turn-taking gives them the opportunity to practice these skills while having fun. Choose simple and age-appropriate games, such as Candy Land and Uno, that move at a quick pace so no one gets bored while waiting for their turn. Praising kids who willingly give others a turn helps them learn the value in caring for other people.

Sorting Games

Learning to give to others teaches children the importance of altruistic behavior. Ask your child to play a sorting game and begin cleaning out the dreaded closet. The contents of a young child’s closet can be sorted in any number of ways and your child will enjoy deciding how to group objects, by type, size, shape or color. Ask your child to pick a couple of items that she no longer uses and sort them into a pile to be handed down to another child or donated to charity. It will be easier for her to part with a couple of items when she can look at all of the things she gets to keep.

Play Outside

Young children look to their parents and caregivers to set examples, so it is important that adults model charitable behavior. Head outside as a family and see if any neighbors are in need of help. Kids love playing outside and can be taught the concept of giving by helping a neighbor rake leaves or pull weeds. Turn raking into a scavenger hunt and challenge kids to find leaves of varying colors and sizes as they help pile them up. A few leaps into the leaf pile before the leaves are hauled away will add to the excitement. Weeding can become a race to see who can get the most weeds the fastest. Your neighbors will appreciate the help, and your kids will have fun providing it.

Have a Party

Kids love to have fun playing with their friends, and they always get excited about a party. Try having a party that encourages your child, and all of his guests, to give to others. Have a party with an animal theme and ask that all of your guests bring a small food donation for the local animal shelter. Children relate well to animals and bringing their gifts to shelter pets will give them experience helping others in need. Turning your party into a book drive for the local library or a food drive for the local food bank can also get kids thinking about charity.

About the Author

Sarah Cairoli began her writing career in 2002, as a reporter for the "High Country Independent Press" in Belgrade, Mont. She then spent two years writing and editing for an online publishing company, and earned her master's degree in English from Northern Arizona University. Cairoli also writes for "Bozeman Magazine."

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