Teamwork is something which doesn’t always come easily to children, but it is an attribute which parents should always try to encourage their kids to learn. Teamwork skills are an important aspect of life, and could be considered one of the most important aptitudes children need to develop. For example, if your children plan on joining any school clubs or extracurricular activities as they grow older, such as football or dance, then they will need to learn how best to work alongside other people. Working with others is also a crucial aspect of a lot of academic assignments, and will be vital for them once they reach an age where they will enter the working world.
Teamwork is an all-encompassing term which includes skills such as communication, compromise, empathy, and relationship building. Engaging in effective cooperation with their peers also requires children to learn respect for others, self-confidence, and leadership skills. As you can see, these are vital skills for everyone of any age to put into practice. However, these aren’t skills that you can simply encourage children to implement through talking: they have to be learned over time through active participation. If you are unsure of what activities you can do with your children to teach them the importance of teamwork, then here are a few fun ideas to get you started.
Scavenger hunts provide a fun activity for children which can last up to a few hours, depending on different children’s capabilities. Scavenger hunts highlight the importance of teamwork in children, as their ability to work together will be important to complete the hunt in the shortest time possible. Provide a friendly competitive element, and split them into different groups, to really get them to start banding together as a team. They will work out for themselves the benefits of such things like division of labor, leadership skills, active communication and compromise, all while having fun in the process. Use whatever space you have available, whether that be indoors or outdoors, and either place items around the space, or allow them to find things which were already there to begin with. Provide a list, or make it even more exciting and challenging by creating riddles for them to crack. It can also be fun to make scavenger hunts seasonal, such as hiding Easter eggs in April, or tree decorations at Christmas.
Escape Games are role-playing games where people have to solve puzzles, crack clues and seek out information in order to escape a room, or solve a mystery, in a limited amount of time. Escape games can be played by teams of up to eight people, and can provide fun for the whole family as there is no age limit, so long as anyone under 14 is accompanied by an adult or guardian. There are lots of different scenarios available, so you can choose one which most suits your family: Perhaps you all want to play international spies sent undercover to find a missing associate, or maybe you are all hostages who have been kidnapped and need to escape from an undisclosed location before it’s too late. Everyone will need to work together to solve puzzles and figure out difficult riddles in order to escape the room in an hour or less. This is a safe and fun environment to get thrill-seeking children to see the importance of teamwork and start to use their communication skills effectively.
A lot of adventure activity centers provide spaces for children to engage in team activities that they might not be able to access elsewhere. A great example of this is raft building, where teams are given all the materials they will need to build a functioning raft, and have to work together to create the most buoyant vessel that they can. They are often then required to test it out by doing a relay race over shallow water, and the winning team is the one with the most stable raft that completes the exercise in the quickest time. If you don’t have access to centers like this near to you, then there are similar activities that you can organize by yourself, and participate in as a family. Why not head into nature and work with the children to create a den in amongst the trees. This is easy enough to do using a forked tree branch and fallen sticks. This will allow the children to work together in collecting materials and figuring out how they want their den to look. If you want a more long-term project to work on with older children, then why not start constructing a treehouse together in the backyard. You can work as a team to create the design, and the children can help out with the building process, although you may have to take on the more difficult, risky elements yourself.
There are plenty of games you can play as a family to encourage teamwork in children, and to build closer bonds within your household. Simple games such as charades are great for teaching good communication skills, especially non-verbal communication skills for the performer, and listening skills for people who are guessing. Human Knot is a fun game to play, and this game involves everyone holding hands and attempting to untangle themselves without letting go. This requires players to talk with one another and work together. Team sports are great for encouraging individuals to work out their own strengths and compromise as a team to suit. Often people will start to display leadership skills in team sports, as well as learn to take instructions from others. Capture the Flag is a great team game for children to participate in, as they will need to think tactically to come up with a strategy between them, and work out how best to beat the opposition. Conventional sports such as ruby, football and basketball will also be beneficial in helping children develop teamwork skills.
Find different ways to regularly incorporate these sorts of exercises into your child’s routine, at it won’t be long before they are showing signs of being the ultimate team player!