6 Fun Cooperative Games for Kids

Through cooperative games kids learn to think and work with one another as they apply skills learned to accomplish the goals of their group or team. These games are always fun to develop and play and have the effect of bringing children together. While competitive games focus a lot on losing or winning, cooperative games are all about the success of the whole team.  They give all children involved a chance to be winners.

What’s in a Name?

(for kids in grades 1-3)

While kids at any age or grade can play the game, there’ll be variations. For kids in grade one through three this game is effective to help them bond together at the start of a new school year or term.  In this cooperative game the pupils are grouped in pairs or with partners where one has to talk about the surname or first name of their partner. It starts with one of the two in a pair telling the other what their name is and its meaning. After sharing names and meaning, the kids should be allowed to share a little more about their names. Kids should be encouraged to talk about their unique names, how they are spelled, whether they hold any special symbolism, why they were given the name, the meaning of the name in other cultures/languages and whom they were named after.

One individual should tell all this information in two minutes before allowing the other to do the same. They should be encouraged to pay as much attention as possible throughout the game. After the two have shared names, two pairs should be joined together to form a team of four kids; each partner in a pair has to introduce their partner to the other pair until everyone knows each other.  Kids should be encouraged to tell as much as possible about the name of their partner.

“MAX” – A CO-OPERATIVE GAME


Family Pastimes Max (Cooperative Board Game)

  • Players work together to get the creatures safely home before Max the cat gets them
  • Children learn to use logic, consultation and cooperative decision making in an exciting way
  • For 1 to 8 players ages 4 through 7 years

A cooperative game available for sale, it’s great for kids 4-7 years of age and accommodates 1-8 players. The kids have to learn to work as a team to ensure the creatures have arrived home safely before they are attacked by Max the ferocious cat. The game calls upon the mind of the kids to make cooperative decisions, consult and use logic in the most exciting ways. It’s made using child safe paints, water-based glues, soy-based inks, recycled papers and boards.

Capture the Flag

Among elementary kids Capture the Flag is one of the most popular games. In this game the idea is to have players from one side making way into the territory of the opposing team to take their flag and make way back to their own space without being tagged in the process. Pylons and a flag are required materials and best played outdoors. It can be played for 10 to 15 minutes every time or until a given team/group has accomplished a specific score. In the game the playground is divided into two with each team on either side. The kids need to create two teams, each team on their zone. Every team should have a flag, made from a light material such as fabric and easy to carry around by one kid. Each flag has to be placed at the back of the zone of every team where it’s visible to the opposing side. On a part of their zone each team should create a ‘jail’.  The game starts by having all kids lining up at the periphery of their area.

Once a whistle is blown they should go to the zone of their opposing side and try to take their flag while avoiding being tagged. Those tagged while in the opposing side’s zone are put in the jail and only get out if tagged by a teammate. If the flag is taken and ferried to the other zone next to the other team’s flag the team has either scored some points or won. However, the rule of the game is that while defending their flag a team cannot remain standing around to guard it. The defending team has to be a minimum of five meters from the flag at any time.

Race to the Treasure!


Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure! Award Winning Beat the Ogre…

  • WE WIN TOGETHER: Build a path with your team and collect 3 keys on a race to beat ogre to the treasure! It’s a game…
  • FUN CHALLENGE: Kids love working together to beat the ogre. Players strategize, cooperate & build the path together….
  • BENEFITS:Cooperative games cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, positive self esteem, creative…

This award winner is a cooperative game for 2-4 children from five years old and above. It offers a chance for kids to lean the art of strategy, grid mathematical concepts and critical social development tenets and skills with zero reading needed.  The game involves players working as a team to reach the treasure before the ogre by developing a path from the beginning right to the end.   If the kids are successful the victory is celebrated as a team.  The game has a Play Advances Learning approval seal and won the Oppenheim Portfolio Toy Platinum award.

