I enjoy reading the literature on cooperative games as do many people who come to my web shop CooperativeGames.com. I just read and now recommend “Rethinking Youth Sports” by Ramsey and Rank, of the Georgia Parks and Recreation Department. PE teachers and camp counselors: this article on cooperative games is especially relevant to you!
The authors argue that youth sports promote aggression in kids. The reason, they say, is that kids learn a winner-take-all attitude by participating in sports and that fair play and sportsmanship are on the decline. They attribute this to general cultural influences as well as violent behavior among some high profile professional athletes in recent years. Sad if this is true, but in any case, Ramsey and Rank feel that cooperative games can do much to restore civil behavior and reduce aggression in kids’ sports. They provide the following examples of how individuals and organizations might enhance youth activities with cooperative games:
- Incorporate cooperative games as a key component of youth activities programs
- Work with local schools to provide support for physical education teachers, teachers, and playground leaders with cooperative games activities and strategies for implementation of cooperative games in the classroom. Do the same with daycare facilities.
- Establish a consortium or recreation provider agencies and focus on the positive aspects of youth sports, incorporating cooperative games as part of the process.
- Embody cooperative games into the “Benefits of Recreation” information provided by the National Recreation and Park Association, state park and recreation associations, and local park and recreation agencies.
- Sponsor a local workshop on “how-to” conduct cooperative games.
- Work with local youth sports organizations and share the values and benefits or cooperative games. Suggest strategies for implementing them as part of their regular youth sports programs.
Be sure to check the Fun and Free pages at CooperativeGames.com for free directions to cooperative games useful for PE classes. Also shop for books on cooperative games in our book section. Or, make up your own games! It’s easier than you may think.