Collaboration is a critical skill. As they grow into adulthood, the youth in your program will likely put their collaboration skills to work in their private, professional, and public lives. Your youth program can help instill this valuable skill by providing opportunities for kids to learn how to work effectively in a team.

Why Is Collaboration Important in Youth Activities? 

Teaching kids to collaborate is essential. It can help them prepare to work with others in various contexts in the future. Here are a few other reasons to prioritize collaboration in your youth program:

Preparing for Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaboration in the workplace has many potential benefits, such as higher quality work, increased productivity, and improved employee morale. It’s no wonder modern workplaces are hotbeds for collaboration and employers are looking for good team players. 

In a survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, 62 percent of employers identified the ability to “work effectively in teams” as the most important skill for college graduates. However, just under half of employers felt that recent graduates were well prepared to work in teams, so there’s plenty of room for educators to help kids improve this skill.

With the rise of remote work, collaboration in the workplace can look a bit different than it has in the past. Whether hashing out plans around the conference table, contributing to a shared document, or chatting on a video conference call, collaboration is a cornerstone of the modern workplace, and youth need to be prepared to excel in this environment.

Learning to Value and Respect Differences

Collaboration isn’t just an important skill for success in the workplace—it can also extend to many other parts of life, from community involvement to personal relationships. Effective collaboration in these areas requires empathy and mutual respect.

As kids learn to work together, they learn valuable life lessons, such as how to put themselves in another person’s shoes, communicate clearly and respectfully, give weight to someone else’s perspective, and make compromises. All of these lessons will help kids have meaningful interactions and work effectively with others in a wide range of contexts, whether in their own homes or the broader community.

How Youth Programs Can Help Kids Practice Collaboration

Out-of-school time (OST) programs can play a major role in helping kids prepare for modern life and success in the workplace. When it comes to helping kids exercise their collaboration muscles, there are many activities youth programs can employ. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Scavenger hunts: A scavenger hunt is a fun way to get kids active and working together as they look for clues or find items to check off on their list.
  • Engineering challenges: Have kids put their heads together to design and build the sturdiest tower from dry spaghetti and marshmallows or construct a device to protect a raw egg that’s dropped from a height.

  • Group mural painting: Want your space to represent the beautiful diversity of your group? Have kids each paint a tile to form a large mosaic or work together to fill in an outlined design on the wall. You can also have kids make their handprint part of the design.

  • Team sports: From soccer to softball, team sports have long been a fun and effective way to help kids learn the value of teamwork and how to play off each other’s strengths to accomplish a goal.

  • Collaborative storytelling: Get kids’ creative juices flowing as each person adds a line or two to a story or poem you make up together as a group.

  • Problem-solving: Pose a problem (either real or hypothetical) and have students reason through it together and come up with a solution. This is a great way to mimic the type of collaboration that happens in the adult world.

  • Problem-solving challenges: Group up for fun challenges that will have everyone working together towards a common goal. We've made a list of our favorites here

  • Relay races: Another fun athletic activity to promote teamwork is a relay race or group obstacle course. Even though one child from a team goes at a time, their teammates are there to cheer them on, and the team can celebrate their total time.

Team Up with Arly to Encourage Collaboration in Your Youth Program

Collaboration is key, and your OST program could be an important means through which kids in your community learn this valuable skill. Need a helping hand to make your program the best it can be? Team up with Arly! The Arly Explorers enrichment curriculum provides a wealth of fun and educational activities organized by theme. Take advantage of this easy to use curriculum, and watch kids learn and grow together!

Arly is also a trusted source for digital resources and tools to enhance your youth program. Request a demo to see this youth programming solution firsthand!