We believe there is value in having adults play alongside of children. A grown-up standing on the sidelines barking instructions only serves to perpetuate the less-than-playful status quo. But when adults get in the game and actually play themselves, it introduces an important element of whim and shared humanity, making the play more accessible, and helping children feel safer and more connected.
We incorporate competitive activities into our programming, but we strive to do it in a developmentally appropriate way. One amazing thing about play is this: kids’ desire to keep the activity going will motivate them to take actions that are actually in the best interest of the larger group. Most often this manifests as self-handicapping: switching players, adapting the rules, etc. to keep some balance and ensure that everyone is having enough fun to continue playing.
Our belief is that creating options for children to engage in healthy, inclusive play represents an important opportunity for learning to deal with both winning and losing with grace.
– See more at: http://www.pacificnw.playworks.org/about/why-playworks#sthash.eDI4erP2.dpuf