June 5, 2017
Sometimes as parents, we get wrapped up in ensuring that our kids have everything they need to build academic skills that we forget to emphasize some of the most important skills we can teach our children: how to behave and work with others. By incorporating these fun good behavior games into our child’s weekly routine, you can rest easy knowing that you’re nurturing the whole child.
Cheer Up, Buttercup!
The Cheer-Up Game is great for building ever-important empathy skills. Children often struggle to realize how others feel, but this game will help them to imagine what it might be like to feel something that others feel. This game is great to play with all your children, or even their friends.
Supplies You’ll Need:
A variety of props such as play doctor’s tools, plastic food, plastic cups with straws, a teddy bear, or anything that might cheer someone up!
Large pieces of colored or construction paper
Crayons or markers.
How to play:
On the paper, help your child draw a series of faces with different emotions. Help your child draw a sad face, angry face, sick, worried, etc. All the faces should appear unhappy, since your child (or children) are tasked with cheering them up!
- Fold the papers, and put them in a large basket to mix them up.
- Taking turns, instruct a child to randomly choose a paper to unfold. That child will then pretend to be the person in the picture, mimicking their emotion. For instance, if he or she chooses a sick face, they might pretend to act as if they’re sick.
- The other players’ job is to cheer that child up! Guide them to ask questions to find out what’s wrong, asking how they might help. Using the props, the players will work together to cheer up the child who picked the picture out of the basket. Afterwards, the other players will take a turn to pick from the basket and act out the emotion they pick. In doing this, all children involved will work important empathy skills as they both mimic the emotion, and attend to others’ needs.
Train building games are great to build teamwork, as they work cooperatively at a common goal.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Several large child-sized boxes
- Art supplies to decorate the train, including different shapes to use as windows
- Paper plates for wheels
- Any other prop or item to decorate, like ribbon, glitter glue, etc.
How to play:
This one is simple! Your child, with sibling or friends, will come together to create a train out of the boxes you provided. Encourage all the kids to create a plan for designing and decorating their train, and watch as they put their plan into action! Using the art supplies, have your children create their own unique train, finishing it up with wheels and train windows. When finished, they’ll want to hop inside their train cars for a fantastically fun imaginary train ride!
A Childhood Staple: The Hot and Cold Game
Here’s a game that can be played with multiple children, or just you and your child. The Hot and Cold Game will encourage cooperation. Instead of focusing on competition, this game is great because it helps players to support others and their success.
How to play:
- Choose a player to be the “the hider”, and one to be “the looker”.
- The hider will choose an object, like a stuffed animal or a doll. That player will hide the object somewhere in the room, while any other players are not looking.
- Once ready, the looker will go around the room to find the object. The hider will encourage the other by saying “hot” or “cold” to indicate how close they are to the object. Kids can always modify what they say by using different voice inflections, or saying phrases like, “you’re getting colder” to help aid the player looking for the object.
- Once the looker finds the object, celebrate together! Afterwards, all players should have a chance to play both “the hider” and “the looker”.
There is a plethora of similar games your child can play to build essential behavioral skills. By mixing these friendly fun games into their repertoire of daily activities, you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing everything you can to grow your child both academically and as a polite and caring individual.