The main component of social skills activities and games is YOU! Children learn social skills from the adults around them. Model the correct behavior in different social situations and you will be well on your way to teaching children acceptable social behaviors in a society.
Teaching social skills to young children assists in their development to become well rounded adults. Social skills activities can help children express their needs and emotions as well as the way they interact socially with their peers.
With the right social tools children are able to build meaningful friendships that are based on communication and understanding.
Remember, social skills are in fact learned behaviors. The primary place children are socialized is in the family. Many children pick up social skills intuitively, some need to be made aware, and others need much instruction and practice.
There are many skills children need to acquire in order to properly function in a society. Consider beginning with the following:
Being able to to understand a social situation from another person's perspective.
Being able to control initial impulses (thoughts, desires) and not acting on them.
Showing patience. Being able to delay gratification of needs and desires.
Being able to solve an interpersonal problem with a peer without resorting to verbal or physical aggression.
Example: Noah has great ideas, great ideas, great ideas.
Noah has great ideas and we love to play with him.
Social Skill - Awareness of others.
Invite one child to put their head on the table and cover their eyes. Invite a second child to come and 'knock-knock' (tap) the first child's back and say: "Knock, Knock. who am I? What is my name? Encourage the child to change their voice. The first child needs to guess who is knocking on their back.
Social Skills - Listening Skills
Sit in a circle time position on the floor. One child begins this game. They need to say their name and introduce the person sitting next to them.
Example: Hello, my name is Charlie and this is my friend Jessica. Jessica continues the game: Hello, my name is Jessica and this is my friend Ruby.
Social Skills - "Manners"
Sit the children in a circle time position on the floor. Begin by asking the first child:
"What is your name? What is your favorite activity in class?"
The child may reply:
"My name is Jeff and I like building with blocks."
The child next to them needs to repeat what Jeff said and add their own comment.
Social Skills - Listening Skills, Conversation Skills
These are great books you can read to your child about social situations. They may also give you ideas for social skills activities you can play at home.
Ask the children to find a partner. One child remains him/herself and the other child is their reflection in the mirror. When the child raises his/her hands, 'their' reflection does the same.
Social Skills - Positive interaction with other
Ask the children to find a partner. One child is the puppet and the other child is the puppeteer. The puppet needs to do whatever the master asks of him/her.
Example: Stump your feet. Clap your hands. Reach to the sky. Shout Hurray!
Social Skills - Positive interaction with others.
I like to play this game with the kids in class. I ask them a general question such as:
"What was your favorite part of the day today?"
I begin by letting the first child answer the question. The next child that follows needs to repeat what the first child said.
Teacher - "What was your favorite part of the day?" Lucy - " I liked coloring and tracing." Teacher - Ashley, what was Lucy's favorite part of the day? Ashley - " Lucy liked coloring and tracing."
Social Skills - Listening Skills. Impulse Control.
Conversation skills are essential for the success of children entering kindergarten and grade one. By the age of six, children are expected to be able to communicate their needs calmly, listen respectfully when someone else is speaking and solving conflicts with little aggression of any kind.
Conversation skills include the ability to interact appropriately with others verbally as well as in body language. These skills require children to be able to read the facial and body expressions of others and respond in a way that is considered appropriate. Most children pick up on social cues, others need guidance and assistance in developing this skill.
There are children who have difficulty looking directly into the eyes of the person they are talking to. Remind them to "look me in the eye" and congratulate them when they do.
Teach the children to express their feelings. This format works well in my classroom:
"I don't like it when you __________ (call me names, take my things without asking).
Another thing we like to say in class is:
"Use your word, not your hands."
This also helps children develop their own self awareness.
Awareness of Others
There are times when children hurt one another either emotionally or physically. Regardless of whether or not the action was accidental, it is important to teach children to take care of the situation they created. This is what we say:
"Look at your friend's face."
"How do you think they feel?"
"What can YOU do to help them?"
Teach the children to:
"Take a deep breathe."
"Count to ten."
I also like to put my ten fingers up and ask them to blowout the birthday candles. With each breath they take, I put one finger down. I find this helps them focus on something else. Once they are calmed down you can discuss the issue that caused them to be upset.
To further understand the topic of social skills read my interview with Dr. Miri Arie, Child Psychologist.
Preschool Activities Home > Social Skill Activities and Games