4.94/5
1164 Verified Reviews on
 40% off when you buy 8 items or more. Use code 40OFFSHOP at checkout.
0 8 4 7 0 1 Units sold

Key Takeaways:

  • Social skills activities enhance a child’s ability to interact with others and respond to various social situations.
  • Engaging in social skills activities teach children important life skills like conflict resolution, turn-taking, and maintaining interpersonal relationships.
  • Some social skills activities include Simon Says, conversation Jenga, story chains, community gardening, and roleplaying.

A child’s social-emotional development can determine their place in society. They learn how to communicate with and respond to others through interactions with their parents, teachers, and peers.

While socialization develops naturally, social skills activities for kids can support the learning process.

What are Social Skills Activities?

Social skills activities aim to improve a child’s ability to:

  • Actively listen
  • Communicate
  • Problem-solve
  • Take care of themselves and others
  • Recognize and express their emotions

By engaging in these activities regularly, children improve their social competence and boost their confidence in social settings.

Benefits of Social Skills Activities for Kids

Developing social skills enables children to communicate more effectively and compassionately. There are also other distinct advantages, which include the following:

  • Better relationships. Children with good social skills can relate to others on a deeper level. They can convey their thoughts productively and demonstrate empathy toward others.
  • Self-reliance. When children can communicate effectively, they develop better problem-solving skills. They are more likely to ask for help and approach conflict resolution with confidence.
  • Enhanced teamwork. Communicative children work better with others, as they can express their opinions and think creatively.
  • Academic and career success. Team players naturally achieve greater academic success and are more prepared for workplace challenges. Social skills activities equip children with critical interpersonal skills essential for navigating future workplace complexities [*].
  • Improved communication skills in children with autism. Children with autism experiencing difficulties interacting and understanding social cues can significantly benefit from social skills activities [*]. These activities help them practice essential social skills, develop empathy, engage in conversations, and build relationships.

20 Social Skills Activities for Kids

Providing children with opportunities to become better communicators and collaborators sets them up for future success. Here are 20 of the best social skills activities for kids.

1. Emotion Charades

People express emotions through more than just words, and playing emotion charades will help children better understand gestures.

Objective: To identify emotions and feelings

Instructions:

  1. Write a few emotions down on pieces of paper (for example, angry, sad, and happy).
  2. Have the children draw lots.
  3. Each child will act out an emotion and audience members will guess what they are portraying.

2. Friendship Bracelet Exchange

Crafting friendship bracelets is a fun activity that exercises creativity and provides opportunities for children to express appreciation for others.

Objective: To express gratitude to others

Instructions:

  1. Use materials like beads and charms to create friendship bracelets.
  2. Exchange the friendship bracelets and encourage your child to explain why they chose to give their bracelet to a specific person.

3. Conversation Jenga

Playing Conversation Jenga is an excellent way to introduce peers to each other and learn how to interact.

Objective: To break the ice and get to know peers

Instructions:

  1. Number the Jenga blocks and assign questions like “What is your favorite animal and why?” or “Who is your favorite superhero and why?”
  2. Play as you normally would, removing a block without toppling the tower.
  3. Answer each question.

4. Feelings Journal

Children shouldn’t feel obliged to share everything with their parents. However, having a safe space to express themselves is paramount to their mental health.

Objective: To reflect on feelings and responses

Instructions:

  1. Choose a journal. Let your child’s imagination run wild, decorating it in ways that speak to them.
  2. Encourage your child to free-write, allowing their thoughts to flow uninterrupted.

5. Cooperation Obstacle Course

Competition is healthy and natural amongst children, but cooperation is fundamental. Instead of testing a child’s speed and endurance, create an obstacle course that requires teamwork.

Objective: To foster teamwork and inspire critical thinking

Instructions:

  1. Set up a course that requires teamwork.
  2. Blindfold one child and appoint another to be their guide. Have the guide talk the blindfolded player through a maze.
  3. Add other teamwork-centric obstacles, like using pool noodles to carry balls from one bucket to another.

6. Role Reversal

People often learn best through experience, and providing an opportunity for your child to see life in someone else’s shoes can be surprising.

Objectives: To learn new perspectives and understand different roles

Instructions:

  1. Roleplay scenarios in which your child goes through your routine of preparing breakfast, going to “work,” and doing household chores.
  2. Ask them how they felt, what they liked, and what they found challenging.

7. Thank You Notes

Well-socialized children should know how to give and receive compliments. It’ll allow them to appreciate diversity among others.

Objectives: To express gratitude for others

Instructions:

  1. Provide card-making materials like card stock, markers, pens, ribbons, and stickers.
  2. Encourage your children to write notes to different people, like classmates, teachers, and school staff.
  3. Deliver the thank you notes in person.

8. Problem-Solving Skits

It can be challenging to anticipate when you might encounter a problem, but you can’t be too prepared. Enacting potentially tricky situations allows your child to consider their response in a safe environment.

Objective: To prepare your child for challenging situations that require conflict resolution

Instructions:

  1. Write a few scenarios on several pieces of paper and put them in a jar or bucket.
  2. Have your child pick a scenario from the bucket and reenact them. Consider scenarios like disagreeing with a friend or working on a difficult school project.
  3. Reflect on how the skit made your child feel and what they might have struggled with.

9. Story Chain

Story chains are an excellent way to exercise your child’s imagination while inspiring a sense of teamwork. They also exercise your child’s improvisational skills, as they require your child to create a narrative on the spot.

Incorporate our suggested social skills books into your child’s storytelling exercises—they might take inspiration from what they read!

