All right, we finally had a night when we were all home, awake, and in good enough spirits to officially kick off Teamwork and Cooperation Month! And everyone, listen up and read along, because this was one of the most fun family nights we’ve ever had, and that’s not an exaggeration. As we did in January and February, our official kickoff night included enjoying a read aloud (click here to see our amazing list of teamwork and cooperation books) and creating an anchor chart, but this time we took it one step further by including some amazing family teamwork and cooperation games. Read on to see the details of the night so that you can recreate a kickoff night like this for your families!
If you’ve been following closely, you may have noticed a pattern around our family meetings… We try to tie them to a yummy favorite meal, so that all members of our family are full and happy. Full and happy generally results in more eager participation from every member of the family, adults included! As we neared the end of dinner, I started the chosen teamwork and cooperation read aloud book…
Stone Soup, illustrated by Jon J. Muth! Please note that you can find many retellings of this European folktale, but I personally love Muth’s illustrations and his choice of setting the story in China and using monks to spread knowledge. Possibly the quintessential example of books teaching children the value of cooperation, collaboration, and sharing, the story of Stone Soup has been around for ages. In Muth’s version, three monks are traveling through the mountains, on a quest to understand what makes one happy. They reach a village and decide to ask around, but they find the village closed to strangers… And to each other, it turns out. With a little trickery, the monks are able to get the villagers to come together once again and find happiness in their community.
When we finished Stone Soup, we started to add ideas to our teamwork and collaboration anchor chart, asking the question, “What do you know about teamwork and collaboration?” My goal was to have each person in the family add one idea in this sitting, allowing plenty of space to add to it over the course of the month, but the girls, as usual, went above and beyond my expectations. Children can do amazing things when you give them the space to do so! Our almost-four-and-a-half-year-old even wanted to write an idea down herself, which led to an incredible, authentic moment of collaboration to create our teamwork and cooperation poster.
We’ve posted this chart on our refrigerator, where we can see it most of the time we’re at home and awake, and we’ll continue to add ideas to it throughout the month.
If you thought this kickoff meeting sounds great, just wait till you read what comes next, because the fun is REALLY about to get started now! To round things off and have some really tangible practice implementing positive teamwork and cooperation in our family, we played family-friendly, cooperative versions of Minute to Win It games! All four of us had an absolute blast in every single activity– we laughed, we focused, we worked hard, we worked together, and we showed growth mindsets when things didn’t go right! I’ve got time-lapse videos of each activity and a brief description below.
Cooperative Pyramid Building: Working in groups, we raced to see which duo could unstack 36 cups and build a pyramid first. Both teams’ towers fell mid-race, which gave us a nice opportunity to practice resilience and use growth mindset mantras. The highlight of this activity was when our older daughter, who often resists games and competitions that have a clear winner and didn’t want to participate to begin with, completed her pyramid and ran over to work with the other team to help them finish theirs.
Teamwork Tallest Tower Challenge: Using the same cups but switching up the teams (the girls chose to work on this one together), teams built cup towers with a goal of making the tallest tower. This activity allowed for more conversation and exchange of ideas than the Cooperative Pyramid Building did, which was a nice change. The girls beat us by one cup!
Group Minute to Win It Hot Lava Balloon: For this activity, you need a balloon or a light, easy-to-bat ball (we used a balloon). Working as a group, you try to keep the balloon in the air for a whole minute, without letting it hit the ground or catching it. It’s harder than it sounds, especially with participants of varying height (and balloon-batting experience) and furniture in the way! This one took us two tries and was probably everyone’s favorite activity of the night. It was also nice to have an activity that the four of us worked on together.
Partner Pile the Apples: In our last activity of the night, we divided again into two partnerships (in our family, this allowed us to work with everyone once). The goal is to stack five apples on top of each other so that the pile stays standing for at least three seconds. And let me tell you, this one is REALLY hard! At least, I found it extremely challenging, but our six-and-a-half-year old is apparently an apple-stacking natural…
- Books to Foster Growth Mindsets in Children
- January Family Focus: Developing Growth Mindsets
- Three Things to Remind Children Before School, Classes, Lessons, Practices, and Games to Focus Their Minds on Process, Learning, and Growth
- 50+ Books to Help Build Compassion and Empathy
- February Family Focus: Compassion and Empathy
- Compassion and Empathy Activity: Creating “Care Kits”
Are you following along with our monthly family focuses? Either way, have you ever done cooperative and family-friendly Minute to Win It games? We want to do more, so I’d love fresh ideas!
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