Games make learning fun. But competitive games pit learners against each other, so someone always ends up feeling bad, or left out.
Play as friends, not as enemies! Our games foster the spirit of co-operation. Players help each other climb a mountain, make a community, bring in the harvest, complete a space exploration… They are never against each other.
After all, the initial impulse to play a game is social; that is, we bring out a game because we want to do something together. How ironic then that in most games, we spend all our efforts trying to bankrupt someone, destroy their armies — in other words, to get rid of one another! We soon learn how to pick on the other person’s weaknesses in order to win the game.
In sharing and working together teacher and students foster a sense of community. When there are no winners and losers, aggressive behavior decreases and less time is wasted sorting out disputes.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis actually investigated the effects of competitive and cooperative games on aggressive and cooperative behaviors of 70 children (4 to 5 years old) from four classes in three preschools using some of our games including Max®, Harvest Time®, Granny’s House®, and Sleeping Grump® and some of our Cooperative Physical Activities).
The key conclusions of the study are that co-operative games produce less aggressive behaviors during and after play and, that as a result, they require less direct supervision by the teachers, it’s a win/win. It could be argued that they would pay for themselves in saved teacher work-hours.