Cooperative games help children develop the essential skills of cooperation, communication, empathy, and conflict resolution by giving them an opportunity to work together toward a common goal. These games require the skills of everyone in the group, not of just one or two people. There is no sole winner. All children will benefit since no one is left out and the focus is on the success of the team as a whole. Throughout this process of cooperation, children are critically thinking of their strategies and making quick decisions, while they are verbally and physically interacting with one another and, therefore, developing their cognitive abilities. Children learn how individual efforts unite to help the team accomplish goals. Think about that child in your class who has great ideas, but is not athletic or competitive. How do we address such needs when that child does not want to participate in the competitive aspect of games?
Contrast this with traditional games, in which there is direct competition between individuals or groups as it produces poor self-esteem with those who are on the losing end. Not all children have that competitive edge needed in order to win. This is why you’ll see why cooperative games can play such a big role in teaching and reinforcing peacemaking skills.