Social Skills Group Games & Activities

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Teaching and developing social skills is an important aspect of being an educator. This lesson will provide you with several games and activities you can use in your classroom to help your students develop good social skills.

What Are Social Skills?

Every day, you interact with a large variety of people. These might be complete strangers, acquaintances, or close friends, and family. Regardless of who you interact with, you use a set of skills and knowledge to help facilitate communication and interaction. These skills are collectively referred to as social skills. However, these are not skills you can innately pick up. You were, at one point, taught how to develop these skills by your teachers.

As a teacher now, your job is to help your own students learn and develop their social skills. This lesson will provide several group games and activities you can use to help your students practice using their social skills to interact with the world around them.

A Blindfolded Walk

This game can be played in a variety of ways with different sizes of student groups. You will need a blindfold, an open space, several obstacles (such as chairs), and a few simple musical instruments (a tambourine, bongo, xylophone, harmonica, etc.). Begin this game by telling your students that they are going to work together to help guide someone who is blindfolded through an obstacle course. However, they will not be able to use their voices and will instead need to use instruments to help their friend walk.

After the course has been set up and a student has been blindfolded, have several others pick one of the instruments. Tell the students that they then need to decided together which instrument will indicate which direction the blindfolded student should walk. For example, the tambourine may indicate a step forward, the bongo may indicate a step left, the xylophone may indicate a step right, and the harmonica may indicate that the blindfolded student needs to stop.

After students have chosen the instruments and decided what they stand for, the game can begin. Students will need to work together, without talking, to guide their classmate through the obstacle course. You can also add a competitive element by timing the groups to see who gets to the end of the course the fastest.

This game will encourage students to practice active listening, problem solving, and cooperation as they won't be able to get anything done without working together and making decisions. By not allowing students to use their voices, they will need to rely on each other to perform their designated role, which can demonstrate how important trust is in social interactions.

The Talking Stick

Class discussions are a great way to help students develop social skills. Plus, they can also be used for a variety of academic purposes, so they often serve a double purpose. However, a class discussion will only be successful if students understand the importance of conversational turn taking, active listening, and appropriately responding to one another. This is why using a talking stick is a useful way to establish rules for class discussions.

This activity may take several tries for students to master. For the first few times you attempt this kind of class discussion, consistently remind students of the expectations you have for them. Whenever a student fails to meet one of these expectations, remind him or her. Through consistent reinforcement, students will learn what a good, productive discussion looks like.

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