Part of a child’s development involves the ability to interact socially with other children and people. While some children adjust easily to social interactions, others may have more of a challenge. Parents and teachers can engage children in various games that will help them develop their social skills and also provide them with fun.
Build a consensus$0027
For this game, children learn the importance of negotiation and compromise by planning a simulated birthday party. Individually, children brainstorm options regarding activities, lunch, and type of birthday cake. Once the children identify their favorite and least favorite options, they get together to see what they agree on.
The classic game of Charades gives children the opportunity to use social skills like perspective taking and reading body language. Players take pieces of paper out of a container and try to convey – just by gestures – the chosen word to their teammates. Teams that guess correctly receive 1 point; if the team doesn’t guess correctly, the opposing team gets a chance to steal. Aside from using non-verbal communication skills, children converge and interact socially as they try to guess the word correctly.
Cooperative Ball Games
Ball games help children successfully interact with each other in the name of a common goal. Without interrupting or dropping a ball, children hit, kick, or throw a ball back and forth. To keep the ball moving back and forth, children anticipate their partner’s actions and make adaptations based on those actions.
Make the statue laugh$0027
Strong social skills involve the ability to practice self-control. In this game, one child plays “It” as all the other children freeze like statues. The “It” child performs actions to make the “frozen” children laugh, making funny faces, doing a wild dance or making funny noises. The first child to laugh becomes “It” in the next round. If the “It” child performs genuinely funny actions and the “frozen” children refrain from laughing, they successfully display self-control.
The Name Game$0027
Before talking to someone, children should learn the importance of capturing the person’s attention. For this game, the children sit in a circle, with one child holding a ball. The boy with the ball says the name of another boy in the circle and rolls the ball to him. The child who receives the ball in turn says the name of another child in the circle and rolls the ball to her. The game continues in this way, with the children learning to address the person they wish to speak to.
Kids put the “squeeze” on social skills when they play with an Answers In Motion “Thumb,” recommended for ages 3 and up. Kicking, rolling, passing and throwing a tight ball in any direction, kids practice their social and communication skills in “Easy”, “Hard”, “Hard” and “Challenge” modes. Each panel of the ball contains a graphic, logo, photo or printed word related to the specific theme. By catching a ball and looking at the panel under a specific finger, children can answer for themselves; ask another player to answer; or, predict the answer that another player would give. If a child’s thumb lands on the title space or “Shnoogie” space, choose the space to respond to. The themed thumb balls include five “Mania” balls (“Answer”, “Category”, “Emotion”, “Letter” and “Football”), as well as learning balls for “ABC”, “Animals”, “Numbers” and “Shapes”. Other thumbs up include “Peace Catcher”, “Icebreaker”, “Always Love”, “Meet and Greet”, “Move Your Body”, “Parts of a Story”, “Virtues and Values”, and “Who Are You?” . A leader can set time limits for responses and the length of the game, and award/deduct points for children’s responses.