All children have the potential to build leadership skills. Developing these skills boosts self-confidence, supports communication and helps children organize their thoughts and learn to collaborate. Beginning at an early age builds a foundation for essential social-emotional development.
Playing games is an easy way for families to support the development of social and leadership skills. Children learn to cooperate with others, present their own ideas and take turns — all part of becoming leaders. Here are five of my favorite games that will help develop leadership skills.
1. Puzzle. Puzzles are a great way to learn to take turns and solve a problem together. Work with your child on which pieces go where, ask for help from each other and encourage your child to try pieces in different positions.
2. Construction. Get out blocks, clay and recycled materials. Ask your child to help you build something. Encourage them to decide what you will build, who will do what and what materials you could use.
3. Design a new game. Your child can get creative by taking a familiar game and developing a few new rules. Play the game together while your child explains the new rules. For example, while playing I Spy, the new rule may be that you only spy things that are red. When playing a board game, try changing how many times a person can roll the dice.
4. The classic egg game. This leadership game can be played with other family members and friends. Split the group into pairs. Each pair gets an egg. The goal is to move the egg across the room. The pairs need to be creative. The rules can be that you cannot just hold the egg and walk it across the room, that both players need to be involved and that you must use a tool of some sort to move the egg. The less restrictive the rules are, the more creativity you’re encouraging.
5. Follow the leader. There are many ways to mix up the activities in this game. Get moving and give it a try. Start by asking your child to give you two- or three-step directions. Take turns giving directions and following each other. Set a goal, such as moving in a circle or moving to the end of the driveway with 10 unique moves.