Whether they will admit it or not, your 2 through 5 year olds share a common bond. They may fight constantly, but if someone else says or does something to hurt one child, the other is quick to come to her aid. Team-building is much like bonding. And, even though they might seem skeptical, they will love doing some family team-building activities. You don't even have to load up the vehicle and cart them off to some park or wilderness. Get them involved in team-building fun right in your own home.
1. Together Art
Encourage your little rivals to create a family work of art to display in your home. They can make more than one, using different types of art materials on large sheets of paper or plastic. When you feel a team art activity is needed, get out some materials like paints or markers, stamps and ink pads or magazines with scissors and glue. The house will be filled with happy noise rather than fighting as they work together. You can also work with them to cut and fringe a piece of fleece fabric big enough for the family to curl up together on the couch for movie night. Your toddlers and preschoolers can also work side by side to decorate family picture frames or a bulletin board.
2. Cook Together
Turn your clean kitchen into a messy team-building environment. Work with your young chefs to bake a cake or cookies. Each one can take turns and even help the other measure ingredients, mix and spread into a pan or drop spoonfuls into a baking pan. They will also love frosting their teamwork results. Allow some craziness and creativity while the kids make funny creatures or objects for fruit or vegetable plates to go along with dinner or for a snack. Put some cut-up pieces of vegetables or fruits of different sizes and colors in a flat container so everyone can reach everything they need to make their food creations. Get really brave and letting the young teammates prepare an entire meal together, with your help and supervision, of course.
Play games to encourage cooperation. Get the kids involved in a Scrabble game to spell simple words, or a Go Fish card game. They can play a matching game with a deck of adult cards, matching the symbols and numbers. Indoor relay-style games will encourage the kids to work together to complete a task or maneuver an everyone-wins obstacle course over stacks of pillows and through blanket tunnels.
4. Active Fun
Kids love wild and loud activities, and they will love working together with some really active ideas. Have them build a tower with different types of containers, making sure each one understands there will be lots of tumbles and crashes. Do a food-tossing activity. Give each one a bowl of safe snacks. Have them stand at opposite ends of the kitchen table and try to toss the snacks into each others' bowls. Encourage them to work together to toss and catch, trying to catch most of the food without letting any drop onto the table.
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