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The Cooperative Games Bullying Prevention Program Review by Renita Kuehner

The Baby Beluga Game
Suzanne Lyons
The Store
PO Box 2046
Nevada City, CA 95959

Bullying is a big reason that we chose to homeschool. No matter how much that schools do try, there does not seem to be a substantial change in attitudes. We recently had the opportunity to review The Cooperative Games Bullying Prevention Program. What a great introduction we received to the benefits of cooperative games and the movement to change the attitude against competition and encourage working together.

We received the book The Cooperative Games Bullying Program and The Baby Beluga board game. The author designed the game to be used at an early age. The target is Pre-K through Grade 2. The idea is to instruct kids from a young age to not develop bad habits and competitive attitudes.

In the book, The Cooperative Games Bullying Program, Suzanne Lyons does an excellent job at talking about bullying and how subtly it can start happening, right under a teacher’s watchful eye. This can happen under a parent’s watchful eye also. So, we need to learn as parents the essential conflict-resolution skills and teach them to our children, right alongside what they are learning at school or even when we are out in homeschool group activities. Using scientifically based methods, in her book, Suzanne Lyons really lays out the groundwork to learn essential skills and how to teach them through cooperative games. She gives examples of both board games and cooperative physically active games.

Cooperation is a life-long skill needed as children grow. Not only is it especially important in their own family settings, but also an essential skill as they join the workforce. Cooperative games go beyond just working in a group project setting but teach skills in how to tackle multiple step problems. The same as most adults’ face in the workplace. So, giving kids an early advantage in getting and keeping a job.

The Baby Beluga Game is based on the character from the famous Raffi song. He worked in cooperation with Suzanne Lyons to create this beautifully made multi-level level game. This green game board is made of recycled materials and the playing pieces are made from wood sustainably harvest in the U.S. The inks are vegetable-based. As many look for more environmentally friendly materials in their homes and classrooms, this game meets all those quotas.

As you start, each player gets a set amount of hearts based on the number of players. The goal is for Baby Beluga and his friends to make it to open water to play. The game can be played with non-readers or even beginner readers. You can choose when to use the reading cards for older students. As they play, students learn to share their hearts with each other as they work together to take Baby Beluga and his friends to play in the Open Sea.

We have enjoyed this cute game. Not only are the girls learning about cooperation, which is so important in a family, but they are having fun doing it. Scattered throughout the game play book are various arctic and animal/whale facts mixing science into children’s game play. Suzanne Lyons also included some active game suggestions to play after the kids finish sitting. This game could be played easily with typical and special needs children.

I am keeping The Cooperative Games Bullying Prevention Program close at hand. I am constantly telling the kids, that no matter how much they may annoy each other, family needs to stay close because we know we can rely on each other. I try to watch closely for signs of bullying that most people call “sibling rivalry.” With the help of Suzanne Lyons suggestions, I am better armed to tackle situations of concern when they arise. And I can also better recognize them, no matter how subtle they appear.

-Product review by Renita Kuehner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2019