One of the most challenging social issues toddlers face is learning how to play with other children. It takes a lot of time and practice. There are two main facets to playing with other children; one is sharing and the other is playing cooperatively. Many people think that cooperative play and sharing are the same thing but actually they are slightly different, so both skills need to be developed at this age. Sharing, in essence, is taking turns or splitting something into equal parts. For example, there are some blocks; one baby plays with them and passes them on when finished or each baby gets an equal number to play with. Cooperative play is working together in order to do something. For example, everybody has access to all of the blocks and works together to make one big tower. Today’s activity is a very simple way to begin practising cooperative play.
Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)
This week’s Theme: Vegetables
Activity Description: Hot Potato: Put on and sing the song “Hot Potato”. Pass a potato wrapped in foil around. When the song ends, the person holding the potato gets to unwrap a piece of foil. The person who takes off the last piece of foil, wins a prize. (repeat if you like)
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Social
Specific Skill: Cooperative play
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 20 months + 3 weeks
1. To warm up, we read a book about potatoes.
2. I showed them the foil ball and explained how to play the game. In the first round we had no problems passing the potato. When the song comes to an end, the person holding the potato gets to take off a piece of foil.
3. Once it was realized that part of the game is taking off a piece of the foil, that is the part of the game that interested them the most. So the next several rounds required a lot of encouragement on my part to get them to pass it along (rather than take off all the foil). This is exactly where the cooperative play comes in. If any participant stops doing what is required, the game falls apart; everybody has to do their part in order for the game to be successful (which in this case is simply passing a potato until the song is over).
….the final layer of foil….lands on M…
4. We played the game several times making sure that everybody won a sticker at least once. As they realized that they would have plenty of opportunity to peel a layer, it required less and less encouragement for them to pass it along (at which point we added other elements like passing it really fast or really slowly)