In the long-standing tradition of siblings, my kids argue with each other. A lot. This seems to be a big problem in the car, and I can only pull over so many times to try to referee or wait out an argument. To channel the arguments and to try to make it more about persuasion and less about punching, I created a game we call Debate. It helps to keep them busy, helps them to learn to formulate arguments using words instead of whining, and sometimes they even see things in the same way.
How to Play:
1.Player 1 selects a topic (examples: trees, parks, air, books, trains). For this example, we’ll use STRAWBERRIES as the topic.
2. Player 1 chooses a position and presents the first argument by starting out the statement with “I am for (or against) STRAWBERRIES”. Then, the player presents their reason(s). The message should be brief with a focus on presenting persuasive and compelling reasons. When finished, Player 1 concludes with “And that’s why I’m for (or against) STRAWBERRIES.”
3. Player 2 chooses a position and presents an argument using the opening and closing statements. Repeat until all players have had a turn.
4. Wrap up the debate by taking a vote to see if anyone was persuaded to switch sides. The position with the most votes wins.
1. Make a few rules about topics that appeal to your general sensibilities. I have two rules – we can’t repeat topics in a single game, and no topics that include bathroom words. That last rule is essential if you have an 8 year old boy. Trust me.
2. At least one player should take the unpopular position, usually that is me. Even if you are FOR STRAWBERRIES in real life, if all the other players are as well, you’ll need to take the AGAINST STRAWBERRIES stance to round out the arguments.
Where & When to Play:
This game is ideal for the car, but really it can be played anywhere arguing normally occurs. Which is everywhere.
Ages 4 and Up. Remembering the structure of the game requires a bit of memory, and for my kids, this seemed to become easier to play at age 4.