Kids can learn to play together collaboratively from an early age. The earlier kids learn to cooperate, the more they’ll benefit, as this is when their minds are developing the most. The activities that you, your toddler and their playmates embark on together can be simple, but the key is working together (with children leading the way) to complete a shared objective.
Solving Puzzles Together
Solving a puzzle can be a great way to get young kids to work together towards a shared goal. Whether it’s putting together the pieces of an age-appropriate jigsaw or sorting the numbers and letters of toys or solving puzzles, they can teach kids to cooperate while learning to solve problems.
Follow the Leader
A really simple and fun game to play with toddlers is ‘Follow the Leader’ while going around the house, a room or the garden. In doing so, it’s up to the leader to create new actions, like jumping, skipping or waving their arms around as the followers do the same thing. This simple game helps kids learn that there is a time to follow and a time to lead, as well as the value of patience and how to take turns.
Make a Maze
With the right tools, such as LEGO® DUPLO®
building toys and sets, toddlers aged 18 months+
can work together to both build and solve a maze.Using DUPLO bricks, they can build the walls of the maze. When they’ve finished, they can place a ball in the maze and try to move the ball through the maze by lifting and tilting a baseplate together. This activity really relies on teamwork to move the ball in the right direction. If the kids need a helping hand, simply asking a probing question, such as “What happens if you tilt it to the left?”, can prompt them to respond proactively in solving the problem themselves. By encouraging kids to take control and try a different approach, they build confidence and learn that there can be different ways to solve a problem.
Bringing kids together to create a story is a great way to spark their imagination and get them to work together in a way that is fun and entertaining. This can be done with coloured pens and paper or with sets.First, ask one of the children to draw or build something with the materials they have available – it could be a person, a house, a flower or an animal. Then, when they’ve finished, give the second child a similar instruction. The children will create something together and continue to add to it as they collaboratively build a story around their creation.
Puppets are a great way to introduce role-playing to young children. There are many different things that can be used as puppets, such as socks, shadows, folded pieces of paper with faces drawn on, or even LEGO® DUPLO® characters. As each colourful brick and piece has been designed with little hands in mind, kids can easily create a story and role-play with the many fun-loving characters. By playing with puppets, kids work together to bring their puppets to life, whether it’s through telling a story or making them do a silly dance to some music.
Collaborative Play Examples and Activities for Pre-school Children (Age 4 to 5)