15 Seconds

One of the most entertaining and fun way of letting kids know about one another, this cooperative game helps everyone to learn how to think fast on their feet. You only need a list with specific questions and a timer. Essentially, every kid should sit down, forming a circle. A question is picked and every person has to answer it within 15 seconds. Everyone has to be silent and if a kid answers early the person manning the timer should read out the remaining seconds.

The questions can be favorite food, favorite movies, favorite pet animal, what you do every Sunday or Saturday morning, and favorite color among others. In case you’re handling a huge group, break the kids into groups of six. You can also have a long list of questions and have one person answering their own unique question. Make the game fun by asking the kid who has just spoken to choose the next person and the question they’re to answer.

A hundred thousand men, coming one after another, cannot move a Ton weight; but the united strength of 50 would transport it with ease.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

US President

Human Knot Game

To play this game, divide players into teams, and have each team form a circle. Instruct players to hold hands with two different players, making sure that no one’s hands are joined with their closest neighbors’. Once this is done, start the game to signal that it’s time for the “knot” to begin unraveling. All hands must remain joined until the team is standing in a circle, or in two intertwined circles (Life a figure eight). Here is a link to some step by step instructions on how to set up the game.

Human Knot Game

Human Knot Game

8 Family Picnic Ideas

 

You want your family to go on a picnic together.  The weather is lovely, there is nothing on the TV and you have managed to drag the kids off the computer games.  How can you make sure your picnic is memorable?

Here are some ideas:

 

Have a picnic in your back garden.  

There is no need to travel.  Just throw down a blanket and decorate with balloons and throw around some cushions.  This is quick and a clever way to grab an hour or two with your kids.

Ban all devices and just sit and talk as a family for a short amount of time.

 

Have your picnic on a boat.  

Take a boat to the middle of a river or lake and eat as a family as you bob about on the current. There is nothing more calming than being in the middle of a body of water.  Also, Dad will become an expert in currents and how to get the most out of the boat – which can be funny to watch.

 

Encourage the Kids to Organize the Food!

Give them the freedom of the kitchen and the picnic basket.  Leave when they tell you they are happy with what they have made for you all to eat… potentially a disaster… always interesting.  I would suggest this might not be the option if you are trying to control the calories.  There is likely to be a strong emphasis on cake, chocolate and crisps… but you know you have taken this option because you want to have a day of eating this stuff too.

 

Colorful Jars of Food.

Cut up different fruit and vegetables as brightly colored as you can and fill up jars with a good variety.  These jars look awesome and are excellent to dip into as you are eating the picnic.  It really is an interesting way of getting kids to eat healthier and it keeps the food fresh and easily protected from the wildlife.

 

Make a Campfire.

Make yourself a camp fire… even though you are not camping you still want to roast marshmallows and bake potatoes at the base of the fire.  It also lovely to sit and watch as the light dims.  It will keep people out talking late into the night.  Make sure you dig a pit to build the fire it and ensure that it is completely doused with water before you leave.

 

The Snack that Smiles Back!

Give all your picnic foods faces… when you are making your sandwiches and cakes use salad and fruit to give all the food eyes, a nose and a mouth.  You could make it a competition to see who can make the funniest of faces and maybe give food names… it gets a bit brutal when you start chomping down.

 

Hide Mini Treasures

Hide mini treasure in amongst the food so that people find surprises as they eat.  I wouldn’t put these things in the food, otherwise the dentist will be busy, but in the packets.  People will have moments of excitement or feel special, even if it is just a little love note.

 

Sit and Talk

Just sit and talk and eat slowly.  This shouldn’t be unique… but in today’s world eating slowly and gently chatting is as rare as it comes.  Sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Dinner and a movie, forget that, I'd rather have a picnic and a waterfall


Amanda Grace

Swimming Workouts for Beginners

 

Swimming is a fantastic way to get fit!  It is a physical activity that works every muscle group in the body, improving both strength and endurance.  Swimming is also a low impact activity.  If you have weak knees or ankles, you will find swimming much better than other workouts like running.   

