Best Cooperative Board Games for Kids Who Hate to Lose

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Best Cooperative Board Games for Kids Who Hate to Lose

Cooperative board games allow siblings and parents to play together against the game, rather than competing against each other, making them perfect for avoiding sibling rivalry and meltdowns over losing. 

You've tried to be the fun parent, breaking out the board games for family game night, only to have your kids screaming or in tears and you bewildered, wondering how it all went so wrong. Sure you can throw up your hands and store the games at the back of the closet, never to bring them out again. But, we know playing board games has so many socio-developmental benefits for kids. Not to mention, playing games can provide great moments of bonding and connection. If only no one ever lost!


Enter cooperative games.


Cooperative board games are games where players work together to achieve the goal of the game. Rather than Player A playing against Player B, Players A & B team up to play against the game. The benefit of cooperative games is that you get all the benefits of game play like taking turns, for example, without the tears over losing or the accusations of "but he cheated". 


Yes, you can still lose at a cooperative board game, but the difference is the players lose together to the game (not a person). This allows for the kid who hates to lose to come to terms with the loss easier than if they lost to their older brother. Losing in a cooperative game also provides parents with a great opportunity to model behaviour. "oh, look at that, we lost. We had a lot of fun trying to win and maybe we'll win next time." 


I am the parent with the kid who hated to lose. If he lost or was about to lose in a game, he'd throw all the pieces off the board, making it impossible for the rest of the players to finish, storm off or yell and accuse the other players of cheating. After introducing cooperative games - they were the ONLY ones we played for quite some time - I've found we can now pull out the traditional "competitive" games and that sore loser behaviour doesn't come out. I'd say that playing cooperative games has taught him that losing is a normal part of game play and that it's ok to lose every now and then. 


Cooperative board games make playing games with children of different ages easier. If you were the younger sibling who always lost in Candy Land, you know what I mean. If a younger sibling is struggling to understand what to do on their turn, the older sibling can help them along because ultimately you are one team. 


Here are our top 10 cooperative board games for kids. 


Hoot Owl Hoot 

Return the owls to the nest before the sun comes up. Since this is a cooperative game, any players can play any of the owls – no one player has a single owl that they're trying to get back to the nest. This game has simple, easy to follow rules. There is no reading required. This game works on colour recognition and moving tokens, so is easy enough for a 3 year old to play, but can be made more challenging for older kids the more owl tokens you add to the board. 


Barnyard Brunch 

Bring the animals back to the barn in this dice rolling cooperative game. Players work together to choose which animal to move. The game ends as soon as the deck of cards is used up or an animal leaves the path and escapes the farm. If the cards are gone and no animal has escaped the path, you all win together! If an animal escapes, everyone loses.


Dinosaur Escape 

In this cooperative board game, players race to rescue the dinosaurs to dinosaur island before the volcano explodes. If the volcano gets built before all the dinosaurs have been saved, the game is over. Save all the dinosaurs before the top of the volcano gets added and you win! 


Busy Bake Shop

This cooperative game is similar to connect 4. Match the different flavors of donuts using colour and pattern matching skills. If you can place 4 donuts in a row before the mouse runs off with 3 donuts, you win! 


Ant Colony

In this tunnel building cooperative game, players work together to build a new colony. The colony must include two entrances and four rooms. Watch out for pesky beetles, rocks and anteaters that block your path.


Race to the Treasure

In this cooperative board game, players try to beat the ogre to the treasure by creating a path. Along the way they need to collect three keys to open the treasure. Build the path before the ogre gets there and everyone wins. 



In this cooperative "who done it?" game, players move around the board to gather clues then use the special evidence scanner to rule out suspects.


Mermaid Island

In this cooperative game, players have to help the mermaids swim to Mermaid Island before the witch gets there. Everyone is working together against the Sea Witch.


Gnomes At Night

In this two person game, players work together to navigate through a maze to retrieve treasures. The maze paths are different on each side of the board so players must communicate with one another in order to get through the maze. This game emphasizes teamwork and cooperation.


The Fairy Game

In this cooperative game, players race to save the fairies' treasured flowers from Mr. Winter who is trying to freeze them. Players match fairy cards to gather the hidden magic gems before 4 snowflakes land on one flower. Players work together to banish Mr. Winter from the garden. 




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