Help to teach your child how to share with his peers.

Games to Teach Giving

by Erica Loop

Whether your tiny tyke can't seem to share her toys with classmates at preschool or your older child doesn't yet understand the concept of charity, games to teach giving provide kids with the opportunity to grasp the idea that helping others is key. Help your child become more generous and likely to give to others or back to her community through targeted activities.

1. Role Play

According to the child development experts at PBS Parents, by the time that your child reaches the preschool years he will begin to take part in dramatic forms of role play. Kids can use role playing games to communicate their feelings and better understand new interpersonal concepts. For example, if your young child is struggling to share with his friends, set up a role playing activity that allows him to take on the role of the child with whom he won't share. Have him think about how this child would feel, allowing him to empathize and consider changing his behavior to a more giving type. Older kids can also use role playing games, acting out more complex scenes in which they give help to a friend or a family member.

2. Taking Action

Help to teach your child that "giving" isn't just an idea or concept that she should think about. Play a brainstorming game in which your little learner lists ideas for taking action and actually giving back to her friends, the community or other people around her. For example, the educational pros at the Scholastic Parents website note that children -- even those as young as the preschool years -- can take simple actions by carrying out activities such as making a sandwich for you to take to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. While creating the "taking action" list, make sure that your child's ideas are actually doable.

3. Charitable Donations

Just because your child doesn't have a salary to portion out to charitable organizations doesn't mean that he can't give back. Create your own giving game in which your child gets to donate some of his "income" -- or allowance -- to a charity on special occasions or at specific intervals such as once every other month. Make the act of giving fun and create a set of dice or redesign a board game spinner, adding names of charities that you choose. Roll the dice or flick the spinner with your child to pick a charity for him to donate his own money to.

4. Toy Exchange

Young children in the early childhood period -- the beginning grade school years and younger -- often find sharing toys or other prized items a challenge. To help your little one better understand the concept of giving, when it comes to her friends and sharing, set up a simple toy exchange game. The Ask Dr. Sears website suggests that parents use a timer to help young children learn about giving and sharing. Use your cellphone timer or a traditional kitchen version to time the kids' play with specific toys. When the timer buzzes or beeps, insist that the children exchange their toys. Keep the toy exchange game going until your child and her friend master the art of giving.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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