Games aren’t just fun to play, they can also help to develop and build key skills within children, such as leadership.
There has been much debate about whether leadership is an intrinsic quality or whether it’s something that’s developed as a result of outside influences. So far, no verdict has been reached, but what experts do agree on is that chances to experience leadership provide children with the best possible opportunity to develop skills of their own.
Five educational games which could also help to create leadership skills in children.
1) This Is Me
A key part of leadership is about having the confidence to stand up and talk, and being able to represent your own likes and dislikes. This game is great for older preschoolers as well as school age children.
Each child should create a person which they feel best represents their personality. They can either draw this or cut out pictures from magazines. Facts such as where they live, their favorite food, hobbies, likes and dislikes could all be featured.
Once the posters are complete each child presents to the rest of the group, gaining vital experience.
2) Untangling the Human Knot
Get a group of children to stand together and close their eyes. Everyone must reach out with one hand and hold the hand of someone else. Then, still with their eyes closed, they must reach out with their other hand and hold a different person’s hand. Encourage them to interlink arms or twist to create connections.
One child will have been standing aside during this process, also with their eyes closed. This is the Leader whose job it is to untwist the human knot piece by piece by directing individuals which hand to let go first. Only the hands the Leader indicates should loosen their grip.
The aim is to untie the knot by using problem solving skills, an integral part of leadership.
3) Treasure Hunt
A treasure hunt is a great game that children – and adults! – of all ages can enjoy. The leader is the only one who will know the location of the hidden object and will provide hints and clues along the way.
4) The Stick Game
Everyone stands in a circle with their index finger outstretched upon which a large stick is balanced across them all. There are just two rules to this game: the stick must be balanced on top of the index finger at all times and the finger must not lose contact with the stick.
The aim of the game is to sit on the floor which is much harder than it looks! To keep everyone’s finger in contact with the stick and to be able to move to a sitting position takes teamwork and co-operation. You can appoint a leader to take control of the movements and decide on a successful strategy.
5) Scavenger Hunt
This game is a bit like hide and seek but with an additional twist. The leader will have a list of qualities they are seeking such as favorite color: pink, eating toast for breakfast or supporting a certain football team. It’s up to you to determine the list of qualities based on your team of players.
The team of hiding players disappear into position and the seekers must find them. When they do, they must find one quality which matches their list. The twist is that their name may only appear on the list once. This means you’ll need to match the right qualities with the right players to be able to find someone to fill every gap!
Every time the seeker finds a hider quality, they return with the information to the leader to decide which item to tick off.
Creating new leaders
These five games are lots of fun but will secretly help to develop core leadership skills too. Being a leader means having lots of qualities such as good communication, problem-solving and vision. Each of the games mentioned here help to focus on a different quality and will contribute to creating rounded leaders.
About the Author
Matt Morrisey is a writer at www.STARWALKKIDS.com which is a parenting website with loads of ideas for birthdays and Christmas. The website is fairly new and is trying to be a helpful resource for parents needing tips and ideas for their children.
Matt has been a teacher all over the world teaching English. He is now in Scotland furthering his academic studies (PHD).