Educational Board Games for Homeschool
Bad sportsmanship is an unfortunate constant in today’s aggressive, me-first society. I’m sure we’ve all met people who exhibit bad sportsmanship.
It could be the person who just can’t lose anything, the parents who insist their child must win at all costs, those people at every competition who somehow believe it’s alright to mock and belittle their opponents, and the list goes on.
Competition is very healthy and exists in nearly every aspect of a person’s life in one form or another, but if someone hasn’t been taught good sportsmanship competition can bring out the worst aspects of their personality.
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Try to Teach the Joy of Playing
The more children learn that winning is everything, the harder it is to convince them that second place is great too, and the less respect gets shown to their competitors. In addition, children who believe they must be on top in everything tend to develop problems with authority figures such as teachers and parents.
Even though a child may be better at something than someone else, they must learn that that does not make them better than other children.
The best way to teach anything is to start young. This is just as true of breeding out the traits of bad sportsmanship. The belief that winning is better seems to crop up more and more as children age, but oftentimes a very young child will be happy just to be allowed to play the game. This is the perfect time to begin teaching the benefits of good sportsmanship.
Most board games teach a bit of sportsmanship because they involve a single winner, but there are a few games designed to teach more than just good grace regarding your finishing order. The game of Trouble by Milton Bradley is ideal for teaching not only proper behavior in winning or losing, but also how to deal with unforeseen setbacks and frustrations which can lead to bad sportsmanship habits if not addressed.
How Trouble Works
Trouble plays much like the popular Sorry! board game in that each player has four pieces that must all be moved around the board in order to win. Players can bump their opponents back to start by landing in the same space occupied by someone else’s piece and each piece cannot move out of the starting space until the die rolls a six.
Out of all the games of this type, Trouble has the best design for younger players because each space consists of a bracket that holds the piece securely in place and instead of loose dice the game has a single die on a “popping” platform. Players need only push on the plastic globe in the middle to “roll” the die. The game is rated for children five years and up because of small pieces, but younger children may participate under close supervision to avoid the possibility of choking.
The most important thing isn’t if you win the game, it’s how you play. This is the basis of good sportsmanship and the ultimate object of the game.
Throughout game play children should be encouraged to take setbacks in stride, even congratulate their opponents when a piece gets bumped back to start. Regardless of who wins, all players need to be recognized for playing well. At first, it may be necessary to stop playing if a child starts getting very frustrated with the challenges of the game and shows bad sportsmanship.
The lesson is a simple one, but exceedingly important for a child to commit to heart. The most effective lessons are the ones that are fun to learn, so games are the perfect medium for learning such fundamental life lessons as good and bad sportsmanship. Starting children early will ensure that later in life, it will be second nature to approach competition with the goal of self-betterment and they will be able to enjoy competing no matter what the outcome.
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