You can help your child and his friends learn about teamwork from an early age with fun, simple games and activities you can organize in your backyard, at the park or even in your recreation room. Instead of focusing on competition, emphasize the importance of working together and sharing responsibilities, and reward the entire group for its team-building efforts.
Building Block Challenge
Encourage your young group to work together and share ideas with a fun building project where the kids can build anything they like. Keep in mind that creativity is key. Have the group work as a single team if you have a small group of youngsters, or divide the group into teams of two to four children. Give each group a giant bucket of building blocks -- plastic or wooden blocks are just fine -- and have them use their imaginations to create any structure they would like. They can make a building, a dinosaur or a building block amusement park. Encourage the kids to share ideas to each contribute to the project, and then work together to incorporate each other's ideas, not just their own.
Have your young group learn about teamwork by expending a little pent-up energy and building team spirit at the same time. Play a game of Ball Drop where the object of the game is to keep a beach ball off the floor. Have the kids stand in a circle and take turns hitting the ball up in the air -- no one child may hit the ball twice in a row. You can set a goal, such as keeping the ball up in the air for so many seconds or hits, or play a few rounds and encourage your young team to challenge itself to keep it up longer. If you don't want the group tossing the ball around in the air, have the kids sit in a wide circle with plenty of space in between each child. The goal is to roll the ball back and forth across the circle, while preventing it from escaping through the gaps in between the kids. There's still plenty of teamwork and movement going on, but you can play this game with any type of ball because it stays on the floor.
Create age-appropriate obstacle courses to encourage team-building among your youngsters, but this obstacle course comes with a twist. Each team must navigate the obstacle course while maintaining contact, such as holding hands, with their teammates, at all times. Set up simple obstacles in the backyard, such as hula hoops to hop along, pillows to climb over and boxes to crawl through. Divide the group into teams of three to four kids, have them grasp hands and race through the course. Instead of congratulating the team that finishes first, provide a little award for all the teams for working so well together. You can play the same team-building game indoors on cold or rainy days, but make sure there is plenty of space or modify the course to ensure there are no collisions.
Help your child and her young friends learn how to work together while following a set of directions. You can divide the group or have the children work as a single team. Have the kids grasp hands with the child next to them and then play a group game of Simon Says. Start with a warm-up -- no “Simon Says" commands just yet -- as you give your instructions, such as hop three times, move three steps forward or touch your toes, and have the kids follow the instruction without releasing hands. When they're comfortable following directions together, start incorporating “Simon Says," into the game. If you're playing in a large space, divide the group into teams of three to four children and have each group stand in a different corner of the room. Call out action words, such as hop, skip or tiptoe, to move the teams to the center of the room.
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