By Ann Shumway
Oct 01, 2013

Life Skills Lessons: Cooperation

What is cooperation?

  • a common effort
  • working together for a common benefit
  • team work
  • form a common association
  • to be compliant

Cooperation promotes a good working environment, encourages peace, and advances humanity.  In order to cooperate we must first tackle our own feelings of greed or jealousy, often accompanied by wanting to achieve something by ourselves.

According to good cooperation requires: Compromise, Listening, Sharing, Encouraging, Taking Turns, and Doing Your Part.

A key factor in teaching children cooperation is to make sure they understand what cooperation is.  Here are some conversation starters:

  • What does the word cooperate mean to you?
  • How does your family cooperate?
  • What is fun about working in groups?
  • What can be frustrating when working in groups?
  • Tell about a time you cooperated with your friends.
  • What is something you have to do to cooperate at school?
  • Can you think of any examples of cooperation in nature?
  • When is it okay to be un-cooperative?

Just for fun, here are a few games to practice your cooperation skills:


Ball in the Blanket

Split your group into groups of 4.

Give each person a corner of a blanket to hold

Place a ball in the center of the blanket.

On the “GO” signal ask the teams to work together to throw the ball off the blanket into the air and catch it on its’ way back down.

How many successful bounces & catches can each team make?

It takes cooperation to make this happen!

Frogs on a Lily Pad

Set up 1 lily pad (carpet squares work) for each child.

Start the music and ask the kids to walk around like musical chairs.

When the music stops pick a pad to leap too.

Start the music again, but remove a lily pad each time.

Each time the music stops everyone should work together to find a lily pad to be on.

As long as part of their body is touching the lily pad the “frog” is safe.

No matter how many frogs end up each pad they need to work together to make room for all.

As you continue playing have the frogs leap, skip, hop, and “swim” to the music.

When the music stops, how few pads can people manage to fit on if they work cooperatively?

Stand Up

Sit back to back with a partner, link elbow and work together to stand up.

When the partners have got this down try it again in a group of three…four…

Balloon City

Place a large number of balloons in a small area.

The challenge is to keep them all in the air any way they can without holding them.

No hands! Takes lots of cooperation!


Since 1991 the Learning for Life character education program has offered school based lessons and activities to youth in the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America territory. The Learning for Life program currently serves 9,073 youth in schools, clubs and organizations throughout central and southern Utah. For more information contact Ann Shumway at or 801-437-6218.


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