Nonverbal Communication Activities for Kids

Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Nonverbal communication is an important skill for kids to develop. This lesson will detail several activities you can use in your classroom to help your students practice and master their nonverbal communication skills.

What Is Nonverbal Communication?

Every day you communicate with people in a variety of different ways. When you think of communication, you probably think of speaking or writing to someone. However, there is another form of communication that you are probably not aware you are engaging in most of the time. This is nonverbal communication, or the kind of communication that you do with your body movements, facial expressions, and eye contact.

This communication often sends a louder message than the words you're speaking, so it is an important skill to practice. Therefore, as a teacher, you should incorporate activities in your classroom that allow your students to engage in purposeful nonverbal communication. These activities can help make your students more aware of how their nonverbal communication affects their relationships and interactions with others.

Nonverbal Teamwork

There are several activities that will encourage your students to work together using nonverbal communication. These activities will help your students understand how powerful nonverbal communication is. They will definitely be surprised at how much they can accomplish without speaking a single word!

Playing Card Match-Up

The first of these activities only requires a single pack of playing cards. You can use other kinds of cards too, as long as they have distinct colors or suits on them. Give each student a card and instruct them that they're job is to organize themselves into groups according to the suit or color on their card. However, they cannot speak to one another, nor can they show their card to anyone else. Make sure your students understand these two restrictions before beginning the game because it is these two rules that force students to engage in meaningful nonverbal communication in order to work together.

Act It Out

Another fun activity for students to work on together involves acting out scripts. For this activity, divide your class into two groups. The groups will then take turns writing a nonverbal script and acting it out. For example, group 1 will first write a simple scene that is acted using only gestures and expressions, and group 2 will act out the script. Then the groups switch roles. This activity can be fun for students, but will also demonstrate how different messages and emotions are communicated nonverbally.

Nonverbal Games

Many popular games are based off of the challenge of nonverbal communication. Charades, for example, is built entirely around attempting to convey something without speaking. Therefore, these kinds of games are also suitable for teaching and helping students practice nonverbal communication. However, you can add additional rules to the games to make them more suitable for an educational setting.

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