SLP Resources to Help Students Build Social Skills

Hero Activities to Promote Social Learning
Cross Country Education
May 26, 2022 02:39 AM (GMT-04:00)
Educator Resources

Evidence-Based Games and Activities SLPs Can Use to Promote Social Learning

Building social skills can be great fun for children – especially if their SLPs add exciting games and activities to the mix!

In a recent Cross Country Education webinar, Barbara Gutierrez, EdD, CCC-SLP, shared various activities school SLPs can use to help students strengthen their social skills. To begin, Dr. Gutierrez outlined the benefits of using evidence-based social skills activities and games. Then she gave various examples SLPs can use with their students. Here are highlights in case you missed the webinar. Enjoy!

13 Benefits of Social Skills Activities and Games

Evidence-based activities and games are ideal for developing social skills because they can:

  1. Increase socialization
  2. Promote social competence
  3. Build positive relationships
  4. Allow for creativity
  5. Help children understand others’ feelings and thoughts
  6. Teach children how to play with their peers
  7. Help children learn to take turns
  8. Allow children to become role models
  9. Help build self-control and manage emotions
  10. Provide opportunities to read body language
  11. Allow children to learn while doing something they enjoy
  12. Be adapted for different needs
  13. Give children plenty of practice

Social Skills Activities and Games

These games and activities are designed for various ages, from preschool through elementary.

Roll the Ball

Sitting on the floor and rolling a ball back and forth lays the foundation for other social skills games and helps teach toddlers to:

  • Take turns
  • Practice self-control
  • Play with others

Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light

Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light are ideal for teaching preschool-age children to:

  • Get along with others
  • Develop focus and attention skills
  • Restrain impulses
  • Follow directions
  • Regulate behaviors

Virtual Playtime

Virtual Playtime is beneficial if children are social distancing. Allowing children to spend time together over video chat can help them:

  • Learn to make eye contact by looking at the screen
  • Increase problem-solving abilities

Emotion Charades

In Emotion Charades, the SLP puts slips of paper with different emotions written on them into a hat. Children then pick a slip of paper out of the hat and act out that emotion. This game can help children:

  • Learn to recognize emotions using facial/body clues
  • Strengthen emotion management

Topic Game

In the Topic Game, the SLP chooses a topic. The children then name things that fit in the category using each letter of the alphabet. For example, Fruit: apple, banana, cantaloupe…This helps children learn to:

  • Stick to one subject
  • Follow directions
  • Make connections
  • Get creative

Conversation Cards

Conversation Cards feature conversation starters and are particularly useful in helping children (including kids with autism) to:

  • Learn how to start a conversation
  • Talk about a specific topic
  • Carry on a conversation
  • Learn structure in conversation skills

Name Game

In the Name Game, players sit in a circle on the floor around a ball. The child with the ball calls out someone’s name and rolls the ball to them. Next, that child calls out someone else’s name and rolls the ball to them. This game helps children:

  • Learn others’ names
  • Be attentive to others
  • Get to know each other

Community Gardening

Working together in a school garden can provide a unique way for children to learn social skills while nurturing living things. It can help children:

  • Increase social competence
  • Learn responsibility
  • Calm emotions

Scavenger Hunts

In Scavenger Hunts, children work together to find objects and win prizes at the end. These can be played indoors or outdoors and help children learn to:

  • Work as a team
  • Get organized
  • Make decisions

Team Sports

All kinds of team sports are excellent for promoting social skills. They can help children learn to:

  • Be a good winner – avoid bragging and show respect for the losing team
  • Be a good loser – congratulate the winner and avoid blaming teammates for a loss
  • Show respect to other players and the referee
  • Encourage and offer help to less skillful players
  • Resolve conflicts without relying on the teacher

Bookmark these activities so you can use them the next time you plan to work on social skills with your students! Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for our next educational webinar.

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