Learning social skills is an important part of development for children. Children need to learn to exhibit appropriate social behaviour during informal situations with peers and adults at school, as well as at home. Social skills instruction in the form of games allows kids to truly acquire the skills necessary for successful interaction with others.
Ask and Answer
These pre-made games are played like bingo. Each card has pictures of people in various social situations. Ask and Answer targets the six skill areas of politeness, problem solving, staying on topic, requesting information, initiating conversation and feelings. To play, the teacher asks students what they would do in certain situations. The questions are in the activity booklet included in the game box. When a student answers, she gets to cover that square with a foam token. The first player to get three in a row is the winner.
Ryuu World is a fantasy card game designed to teach kids social skills, using a world of dragons and make-believe. Players collect cards and act out social situations during the game. Players must correctly act out correct social behaviours to advance within the game. The dragons "evolve" during the play of the game, allowing players to see the positive consequences of appropriate social behaviour.
Thumball is a great way to teach kids how to interact with each other. It can be used with a small group of children or an entire class. Begin by having the group decide which thumb is the "answer" thumb. The teacher or leader then tosses or rolls the ball to a student. When the ball is caught, the child looks at the correct thumb. The student must respond appropriately to the statement under their thumb. Students must respond to the person who had the ball before them. They must practice making eye contact and speaking clearly when having a conversation. This game promotes social skill development and emotional intelligence.
Charades is an age-old game that works to teach social skills. A player chooses a slip of paper and reads the word or phrase written. He must try to represent this word or phrase to his teammates through pantomime. The player needs to decide the best gestures to use to communicate most effectively. Students learn how to read body language and other social cues from peers. After each round, teachers or leaders can lead a discussion about what worked and what didn't. Ask students about why certain gestures are better than others.
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