Report From the Ridge: Cooperative Games Workshop

I attended a cooperative games workshop last Saturday. It was a gift to the local community from some experiential educators who live and work in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly home schoolers, camp counselors, community leaders, and classroom teachers attended. The facilitators, Tom and Debra Weistar, have played cooperative games with kids for 20 years. They’ve co-authored a classic book on the subject, Win-Win Games, Cooperative Activities For All Ages. This practical and clearly written book is available at cooperativegames.com. You can see some video from the workshop on my facebook page if you are interested: facebook.com/cooperativegames
We played LOTS of games. Tag games, circle games, name games, and more. Here’s an amazing game that focuses on group problem-solving. You have to try this one to believe it!

Down to Earth
A group of 4-10 players or so stands in a circle. Each player extends their right hand, holding the index finger outstretched and the other fingers tucked in a “shooting” position. The index finger has to remain parallel to the ground and is about chest height. Someone rests a hula-hoop on the outstretched fingers. The group’s task is to lower the hoop to the ground with all fingers remaining in contact with the hoop.
This task is much harder than you’d think! The group will have to work together to come up with a strategy and execute it. It took our group about 20 minutes to stop unintentionally levitating the hoop and chasing it all over the hillside.

After a full day of cooperative merry making, I left the workshop knowing that I’d had a workout, made new friends, learned a few things about myself, and most of all had a blast playing in the woods. I hope you have the chance to participate in some cooperative games soon too!