Today was the day my daughter got her introduction to virtual learning. Tension and anxiety was high, computers were crashing and communication skills were in the toilet (which my kids have now cleaned two Sundays in a row — a win for us parents.) With all of that behind us, I knew tonight was a good night to take on a low stress, fun, cooperative game from Dynamo Clubhouse. In our in-person Dynamo classes we use cooperative games as a way to bond teammates, create friendships and foster communication skills, all while trying to solve a problem. While tensions can run high in a cooperative games, adults are there to scaffold “mistake-friendly” communication… no “ughs” or “come on!” to your teammates if they make a mistake. This game works great with young and older kids, just modify the materials to meet the needs of the age and abilities of the children.
The Long Road
Using communication, teamwork and problem solving, kids journey across the hot “lava” on the “long road” and use “stepping stones” to collect as many items as possible stuck in the “lava.”
How to play:
- Grab a jump rope, yoga strap or belt to act at the “long road,” yoga blocks, pieces of paper or pillows or other household objects to act as “stepping stones” across the “lava” and balls, bean bags, toy trucks to act as objects that need to be rescued and a bucket or basket to collect those rescued items.
- Set up the “long road” using the rope in a snake-like line in the “lava,” place the larger objects like yoga blocks or pillows to act as “stepping stones” and put a basket or bucket at the end of the long road to collect rescued items. Scatter other items (balls, dolls, bean bags, toy trucks) on the floor on either side of the rope.
- It’s great to play up the drama in the game set up — “The long dormant volcano has erupted, no one was prepared and it’s our job to rescue as many things in danger before the lava flows over our city and destroys everything in its path…”
- Players must walk along the “long road” and use the “stepping stones” outside the “long road” in order to rescue various objects stuck in the lava. Players can bring those items back to the basket themselves or toss objects to each other to put back in the basket, but if an object gets dropped, the objects stays in the lava and cannot be moved again. (If kids are younger, use lots of paper for the stepping stones as it will be a lot of work to balance on higher objects like pillows or yoga blocks.)
- The object of the game is to collect as many items as possible stuck in the lava — to add urgency to the game, you can give them a time limit in which they need accomplish the rescue mission.
- Encourage your players to communicate with each other, work together and strategize before beginning the game. If teamwork isn’t going so well, think about having an adult jump in as a player to model what good communication looks like!
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