How many times have you heard the saying “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”? When it comes down to it, the big picture is learning how to work as a team, how to share, come together and how to cooperate. Now parents can incorporate this important life lesson into playtime with a new line of fun and whimsical cooperative board games by Peaceable Kingdom.
“With appealing names like Count Your Chickens and Hoot Owl Hoot kids quickly learn to play against a common obstacle – like the fox in the hen house – instead of a playmate. No longer will sensitive children be reduced to tears after losing a board game. Playing cooperative games allows youngsters to work as a team: sharing, strategizing and building healthy relationships. The bonus comes if the whole team wins. If they lose, the defeat is shared among the players.” – Peaceable Kingdom
Cooperative Games Explained (video)
We were sent “Mermaid Island“, a game that challenges the players to safely return all the mermaids to their home before the Sea Witch gets there. By taking turns and collectively deciding which mermaids should be advanced and when to use the magic wands, together everyone has a role in the outcome of the game. My 4-year old loved Mermaid Island and it was very obvious that she enjoyed playing as my teammate opposed to playing against me, even though she almost always wins when we play games together. She seemed more excited about winning with me, she took pride in being able to “help” me win with her. Aside from the teamwork, she also liked the concept of the game and thought the challenge of having to avoid the Sea Witch was exciting, thrilling even. I haven’t had a chance to see her play the game with a peer yet, but with summer vacation almost here, I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of “Mermaid Island” shortly. It’s going to be nice to hear “we won” for a change instead of whining about who cheated, who played wrong and who’s sad about losing.
Each of the Peaceable Kingdom cooperative games are designed for children between the ages of 3 and 5+ and none of them require more than 20 minutes from beginning to end. There are themes that both girls and boys would enjoy and they all offer educational lessons.
- Lost Puppies: Ages 5+ – Bring all the puppies safely home before sundown being cautious of obstacles in the road. Linear thinking and strategy are learned in this game. Ideal for 2-6 players. One game lasts about 20 minutes.
- Mermaid Island: Ages 5+ – Get all the mermaids home safely before the Sea Witch gets there! This game introduces children to shared decision making and aids in emotional development. Ideal for 2-6 players. One game lasts about 20 minutes.
- Count Your Chickens: Ages 3+ – Players must work together to help Mother Hen collect her chicks and bring them back to the coop, but keep an eye out for the fox! Players take turns counting aloud and collecting the number of chicks together. No reading required. Ideal for 2-4 players. One game lasts about 10-15 minutes.
- Hoot Owl Hoot: Ages 4+ – Together, kids have to move all the owls back to their nest before sun rises. Color recognition, simple strategy and problem solving are all a part of this “hoot-larious” game. No reading required. Ideal for 2-4 players. One game lasts about 15 minutes.
- Stone Soup: Ages 5+ – From the classic take of cooperation, players work together to “cook” the soup by making matches. Ideal for up to 6 players. This memory game takes about 15 minutes to play.