Activities to promote social skills

  • Social Language Activities

    Games and Activities
    1. Barrier Game:

    Skills Developed: Communication skills, Identifying colors and shapes, Perspective taking
    Materials: Colored blocks of different shapes and sizes, One manila folder for each family member

    Instructions: Set up a manila folder in front of each person. Each person gets the same color and kinds of blocks to put behind their folder. Nobody should be able to see each other's blocks. One person is "it" and uses words to explain where to place each block. For example a person might say, "Lay the red rectangle block flat on the table." "Put the orange square block on top of the red rectangle block." "Put the long blue block next to the red block so that they are touching." Continue until all the blocks are placed. Remove the folders and see if everyone was able to create the same figure as the person who was "it." Then the next person takes a turn. As this game is played on other days encourage the child to give more details in creating their block figure.

    Some children have difficulties with understanding perspective of others. This activity helps them to understand that other people cannot see what they can see. Usually at the start of this activity children will say, "Put the red block there." It also works on increasing communication skills and can work on colors and shapes.


    For less verbal children, you may want to only do one block at a time and then have everyone remove their folders to see if it was done right. For children who are working on increasing vocabulary then "it" would just say which block to pick up and everyone would show the block.

    2. Snowball Fight:

    Skills Developed:  Social interaction, Team Play, Gross Motor

    Materials:   At least 1 bag of jumbo cotton balls


    Pick a location within your home and move the furniture to the side to give enough room for the activity. Give each person some cotton balls and begin throwing at each other! This activity is very engaging and children love to gang up on the parents. If wanted, you can also divide the family into two teams and use a piece of string on the floor to show the divider. There are no winners or losers in this activity and it is a great way to work on gross motor skill of throwing as well as social interaction with others.

    3.  Animal Antics 
    Materials:   Animal Pictures, Construction paper or cardstock, Glue

    1. Cut out pictures of animals.
    2. Glue the pictures onto construction paper or cardstock. If possible, laminate the pictures for durability.
    3. Lay the pictures on the floor. Have everyone stand on one of the animals. Explain that when they hear the music start, they need to act like the animal they are standing on. When the music stops they need to move quickly and find a different animal to stand on.
    4. Play the music and pause for several different animal turns.
    5. Let others take turns being the one to pause the music.
    1. Show the pictures one by one and have everyone act out the actions of that animal at the same time.
    2. For a classroom setting, put an animal picture on the back of each child's chair with the child's name on it. Whenever you play music, each child is to act out their animal as they come to their seat. Change the animals daily or weekly.

    Activity to assist with Behavior Management 

    Your child is able to perform a certain task such as getting ready for school.  But it seems to take forever to get the task completed.  This idea can help motivate your child to be faster and get the task done.

    Beat the Clock:


    1. Get a timer and tell your child that you are going to play a game called "Beat the clock."
    2. Set the timer for a certain amount of time and tell your child that you are going to see if he can complete the task (such as getting ready for school) before the time runs out.
    3. Do this consistently over a few weeks to help your child learn how to do the routine quickly.
    4. You can time how fast your child can do the task and write it down each day.  He or she can then compete against himself or herself to get a better time each day.
    5. For some children they might need an extra motivator to keep trying to beat the clock.  Select a favorite toy, fidget, treat or story that the child can earn each time they beat the clock. 

    Motivator Ideas:

    1. Getting ready for school.  Choice of fidget or toy to use on the bus.  Beat for a week and get to choose where the family eats out.
    2. Getting ready for bed.  Choose the story to be read or stay up for 5 extra minutes.
    3. Completing chores.  Treat or sensory activity after work is done, or play outside on bike or scooter.
    4. Completing homework.  Extra video game time.