China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Cooperative Games Foster Altruism and Community in Kids

Photo by Gabriele Galimbert, from Toy Stories

Photo by Gabriele Galimberti, from his photo essay Toy Stories

Our increasingly secular and wealth-driven culture might have an unforeseen consequence on our children’s—and our own—behavior: selfishness. My fellow assistant editor here at The Toy Book, Marissa DiBartolo, discovered an interesting photo essay by Gabriele Galimberti, Toy Stories, which chronicles children across the world and their toys. His finding? Children from wealthier countries were more possessive of their playthings, while poorer children were more apt to share.

I’m not sure I find his observations all that surprising. Cultures like our own, driven by accumulation and a winners-versus-losers mentality, are probably more likely to teach children that fancy material possessions are important and winning must be had at all costs. Ever played a game of Monopoly as a kid and wanted to cry after your sister or brother wiped the board with you? I have. Ever wondered where that emotion comes from?

Consider, Peaceable Kingdom’s line of cooperative games that emphasize the fun and challenge of game play, while eliminating the winners and losers. These games, which require kids and families to work together to solve problems and reach an ultimate goal, foster attitudes of cooperation and community. I discovered some of these games at the recent American International Toy Fair, and here are a few that I particularly enjoyed:

GMF1_SPREADWhat’s It?: A family/party game where players must attempt to think alike. Flip the doodle card and timer and then guess what the pre-printed doodle looks like. If you guess like the other players, everyone wins. This game is recommended for two to six players, ages 8 and up.

GMC4_SPREADThe Great Cheese Chase: Players work together to move the three mice up the path and into the attic for a cheese party. Beware of the cat, though. If he pounces on a mouse on the path, the mouse must start from the beginning. Get all three mice to the attic before the cat and everyone wins. This game is recommended for two to six players, ages 5 and up.

Stack Up!: The object of this game is to stack 12 colorful blocks before the Stack Smasher topples the tower. Spin a color and stack a block. Spin a “Challenge” and add a tricky task, such as stacking with one eye closed or while singing Happy Birthday. But spin the Stack Smasher and you’re a step closer to a toppled tower. This game is recommended for two to six players, ages 3 to 5.

For more commentary from Loren, check back each Wednesday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!