In this new world of online learning, with the absence of team sports and frequent social interaction, it can be hard for kids to naturally accrue those essential life skills of teamwork, consideration and empathy. Not only are parents fighting the uphill battle of keeping kids physically active and engaged, ensuring our children are mentally engaged and able to develop their emotional intelligence seems near on impossible at times.
Group work and team sports develop so many key skills for kids (and adults!) of all ages; and is integral to child development. Not only does it allow kids to cultivate and develop self-esteem, build relationships and keen leadership skills; it also strengthens communication, respect, and time management. It’s essential for children to learn how to win and lose as a team. Whilst extra-curricular activities like team sports (and Camp Blue 😉 ) are a great way for kids to accrue these skills and abilities, there are many simple ways that you can focus on these areas from the comfort of your own home.
Here are some simple ways you can encourage children to practise their teamwork skills from home:
For our older campers, give them the responsibility of cooking for the family once a week collaboratively with their sibling or another family member. Give them rough guidelines for the meal and a budget. Explain that they have to make their shopping list simple and clear; and with plenty of time for the ingredients to be collected – or challenge them to use only what you have in your fridge already! Encourage your children to share the load, communicate effectively and work together. Perhaps make it a bit of a competition? Tell the kids that they will be scored out of 10 in the following areas: Teamwork, Presentation, Taste, Collaborative Clean-down Post Meal and use our Score Card to record the marks! For some great cooking recipe ideas and inspiration, check out the Camp Blue Cooking Catalogue.
Set your household a daily or weekly physical challenge. It could be completing 20,000 steps as a household for that day; or doing 100 push-ups collectively. They can be as simple or as complex as you like, but make sure everyone in the family is included. Explain that commitments to work schedules or appointments on specific days mean that some members of the team may have to complete more of some tasks than others. Sharing this load and having children distribute and negotiate resolutions for the good of the family unit / team is a great way to encourage them to be empathetic and consider other members of the household – which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be a real challenge in itself!
Board Games or Party Games
A classic pastime! Incorporate these games weekly and encourage children to really focus on the elements of collaboration, taking turns and compromise. It’s also a great way to teach about ‘losing’ graciously and being a good sport. Make it as entertaining as you can! A Camp Blue favourite is passing the balloon between your legs or balancing a cup of water on your head… Always a giggle!
Putting on a mini play/concert/show or even just creating a family TikTok! Something as simple as making a funny music video or singing as a group can really make children feel part of something bigger. Get them to pick the song and choreograph the moves. Something so simple and quick can really tap into those teambuilding skills that are potentially lying idle at this time.
Making homework a family affair can be a great way to encourage leadership and teamwork. Discuss the problems collectively and encourage older siblings to help and aid their younger relatives. It will undoubtedly take a little management and patience, but often children respond well to the responsibility of teaching others. Similarly, younger children often feel valued and supported when given kind guidance by their older siblings and parents.