Social Skills Lesson Plan on Taking Turns

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

This lesson plan contains several activities to reinforce the concept of turn-taking. Activities include movement, art, and music, and they can stand alone or be adapted to tie in with your current curricular themes.

Learning Objective

As a result of this lesson, the student will be able to:

  • wait for their own turn during a shared activity or conversation
  • attend to the peer who is taking a turn during a shared activity or conversation
  • request a turn during a shared activity


  • 30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).


Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.


  • Taking turns
  • My turn
  • Wait
  • Pay attention


  • 25-piece jigsaw puzzle with numbered pieces OR covered poster and numbers on index cards
  • Large piece of bulletin board paper and markers/paints/crayons
  • Cards from a simple memory game OR other sets of matching cards
  • Bowl/bucket/container for memory cards
  • Ball or truck


The activities in this lesson work best when used with smaller groups. They could be set up as stations if you have enough staff to run each station or used as stations concurrent with other independent station activities.

Puzzle Discovery

  • Before the activity begins, select a 25-piece jigsaw puzzle. Number the backs of the pieces from 1 to 25. If you have a puzzle that is relevant to your current curricular theme, use it to give the activity added impact.
  • Tell the students you are going to discover a mystery puzzle. Give each student pieces of the puzzle. Students will be able to anticipate when their turn will come, but they must pay attention to the action to be ready for their turn.
  • The student with piece number one places their puzzle piece. In numerical order, students take turns putting their piece into the puzzle until the puzzle is completed.
  • Alternative: Instead of a puzzle, start with a large poster. Cover the poster with sticky notes, index cards, or individual sections of paper. Students receive numbers. Student number one goes first and removes one sticky note from the poster. Students continue in order until the mystery poster is revealed.

Progressive Picture

  • Choose a theme relevant to your current curriculum. Hang a large piece of bulletin board paper and seat students in a semi-circle around it, or place the paper on the floor and arrange students in a circle around it.
  • Tell students you are going to create a picture and give them the theme. Each student will get a turn to add an item to the picture.
  • Select the first student. When that student is done, they pick the next student. Continue until everyone has had a turn.

Pass the Ball or Truck

  • Arrange students on the floor in a circle. Roll the ball or push the truck to one student, saying the student's name as you do. That student must pass the ball to another student, with no students repeated until everyone has had a turn. Tell students to remember whose turn was before and after their turn.
  • After completing one circuit, students attempt to pass the ball around again in the same order.

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