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Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom
Ya’ll, I should just ‘fess up to something:
Game time isn’t always my favorite.
I know, I know. Board games can be fabulous for learning and reinforcing new concepts.
But in my house–my kids don’t always like to lose. Even when we’re playing “just for fun,” even when an incredible learning game is designed to teach them helpful skills.
It didn’t take me long to discover this several years ago, when my preschoolers became board game ready. We sure had some big “I lost” tantrums here and there.
So over the years I focused less on board games with the kids, because it wasn’t worth the drama. I would play one-on-one with a single child instead. That was an improvement, but it didn’t guarantee peace in our living room.
Eventually, though, I stumbled upon something that helped tremendously. I only wish I had found out about them earlier.
Cooperative board games
What is a cooperative board game?
Here’s a great definition I found:
“In a cooperative game, everyone plays together, no one is left out, and everyone has fun! Players work together as a team against a common obstacle, not against each other.
Cooperative games emphasize play, not competition.”
So take a peek at these five popular cooperative board games–in which everyone in the family can be on the same team.
Who is it for: Ages 4-7; 2-4 players – no reading required
Reviews: 365+ reviews, 4.8 stars overall
Game description: “An award winning color-coded cooperative matching game with two play levels so it will grow with your child, in Hoot Owl Hoot! players work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up; if they are successful everyone wins!”
Who is it for? Ages 4-8; 2-4 players – no reading required
Reviews: 270+ reviews, 4.9 stars overall
Game description: “In this game, players try to beat the Ogre to the treasure. Along the way they need to collect three keys to open the treasure chest. Players strategize, cooperate and build a path together. If they do it before the Ogre gets there, they all win!”
Who is it for: Ages 6+; 2-4 players
Reviews: 110+, 4.5 stars overall
Game description: “Grandma needs huckleberries to bake a pie. You and your cousins embark on an adventure up the mountain to collect them. The only way to win is by helping each other out. Wildcraft teaches 25 important edible and medicinal plants and their uses.”
Who is it for? Ages 10+; 2-6 players
Reviews: 180+, 4.7 stars overall
Game description: “You are the brave men and women of fire rescue–people are depending on you. Every turn is filled with the tension of having to fight the fire, rescuing victims or investigating points of interest.”
Who is it for? Ages 10+, 2-4 players
Reviews: 1,135+, 4.6 stars overall
Game description: “Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath your every step!”
Still enjoy traditional board games as well? You’re right, there are some fabulous ones–here are ten that we’ve enjoyed over the years!
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