Games That Can Teach Good Sportsmanship

Athletics is one area of life where you can practice good sportsmanship.

Good sportsmanship is a quality that serves you throughout your life. When many think of sportsmanship, they initially connect the terms with athletics. For example, it's good sportsmanship to congratulate the winner of an event and not throw a fit in frustration. However, this quality is useful in all situations throughout your work and home life. Certain games you can play help teach good sportsmanship.

1 Build Something

Good sportsmanship is all about showing respect to one another in any kind of life situation, especially one that has a perceived winner and loser. Demonstrate this difference by building something together as a game. One way to show a winner or loser is to have one object end up larger than another. Illustrate this by having your participants separate into teams and give them the supplies to race in building a gingerbread house. Prepare the sections so that one house ends up smaller than the other. When finished, have everyone discuss why the smaller house is the perceived loser but point out how both are attractive and taste the same. End the contest by having each congratulate the other on a house well built.

2 Pass the Apple

Play a simple, yet effective, game of showing how words hurt each other when you show poor sportsmanship in Pass the Apple. Instruct everyone to sit in a circle and talk about how negative comments and begrudging others a good win hurts themselves and others. Take the apple in your hand and make a negative comment you hear after someone else beats you a competition, such as, "They didn't deserve to win." After making the statement, throw the apple on the ground and then pass it on to the next person who repeats the activity. After you've gone around the circle, cut the apple in half and show everyone how it is bruised on the inside. Relate that the same happens to us and others when we are bad sports.

3 Pin the Comment

Since athletics are a common place to show sportsmanship, use the illustration of a football player (or soccer, whatever best applies) for this game. Print out a large picture of a player and attach it to a wall. Cut up pieces of paper and have everyone write derogatory comments on them that you would hear after the loss of a game, such as "You only won because our best player is hurt." They can also write down actions like throwing down a piece of equipment or storming off without congratulating the other players. Have participants pin the comments to the player, demonstrating how these words and actions hurt the player, and themselves, if they felt the same responses from others.

4 Other Person's Shoes

A classic game of role playing is another solid way to teach good sportsmanship. Give everyone characters to take on, such as the person who got a job promotion over you. Have the participants act out a related scene. For example, give one person the role of a person whose been employed with a company for several years and has considerable experience versus another person representing a recent college graduate whiz-kid. Place people in the roles who aren't like their characters. Set up a scenario where the recent college grad gets a promotion over the seasoned employee and have them talk about what it feels like to be in each others' shoes. This game helps bond employees as they learn about the inner feelings of their fellow workers.

Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.