 
Other benefits of swimming include:
  •  

    It’s a great stress reliever and a very relaxing way to exercise

  •  

    Swimming will greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness

  •  

    It burns a lot of calories!

  •  

    Your muscles will become toned and your posture will improve

  •  

    It can improve your balance and coordination

  •  

    Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise in summer when it can be too hot to work out in other ways

  •  

    Because swimming is low impact, it is ideal for people with injuries

To help you get started, this article will share some fantastic swimming workouts for beginners!

 

Some General Tips Before Starting

 

Before you “dive in” here are some general tips for beginners.

 
  •  

    Make sure you have a basic level of swimming before attempting a workout.

  •  

    Swim in a safe environment like a swimming pool.  Only swim in the ocean if you are an experienced and fit swimmer.

  •  

    Don’t overdo it early on.  Swimming takes a lot of effort, particularly if you are not used to it.

  •  

    Warm up before entering the water

  •  

    Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water

 

Short Freestyle Distance Intervals

 
 

This basic workout involves swimming freestyle for short distances with breaks. Start out by swimming 25 yards at a time, with a rest period of 30 seconds between each lap.  Beginners should swim at a slow to medium pace initially.

You may benefit from using breaths instead of counting seconds.  Perform a lap, then count to 20 breaths before starting the next lap.  This will also encourage you to really use your entire lung capacity while taking your interval break.

Depending on your initial level of fitness, swim between 10 to 15 minutes when first performing freestyle intervals.  Once you are comfortable swimming 25 yards, extend the length of your interval to 50 or 75 yards and extend the time you spend swimming.  Record your personal best distances and speeds!

 

Using a KickBoard

 
 

If you are not confident enough to swim 25-yard intervals, there are a number of workouts you can perform with a kickboard and flippers.  These workouts will help you practice kicking, putting your face underwater, and breathing correctly.

Perform your stretches to start, then swim 25 yards on your side.  Hold onto the kick-board with a straight arm and rest your head on that arm.  The other arm should be straight down your side.  Have a rest, then perform another 25 yards on your other side.

Then, perform 50 yards holding onto the kickboard with both hands and looking into the water.  Turn your head to breathe, using both sides.  This exercise will get you used to kicking and breathing alternately.

Need a kickboard?  Check out the Swimming Kickboard by TYR and this Kickboard Set from TYR.

 

Endurance Swimming

 
 

Once you have started to perform intervals well, you can begin to swim longer distances.  Endurance swimming will help improve your muscle tone and stamina.

Start by performing a few warm up stretches.  Jump into the pool and swim 250 yards at a slow pace.  Take your time and concentrate on your form.  Take a 20 seconds (or 20 breaths) break.  Then swim for another 150 yards and take another 20-second break.  Finally, swim for another 50 yards.

If these distances are too long or too short, alter them to a comfortable distance.  Eventually work your way up to 500 yards or longer.  Always keep a steady pace and think about your technique — it is not about speed, it’s about how long you can swim.

 

BREASTSTROKE and Freestyle Medley

 
 

By combining these two strokes, you can give yourself a more thorough, full-body workout.  Freestyle will really push your shoulders, while breaststroke will emphasize your chest muscles.

 
  1. 1

    Start with 50 yards of freestyle at a slow pace to prepare your body.

  2. 2

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of stroke it takes you to perform each interval.  Aim to have the same amount of strokes per interval.  Afterwards, have a break of 30 seconds if you need it.

  3. 3

    Perform 4 x 50 yard intervals of breast stroke with 30 second breaks

  4. 4

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of strokes

  5. 5

    Perform 50 yards of breast stroke at a slow pace

It is a hefty beginners workout that will address many muscle groups.

 

Work on Your Speed!

