Playing games and participating in activities gives a child an opportunity to share, laugh and have fun. Sharing the experience with family and friends only enhances it. While a child may consider winning as the ultimate objective, it's important to point out that the real objective may have absolutely nothing to do with winning, but how the game is played.
While winning may be the ultimate prize, it is equally important how you get there, and you can only get there by learning and following the rules. One major objective of playing games and participating in activities is to learn problem-solving, strategy, trust, calculated risk-taking, how to adapt to unforeseen issues and how to share. The rules of most games can have far-reaching positive effects when they are applied to real-life situations.
From the time a child can play sports or master a board game, it's important to not only teach her the rules of the game, but also to teach sportsmanship -- having respect for other players and being gracious not only in losing, but in winning as well. There are adults who never learned the nuances of sportsmanship, and it is often quite obvious. The objective of all kid's games and activities is to practice fair play -- after all, you don't want your child to be the last one standing when her teammates are tasked with choosing a partner.
To Be Challenged
A game or activity can quickly lose its draw when a child is no longer challenged. Physical as well as mental activities should offer your child an opportunity to push himself. However, if a child feels that no amount of effort or strategy will allow him to accomplish a win or at least a show, he will shy away from participating. It's exciting to be challenged -- to work harder and smarter to achieve a goal -- so games and activities should be age appropriate and within your child's ability. Positive encouragement from a friend, parent or coach goes a long way in giving your child the courage to try and succeed.
Above all else, the objective of kid's games and activities is to have fun doing something with others. According to the National Institute for Play, having fun with other children is an integral part of a child's development based on the need to belong or have something in common. Playing for the sheer joy of it nourishes the soul and lightens the heart.