What Is Cooperative Play? Definition, Examples, and Benefits

Definition: Cooperative play is a type of social interaction where two or more individuals cooperate with each other to achieve goals. Co-operation means that both parties have equal say in the outcome of the game; it does not mean that one party always wins. Cooperation may involve any number of players but usually involves at least two and often three. The term “cooperative” refers to the fact that all participants share some degree of control over their actions.


1) A group of friends go out drinking together and decide to stay up late playing video games.

They do so because they enjoy each others company and want to keep from getting into trouble by staying awake later than they would like.

2) Two students work together to solve a problem using teamwork.

They do so because they want to get ahead in school and avoid being behind.

3) A couple of friends go swimming together and spend most of the time talking about their lives without making much physical contact.

Their relationship is based on mutual respect and trust rather than sexual attraction.

4) A company of soldiers works together to fight an opposing group of soldiers.

They do so because they want to win and avoid being killed.

5) A group of friends agree to meet each other for a party at a friend’s house next weekend.

They do so because they like hanging out with each other and being in the company of good friends.

6) A family sets aside time every Sunday night to eat dinner together.

They do so because they want to spend more time together and enjoy each others’ company.


1) Having friends is beneficial for one’s growth and development.

Friends can help you achieve your goals, teach you new things, offer you emotional support, and keep you from feeling lonely and isolated.

2) Teamwork often leads to better achievements than working alone.

When people work together they can cover for each others’ weaknesses and can divide labor more efficiently.

3) People most often find themselves working with friends and family rather than people they don’t know.

This is beneficial because people tend to work better with others they know and trust over those they don’t.

4) Co-operation involves similar goals and priorities.

This is beneficial because everyone involved is heading in the same direction rather than each going their own way.

5) Friends and family tend to keep one another accountable and encourage one another rather than abandoning one another when times are tough.

6) The creation of an environment where families can spend quality time with one another strengthens the bond between each other and creates a support network.

This is beneficial because it helps to prevent divorce and reduces the chances of domestic abuse.

Sources & references used in this article:

Social benefits of a tangible user interface for children with autistic spectrum conditions by W Farr, N Yuill, H Raffle – Autism, 2010 – journals.sagepub.com

The benefits of playing video games. by I Granic, A Lobel, RCME Engels – American psychologist, 2014 – psycnet.apa.org

Cooperative play and problem solving in preschool children by GB Ramani – 2006 – d-scholarship.pitt.edu

To asymmetry and beyond! Improving social connectedness by increasing designed interdependence in cooperative play by J Harris, M Hancock – Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on …, 2019 – dl.acm.org

Children’s beliefs toward cooperative playing with peers with disabilities in physical education by I Obrusnikova, M Block, S Dillon – Adapted physical …, 2010 – journals.humankinetics.com

Monotonic solutions of cooperative games by HP Young – International Journal of Game Theory, 1985 – Springer

Peers, cooperative play, and the development of empathy in children by CA Brownell, S Zerwas, G Balaram – Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2002 – cambridge.org