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Games and activities to help develop social skills  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.

Early years skill:Any
Early years typical range:Any
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:PSHE and Citizenship
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:Any
TAP skill:Social Skills
TAP level:Any
Phonology/Articulation:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
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It can be difficult for some children to identify and understand social cues. To help develop the social growth of these children, there are lots of fun ways to help improve their social skills.

Role Play

Including children in role-play activities is a great way to teach and have fun with social skills. For example, a tea party gives children the chance to practise and understand table manners and conversation. Creating a play kitchen area can encourage children to interact whilst still picking up on the pursuit of daily tasks. Incorporating social situations that play a part in every day life at home can influence children to acknowledge natural social roles. 

Role-play can also be a great way to help resolve conflicts and arguments. As an adult it is your responsibility to break down a problematic area into a digestible and comprehensible manner for the child to understand.

Private play

Children can gradually have some free playtime incorporated into their daily routine. Beginning with very short amounts and gradually increasing the duration will provide a range of opportunities for social interaction.

Before the child partakes in a session of free play, they should be reminded of the agreement of the activity and ought to be aware of how long they are allowed to play for.

Children with or without special needs can be assigned certain roles. This encourages children to support each other and avoid any child being excluded.

Providing activities for the children is important. You don't necessarily need to buy any special resources - plastic utensils and storage boxes often found in kitchens can be great fun. Objects such as sand trays, painting equipment, bouncy balls, skipping ropes, hula hoops or a water play area with cups and buckets will all help a child with special needs have fun whilst learning how objects work.

Board games

A board game may not seem like the most obvious choice for children with special needs but they demonstrate significant social roles and skills. For example, basic social conventions such as taking turns are highlighted throughout board games. Board games can also teach children to interact with other children or adults as well as problem solving. This is great for children that need stimulating, as the child is required to follow rules which they digest by careful listening, allowing them to act upon the information and guidance they are given.

Board games engage children and adults together in mutual interaction, especially when they require a group goal that everybody can work towards. This removes the focus from simply winning or losing and places more emphasis on teamwork.

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