Networking and collaboration have become two of the most important job and societal skills, and it's important for children to learn the social norms and skills. In Parenting Science's "Social Skills Activities for Children and Teenagers," Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., states children develop many of their social skills through free play, but they need structure to ensure that they learn all types of social skills. Games are a great way to motivate children to learn social skills in a fun, relaxed environment.
The Name Game
The Name Game teaches children how to learn to get someone's attention before speaking. In addition, it serves as an introduction game for groups of even the smallest children. Ask children to sit in a circle, and provide a ball. Each child must say the name of someone else in the circle, then roll the ball to the person. It is now the recipient's turn to name a child and roll the ball. Repeat until each child in the circle has gone and all children know one another's names.
This traditional game helps children develop listening skills. Have children sit in a circle with about an arm's length between each of them. The first child in the circle or the adult whispers a message in the next child's ear. That child whispers the message in the next child's ear and so on. When the last child hears the message, he says it out loud.
Keep It Going
Games that encourage children to keep a ball "in play" are more than just entertaining. They also teach children to anticipate and predict one another's actions. This is an important social skill because predicting the actions of those we encounter helps us make good social decisions. Children can kick, bounce, volley or do anything with a ball as long as the object is to keep it from touching the ground, standing still or otherwise going "out of play."
What Am I?
This game helps students develop listening skills. In addition, it helps students learn to problem solve and anticipate. Say a sentence like, "I was in the park and I heard this sound: miaow. I turned around and I saw a ..." The children must then guess what you saw. You can do this for a number of scenarios, such as the zoo or the city.
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