 

Once you have achieved a basic level of fitness in the pool, you might be interested in seeing how fast you can go!  You can perform this workout using any type of swimming stroke.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 50 yards at a slow pace

  2. 2

    Swim 2 sets of 25 yards at a medium-fast pace to get your body ready

  3. 3

    Swim 6 x 25 yards at fast pace.  In between each 25 yards, take a full 60-120 seconds to recuperate.  Count your strokes per lap and check your times!

  4. 4

    Swim 4 x 25 yards to cool down

 

Working on Your Form

 

Maintaining correct form while swimming is crucial.  Proper form will ensure you are using the right parts of your body while swimming and maintaining maximum efficiency.  This workout is for freestyle and uses a pull buoy — a floatation device that swimmers place between their legs to give them additional buoyancy.  The pull buoy allows you to swim without kicking your legs and helps you to concentrate on your arms.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 2 x 25 yards to warm up

  2. 2

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum.  Keep your left arm straight in front of your body.  Concentrate on your shoulder rotation, pitch of your arm and the shape of your hand.

  3. 3

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards using both arms.  Concentrate on the position of your body in the water.

  4. 4

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum

  5. 5

    Using a kickboard, swim 2 x 25 yards kicking only

  6. 6

    Swim 2 x 25 yards as a cool down

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit.  Regularity is the key — if you have 4 to 5 workouts per week you will be amazed by the changes that happen to your body!

 

Winning Youth Football by Dave Cisar: A review

It is Saturday morning, and elementary and middle schoolers are suiting up for the big game across America. Helmet, check. Mouthpiece, check. Shoulder pads, check. Cleats, check. Your player is ready. The question, however, is your team's coach ready? 

The book and video series by Dave Cisar, called Winning Youth Football (WFY), is the answer to this question. Many dads have been talked into coaching their child's team, thinking it would be easy only to come to find out there is a lot more to the game than when they were playing in high school. What offense do we run and why–Winning Youth Football has the answer. What defense do we run given the minimum play requirements in our league–Winning Youth Football has the solution. What strategy do I use when the other team is more athletic–Dave Cisar has the answer. How do I communicate with parents-WYF answer this question and more? Dave has provided an A to Z when it comes to running a team. 

Bottom line up front:  We highly recommend the Winning Youth Football book & video series. Now is the time to plan for next fall. If your team had a losing season, purchase the series. First, read the WYF book from beginning to end to find out what is in the book. Then pick one of the questions below to develop the answer with confidence that the solution in the book will make your team better. Our teams have gone from average to compete for and winning championships. So again, we highly recommend it; see other coaches' reviews here.

As a dad new to youth football coaching, you probably don't even know what questions you should be asking. This article is written for you. Here are three questions from the three phases of the game:

  • What offense should I be running with my third-grade mitigate team?

  • What defense will stop the number one scoring play in youth football?

  • What will be our team's strategy when it comes to special teams?

We will answer these questions according to Dave's research and experience.

What offense in youth football provides a distinct advantage over the defense?   

There are a lot of items that are the same, and Eleven players are on both sides of the ball. Each team will receive a kickoff. Both offenses have to travel the same yards to get the first down. That said, there are many differences you as a new coach can exploit. Coach Cisar's system enables you to do just that. 

Advantage #1:  One of the main points to Deve's offense is you outnumber the defenders at the point of attack. Suppose you think about it from the vantage point of playing chess. When you have more pieces attacking a square than the number of defenders who win the exchange? You do, and you come away from it with a material advantage. The single-wing system Winning Youth Football employees can provide you with the numbers advantage on every play.

Advantage #2:  Often, advantage $1 above causes the other team coach to overreact. If not the coach, youth players often start to over purse to the numbers advantage side. When the coach or players start to adjust, the WYF system is just that, a system that allows you to take advantage of the adjustment. For each base play, there is a counterplay. These calls are often home run hitters and score a touchdown in that the defenders that should have stopped the play are looking and running to the wrong side of the field. Given these counter plays, we have had many 60, 70, and even 80-yard plays by average players for six. The system is real, and the advantage is yours as the offense.

