Cooperative play at a distance

Cooperative play is so important for children’s development. It helps them learn invaluable social, emotional and cognitive skills that they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

Through cooperative play, children can learn all about the importance of working together to achieve goals, how to navigate problems and function in tricky social situations.

But, in a world where COVID-19 has forced us to be apart, how can you help your children engage in cooperative play?

There are lots of great games and exciting activities that you can enjoy with your child and their friends. The new 1m social distancing rules makes it much easier for children to play together.

Use some of the ideas below to encourage cooperative play while keeping everyone safe in your local public playground.

Newcomen Primary school playground

Shared story time

Sit everyone down so they can see and hear each other while adhering to the correct social distance. Then, take it in turns to say a word or sentence and work together to write a story and get imaginations flowing. This is a great activity to play as it doesn’t require any preparation time.

Treasure hunt

Give all the children in your care a specific item they need to find in your local park playground. These items will combine to unlock the secret treasure box filled with a surprise! If you don’t want to hide things specifically around the park, you can ask them to find things that are already there, like stones, leaves, flowers etc.

Follow the leader

Follow the leader is an old game, but a great one! Assign a ‘leader’ who will do a series of actions for everyone else to copy. Children can all stay in their own space throughout the entire activity and they can learn to take turns as well as following instructions as they play together.

Pop the bubbles

Everyone loves to play with bubbles! Assign each child a popping zone they’re responsible for so they can all contribute to the popping without getting too close to each other. Blow lots of different sized bubbles into the air and let children race after them in their zones.

Make up a dance

Encourage your children to get funky and throw some shapes! They can work together to create a dance routine, mirroring and complementing each other’s movements. Parents can gather together to watch the show once the routine has been perfected!

bubbles in the park for children to pop

girl drawing on a playground chalkboard

Draw a picture

If your playground has a whiteboard or chalkboard, get everyone involved in drawing a picture. Children must go up to the board and draw something to help build up the whole image. This can be parts of a monster, fantasy castle, beach scene…anything you can think of!

Blindfold game

First, after making sure they’re happy to play, blindfold one child. The others must take it in turns to give them careful instructions to help the blindfolded child reach a pre-specified location in the park. For safety, the instructions need to be simple, like “walk forward three steps” and there should be no obstacles in the way.

We hope this has given you a few ideas to encourage collaborative play while allowing children to stay at a safe distance from each other. What are your favourite collaborative games? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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