At all three of our Kids Villa Learning Center locations — Germantown, Urbana, and Waring Station Road — we play games every day! Play is a vital part of a child’s development, and our curriculum is designed around intentional play. That means we teach a variety of skills, from math to social development, all in the context of play. 

You can do the same at home! Today’s blog is the first in a series in which we’ll be sharing some of our favorite games for teaching different skills. This post is devoted to games that teach collaboration. Continue reading to learn more, and if you’re interested in our learning center curriculum or would like to schedule a tour of one of our child care centers, contact us today!

Puzzles

Puzzles are great for independent play, but they’re also an excellent way to teach collaborative play! At our Germantown, Waring Station Road, and Urbana learning centers, we love when children are working together to piece together a puzzle. When they are working collaboratively, they often remain engaged for longer periods of time and are more likely to complete the puzzle.

Parachute

Parachute is more of a game to play in the park or in a learning center than at home, but if you happen to have access to one it’s a great game to play at a birthday party or picnic! Most people think that parachute games are just good for younger children, but they’re actually great for kids of all ages and are a good way to teach collaboration between older and younger children. 

There are tons of games to play with the parachute, and this is a great resource to explore activities. We personally like having children try to make large and small waves, create a circus tent by raising the parachute and taking steps into the center, then sitting on the edge to create a tent that all the children are sitting in. You can also call children’s names and have them run across the parachute before it comes down and tags them. The possibilities are endless, and it’s fun when children start inventing their own games and playing independently.

Team hide and seek

This version of hide and seek involves children hiding in groups of two or three rather than on their own. The children must discuss among themselves where to hide and work together to stay concealed. It can lead to lots of giggling and is a great way to teach collaboration! Whoever is found first becomes the seeker in the next round. 

Zoom

Zoom is a fun, collaborative story game. You’ll need the picture books  “Zoom” and “Re-Zoom” by Istvan Banyai. If you’re feeling creative, though, you can make your own set of sequential images that tell a story. The goal is to have the children put their images in order to tell a story.

You randomly pass out a picture to each child in the group, but they aren’t allowed to show that picture to anyone else. Instead, they describe what is on their page and put themselves in order based on what they know about other people’s images and their own. After the children think they’re in the right order, you have them flip over the images and tell the story themselves, step by step.

The great part of this game is that you can tell a story in many different ways using the images, and there is no ‘right’ way to do it. It’s also not just for learning centers and children, you can play with adults if you need an icebreaker! 

Friendship Chain

Materials: different colors of construction paper with pre-drawn lines for cutting strips and some without (depending on skill level); tape; scissors

In this activity, children decorate and cut their strips and they are linked together to represent their community. We like to have children complete the entire activity themselves, by helping each other tape the strips into the links in the chain. Afterwards, we give the children a chance to share why they decorated their strip the way they did and how the chain represents their friendship with one another. 

Kids Villa Learning Center

Our childcare center’s motto is “caring and learning go hand in hand” and we practice it every single day! We are committed to providing high-quality child care to our community at an affordable price. We’re also proud to be accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education. We are dedicated to providing a full array of different supports that will help every child learn in their own unique way. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of our children, ethnically, racially, linguistically, mentally, physically, and developmentally. Learn more about our programs and teaching philosophy.  

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