Objective: To inspire creativity in a group setting

Instructions:

  1. Create a few cards featuring words, pictures, and topics like “family,” “zoo,” “baker,” or “vacation.”
  2. Have each child draw a card, adding onto an improvised story according to the topic written on the card.

10. Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

Performing acts of kindness shouldn’t be limited to people your child knows—everyone deserves to experience kindness! These acts can be simple and even unplanned.

Objective: To show respect to others, even strangers

Instructions:

  1. Create a list of random acts of kindness like helping a neighbor tend to their garden or helping someone take their groceries to their car.
  2. Check off items on this list, aiming to achieve at least one a day.

11. Staring Contests

Maintaining eye contact plays a surprisingly essential role in conversation-making. It makes people feel more connected and comfortable. Staring contests can also enhance a child’s ability to focus on a task.

Objective: To improve focus and connections

Instructions:

  1. Sit across from each other in a comfortable space like the bedroom or living room.
  2. If your child is uncomfortable, place a sticker on your forehead for them to look at, gradually making eye contact as they relax.

12. Scavenger Hunts

In a scavenger hunt, children work together to solve puzzles and achieve a shared goal. You can up the stakes by providing a simple reward, such as a snack or toy.

Objective: To improve teamwork and organizational skills

Instructions:

  1. Set up your scavenger hunt in one space like the living room or garden. Hide several objects of your choice, like figurines or balls.
  2. Tell your children how many objects are hidden. Provide your children with clues. They can be riddles or descriptive clues.
  3. If you want to make the hunt more challenging, you can introduce a time limit.

13. Roll the Ball

Roll the ball is appropriate for toddlers, as it only requires simple movements. It’s a great way to get children to connect.

Objective: To introduce joint activities with other children

Instructions:

  1. Have your children sit across from each other in an open space.
  2. Ask your children to roll the ball back and forth from each other.
  3. With each roll, find ways to introduce conversation topics. For example, each child can share their favorite times of the day, their favorite cartoons, or their favorite foods.

14. Productive Debate

If you have older children, hosting a productive debate can be a healthy way to explore potentially controversial or challenging topics. By discussing these topics in a safe, controlled space, children can practice patience and develop thoughtful responses.

Objective: To learn how to have difficult conversations and achieve positive outcomes while being respectful

Instructions:

  1. Host a roundtable session for brainstorming debate topics. Consider topics like whether phones should be allowed in school settings, whether school uniforms are necessary, or whether curfew are helpful.
  2. Assign participants to different perspectives. Take turns making each point.

15. Simon Says

Simon Says is a classic children’s game that exercises their listening skills in a fun way. It also rewards good behavior and keeps children entertained.

Objective: To learn self-control and impulse control

Instructions:

  1. Have each child line up and assign a “Simon.”
  2. When “Simon” starts a command with “Simon Says,” everyone in line must follow. If a child follows Simon’s instructions without them saying “Simon Says,” they lose.
  3. Perform multiple rounds with different Simons.

16. Play Pretend

Unstructured, imaginative play allows children to explore different worlds and exercise their creative thinking. Especially at an early age, children with the time, space, and tools to let their imaginations run wild are more likely to be highly aspirational.

Objective: To embody different mindsets, roles, and perspectives

Instructions:

  1. Provide your child with materials to put together costumes and props.
  2. Role-play scenarios like running a shop, being a doctor, or living in a castle.

17. Board Games

Board games teach children to work toward a common goal in a fun and imaginative way. Games like Hoot Owl Hoot, Outfoxed, and Mysterium Kids exercise your child’s critical thinking while reinforcing teamwork.

Objective: To follow instructions, work together, and solve problems

Instructions:

  1. Choose age-appropriate board games like Snakes and Ladders for younger children and Concept for older children.
  2. Rotate new board games a few times a month and replay clear favorites.

18. Token Stack

Token stacking is an adaptable activity that parents and teachers can use to teach children how to have a conversation while working on their focus and concentration.

Objective: To learn to have focused conversations

Instructions:

  1. Gather coins, chips, or tokens and stack them one by one.
  2. Each time a child stacks a coin, have them ask the other child a question to get to know them.

19. Community Gardening

Community gardening is a great way to steer children away from their screens and into nature. It’ll also teach them the value of nurturing a living thing.

Objective: To increase social competence and instill a sense of responsibility

Instructions:

  1. Find a spot in your garden or a family friend’s garden where your child can grow plants or flowers with their friends.
  2. Choose plants that are easy to maintain, like sunflowers, marigolds, daisies, and zinnias.
  3. Keep a journal documenting when to water the plants, how much sun they need, and other details.

20. Virtual Playtime

Not being able to see their friends in person doesn’t mean your child can’t enjoy the occasional virtual playdate. Many online spaces host a plethora of activities children can enjoy with their friends, such as collaborative games.

Objective: To adapt to new, ever-changing situations

Instructions:

  1. Find an online space where your child can enjoy virtual playtime with their friends. For instance, you can use Discord or FaceTime.
  2. Shortlist online communities for your kids. For instance, Scratch is a creative sandbox where friends can draw. Tinkercad is another online space featuring 3D design tools.

The Bottom Line

Providing children with the opportunity to develop their emotional, empathic, and relational skills is the best way to prepare them for the future. With these social skills activities for kids, your child can learn to communicate and collaborate with others. Enhance their learning experiences with our social skills worksheets.

Sources:

  1. Jones D, Greenberg P, and Crowley M. “Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness.” American Journal of Public Health, 2015.
  2. Bozkurt S, Vuran S. “An Analysis of the Use of Social Stories in Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 2014.