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Cooperative Play game suggestions

  • 1.  Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-12-2021 12:34 PM
    Good morning,
    I'm looking for suggestions for cooperative play games. Some background: I run a small preschool and homeschool co-op from my home. I currently have 8 students. Of those 8, 2 of them have very strong personalities and refuse to share toys or are constantly taking toys and manipulatives from each other. Of course this results in frustration and tears. Can you suggest some games that might encourage sharing and being a good friend? We played hot potato last week and it went really well.

    Kari Schwartz
    Owner and Primary Teacher
    Shalom Private Academy
    Aubrey TX

  • 2.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 07:00 AM
    Good morning Kari,

    A few years ago I was introduce to an activity to help to students learn to share. You sit(or stand) in a circle and pass a teddy bear from child to child. Each child will “take it, hug it, past on”. I would start with an item that is huggable but not coveted by any one student and have everyone recite the mantra “take it, hug it, pass it on” as each child is participating in the activity. If you practice it then this becomes a direction later when someone needs to give up an item. It can lay the groundwork for sharing, distributing items. I also use it for having a turn to share comments in my large group meetings. We “take it, tell me, pass it on”. It works great! I teach preK 4 but have seen it work with younger children as well. Just to be clear, I have not used this strategy during COVID since we have not been using soft toys but I believe if the children wash hands before the activity it should be a safe game to play. Good Luck!


  • 3.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-14-2021 09:07 AM

    Hi Annie,
    That idea for the pass it on activity seems like a sweet idea for a cooperative game and including a mantra. I think, though, it does get confusing for children to be asked to "share" when it's really "taking turns". This is sing the teddy is turn-taking. Sharing is done when something can be divided- you have some and I have some, as in sharing playdoh or blocks. There may be only one red marker - then we take turns with it. The language the educator uses should reflect what the action or behavior is so it is clear to the child - taking turns implies you will get it back. That's very different from "sharing".

    I hope this is helpful. 


    Marilyn Brink
    Education and Program Consultant
    Mary Crane Center
    Saint Charles IL

  • 4.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 08:52 AM
    This is an oldie but goodie… "Pass the Bean Bag" song:

    Once the children are familiar with the song's prompts it's a fun way to learn turn taking. It takes a few times to catch on, but trust the process and have fun!


    Marie Marks
    Early Childhood Coordinator
    Children's Village
    Philadelphia PA

  • 5.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-16-2021 05:35 PM
    Thank you for sharing!

    Anita Sassi
    Launch & Learn
    Medford MA

  • 6.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 08:54 AM
    Good morning,
    How old are the children? One thing I found helpful is reading a short story with visuals on asking for a turn.  Social skills play a key role in young children. Some may not know how to ask for a toy or join in play.

    Wendy Fletcher
    EHS Home Visitor
    Family Forum Inc.
    Bayfield WI

  • 7.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 09:11 AM

    I would recommend checking out the peacable kingdom board game series, I used them with my students because it is set up as players versus game instead of player versus player so everyone works together.

    Ayana Blackey
    Lead Teacher-Preschool
    Community Action Project (CAP)
    Tulsa OK

  • 8.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 10:39 AM
    This sounds like pretty normal behavior for this age if you're talking about three- and four-year-olds, especially if they have been forced to share in the past. Children who are forced to share don't truly understand what sharing is and tend to behave the way you've described here longer than children who are not forced to share. How are the adults currently handling this when it happens?  What are the adults doing and saying?

    Cathy McAuliffe, PhD
    Adjunct Professor
    NorthWest Arkansas Community College
    Bentonville, Arkansas

  • 9.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 11:27 AM
    We enjoyed "Musical Shares" which is played like the "chairs" version EXCEPT a child can have another child on his/her lap or 3 children on 2 chairs etc. so no one is out. We did a few musical rounds before removing another chair and only went down to a safe number of chairs relative to number of players (NOT 2 chairs for 16 children). Since preschoolers tend to like repetition, we'd just start again. It was like the children were winning and the game was losing. (this was pre-covid when proximity was not an issue)

    Vicki Knauerhase M.Ed.
    Child Development Specialist (retired)
    Weston OH

  • 10.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 11:50 AM
    We play roll the ball, making a circle and sitting down. They must say the person's name and then roll the ball to that person. Only the person whose name is called can bet the ball. After they roll the ball they stand up. Can only roll to those sitting. Then we will bounce the ball, roll between our legs backwards, throw, etc.

    Karen Ritter
    Good Shepherd Preschool
    Eldora IA

  • 11.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-13-2021 08:16 PM
    Try games by Peaceable Kingdom. My students loved them!

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 12.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-14-2021 10:28 AM
    Hi Kari,

    I've found that the best way to promote sharing is to empower the kids to share.  For example if there is a toy/material that one child has and another wants, first make the child aware that another child wants a turn or wants some of the materials. "Look at your friend, he would like a turn when you are done" or "Look at your friend, she would like to use the paint just like you, I wonder if you could both use it?".  Then tell the child to be sure to give his/her friend a turn when they are done or to share some of the materials to the other child when they are ready.  When empowered I have found that they will very quickly share or give up the toy when given the power to do so when they are ready.  In teaching preschool and kindergarten I found that in time this became habitual for the kids and soon kids would ask by saying,"May I have that when you're done?".  Sharing is really about power, when empowered most kids will readily take turns and share. Hope this helps!

    Mary Beth

    Mary Hendrick
    Lancaster PA

  • 13.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-14-2021 01:29 PM
    We used to sing (to the tune of the ABC song):

    Can I have it when you're done?
    Playing with it looks like fun!
    You can have it when I'm through,
    That is what a friend will do!

    Vicki Knauerhase M.Ed.
    Child Development Specialist (retired)
    Weston OH

  • 14.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-14-2021 03:19 PM
    I have used a variety of cooperative play games with children. Anything that requires they work together and or take turns doing an actions. Here are a few:
    Roll Painting (LARGE GROUP) - place papers in the bottom of a plastic kiddy pool. Add tennis balls and drops of paint. 2-4 children hold the edges of the pool. They have to work together to move the balls around and paint the pictures.
    Parachute Play
    Passing Games - roll a ball back and forth to each other. This one is great for toddler and younger preschoolers. It teaches the basics of your turn, my turn.

    For older kids there are a variety of cooperative board games such as Race to the Treasure!

    Christina Roseli M.Ed
    Quality Care Coach
    Ventura, CA

  • 15.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-15-2021 11:51 AM

    These aren't necessarily for sharing but are great for self-regulation which is a key component of sharing!  Great videos, 5 games in each video:

    5 Incredibly Fun GAMES to Teach Self-Regulation (Self-Control) | Social Emotional Learning


    5 (More) Self Regulation Games and Activities | Social Emotional Learning


    Sarah Garczynski, M.Ed.
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    Salem, OR

  • 16.  RE: Cooperative Play game suggestions

    Posted 09-15-2021 12:58 PM
    My teacher was the head of the preschool state division and she rates preschools, she told us to get or buy multiples of toys for u can avoid that, singing sharing songs, or painting or doing arts and crafts together and showing it to the class