Sports psychologist Brenda Bredemeier has suggested that competitive games provide a context for people to suspend the moral values that place others before self and even excuse violent behavior such as intentional injury. Parents and educators who want to promote peaceful values among children may want to consider noncompetitive games for kids or even games that actively promote the value of peace.
Peace Activities for School
Wilderdom has linked to over a dozen "peace education experiences" for school children on its site. These include peace education lesson plans for preschool, games that ask children to write about the ways in which they would promote peace around the world, games that familiarize children with other cultures and visiting quiet, natural environments where the children practice being still and simply listening. One of the links is to Buckminster Fuller's "World Game," in which children spell out the kinds of things they would do if they ran the world.
Peaceful Video Games
Violence in video games is a particular source of alarm for many parents and teachers who are interested in peace. They would like to capitalize on the benefits of video games -- focus, eye-hand coordination, self-entertainment -- but with content that doesn't valorize violence. Peace Read, a website that takes its inspiration from Mohandas Gandhi, has a page with links to14 free, online, nonviolent video games. Games include minigolf, virtual hacky-sack and electric guitar themes, as well as Penguin Zoo Escape and Tree Gardening.
Francelia Butler's Peace Games
The late Dr. Francelia Butler, founder of the scholarly "Children's Literature" journal, was the creator of "International Peace Games." Peace Games is a nonprofit corporation that promotes a replicable, day-long festival for children that includes lessons, games, projects and discussions promoting nonviolence. Peace Games now partners with schools and churches to teach these activities, so they might be practiced throughout the year. Peace Games promotes values summarized as the three Cs: care, courtesy and cooperation.
Noncompetitive, or cooperative, games are defined by four criteria: Everyone plays, no one gets hurt, everyone has fun and everyone wins. Creative Kids at Home has a list of such games, one example being "Change the Leader." In Change the Leader, a leader does something that the rest of the group emulates, until the leader passes leadership to another player, who then changes the activity. The trick is that no one can talk. So the leadership change is effected by nonverbal signals, whether a tap, a wink, or just direct eye contact. Players not only have to follow the leader, they have to figure out when the leadership has changed.
- Wilderdom: Peace Education Experiential Activities
- Peace Read: Peace Games -- Non-Violent Video Games
- My South End: Peace Games Spreads Its Gospel at Cathedral Grammar
- Tufts Daily: Peace Games at Medford Elementary
- Creative Kids at Home: Cooperative Games for Kids
- NTL World: Summaries of Cooperative Non-Competitive Games
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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