Advantage #3:  Dave has spent years studying and researching the game, so you don't have to. Here he has discovered a gold mine. The way he has designed the single-wing snap creates deception and makes the defense guess who has the ball. If a defense is a step slow at recognizing who has the ball, there is no question who has the advantage. Test this, take your linebackers and line them up (both teams are at full capacity with lineman and defense lineman in three-point stances). Using Coach Cisar's system snaps the ball to any one of three quarterbacks in the system and asks them to call out who has the ball. If they get it wrong just one out of four times, you have an advantage, but frequently I see my best linebackers get 50% of the calls wrong. Again, test it for yourself and especially for your assistant coaches. When they see the players are essentially guessing, your defense coordinator will believe in the offense.

What defense will stop the number one scoring play in youth football?

Youth football is not the NFL, it is not the NCAA, and it isn't high school football either, especially in the younger grades. Therefore, taking and implementing the San Franciso 46ers offense in third grade is idiotic. The same is true when it comes to defense. In our experience, 95 to 98% of offensive plays are run plays. Therefore, having a Defense that shuts down the run is essential. Even more to the point, what is the number one scoring play in youth football? According to Dave, the most scored with play is the sweep or end-around. Coach Cisar mentions the second most scoring play is the reverse. Given this, having a defense that eliminates both of these plays takes away a team's home run plays and forces them to grind out a victory. Often, teams will become frustrated when not breaking chunk plays, and you see offensive coordinators attempting to add a new play or concept in the huddle. When you see this, you know you have won the battle. Read Winning Youth Football: How to Create a Dominate Defense to find the answer to what defense you should be using.

Note: Having your players understand the formation adjustments is critical. You can't just line up in one formation without adjustment and expect to do well. The defense is the same, but reacting to how the offense is aligned is critical. As a coach, your job is to put the players in the best position to win on every play. Coach the adjustments and how to react to adjust to motion. Again, the defense will be the same but alignment to different formations will be very different (read the chapter about scouting one opponent to learn how to set your team up for success during practice). Oh, and by the way, install defense-first!

Did you say Special Teams?

There are three phases of the game. On more than one occasion, I have seen coaches instruct their players about their special team formation and assignments during warm-ups of their first game of the season. Special teams play can win or lose you a game. The numbers have proved coach Cisar's strategy. We have used it to perfection and, on multiple occasions, have prevented a team's offense from touching the field for an entire first half. One coach said, "Thank you for allowing us to watch our defense play the entire game." 

Knowing how important special teams can be is one takeaway from the series, but probably even more important is the practice plans and objectives that have been laid out for you. You won't be that coach introducing special teams at the first game if you have implemented the system as recommended by the Winning Youth Football system.

Sample Page WYF

Sample Page WYF

Want to be a winning youth football coach?

After having purchased the book, read it cover to cover. Dave has done a great job covering every aspect of the game and the off-field team administration. In the beginning, you will have to pick and choose the chapters you study, but to fully grasp the impact that these insights and plans can have on your team, it will take multiple seasons. Coach has even added to the system over the years, but that is for another time. The offseason is the time to start preparing to win next year.

Good luck! I suspect if you install Coach Dave Cisar's system, you won't need luck to win, however.

Wide feet?  Check out our article about Best Football Cleats for Wide Feet.

This book is absolutely the best book around to help a youth coach learn his craft. Coach Cisar guides you through all the pitfalls from players selection, team building, offense, defense, drills, how to deal with parents, and most importantly how to have fun and win. After purchasing this book, I decided to check out Coach Cisars other products. I found his website  and decided to call to get some suggestions on different training materials. Coach Cisar got on the line with me and was very generous with his time and information. Without a doubt one of the best youth coach trainers in the world. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

Nathan and Tyler

Amazon Review