At The Cloverleaf School, we value the importance of teaching students to navigate their world with confidence, courtesy and capability. We recognize that many of our students have social skill deficits that greatly impact their daily lives. We understand that our students need direct instruction, structured practice and daily reinforcement to master the skills of interacting with others and their environment in a courteous and positive way. Therefore, our schedule includes one hour of explicit social skills instruction and practice each day.
Here is a short list of fun social skill games and ideas gathered from many sites, books and other teachers that you can use at home, in your school or in your practice. They are all fun and engaging ways to get the whole group involved and learn important skills they will need to navigate their world.
“I need to see your eyes”. It’s important to teach kids that making eye contact and observing the situation show other people that you are listening and that you are interested. While wearing dress-up clothes or even just regular clothes, start a conversation with your kids about a kid-friendly topic. After a few minutes, have them close their eyes and remove or change one dress up item. When they open their eyes, ask them to identify the change(s). This teaches kids to focus on the other person when engaged in conversation instead of focusing on what they want to say next.
The Name Game:
The Name Game helps children to meet each other and interact in a social setting; it teaches kids that it is important to have the attention of someone before attempting to make conversation. The game begins with all of the kids sitting together in a circle. One of the children is given a rubber, bouncy ball. The child with the ball will roll the ball to one of the other kids in the circle while saying the name of that other child. This process continues until all of the kids have had the ball rolled to them.
Tell Me How:
Make a simple drawing or project out of clay or blocks that can be broken down into three or four specific instructions. State the directions clearly and then give each child the necessary materials to recreate the project. When your child starts to work repeat the instructions again, this time slowly and one step at a time. This game teaches kids to slow down, listen, and ask for clarification. Younger children will need cues to ask for clarification or to repeat the instructions.
Giving and receiving of compliments are very important skills in the making and maintaining friendships and the skills are proven to help boost self confidence. This is a simple way to practice. In a circle, pick a direction. If you pick left, each child will give a compliment to the child closest to their left shoulder. Using eye contact, the person “giving” will give out a compliment and the child receiving the compliment will say “Thank you” with a smile. It’s also important to teach the facial expressions that go along with each.
Here is a good one for older children. It is important to teach them how to listen to what a friend is saying and to stay on topic. This is another great game to try during class, in the car or during a family meal. Explain that one person will start a story by saying the first line. Going around the table in a circle, each person adds to the story by picking up where the previous person left off. This one can take some practice with younger kids, and sometimes they get very excited and forget to wait a turn. Redirect the story back to the right place and keep going. This is a fun way to create a story together while practicing listening skills!
This game helps children develop self-control and maintain composure even under difficult situations. It requires a minimum of five players and is a super silly way to practice these skills. One player is the tour guide and another the tourist. They leave the room. While they are gone, the rest of the players pose in different ways. After a count of 20, the tour guide and tourist return to the room and start walking around the statues. They stop in front of each statue and try to make him laugh by telling jokes or making silly faces. Any child who laughs must sit down. The tour guide and tourist continue moving through the room until all the statues have laughed. The players who laughed first and second become the new tour guide and tourist.
Here is another one for older children, although in this digital age, it is never too early to teach your child to talk on the telephone. Create a phone out of paper card stock so that you don’t rack up a phone bill Practice the ways that you would talk to a friend or family member, someone at a local store, a pizza restaurant, or a stranger who is calling to sell you something.Teach your child the proper way to answer the phone. All the child should say when picking up the telephone is “hello.” Remember that your child will not always know who is on the other end of the telephone, and you do not want him/her giving out more information than is needed
Do you have ideas to share? We invite you to share them in our comments section below
Thank you Practical Katie who listed some of these ideas on her site.
She also has a wealth of knowledge and awesome strategies!