5 games to teach your child social skills

Children playing games to help with social skillsIt can be difficult to teach young children social skills such as sharing and listening. They may not understand why certain behaviors such as how to communicate and interact with others are important, or they may simply resist doing things that they see as “babyish.” However, there are some games that can help children to learn the basics of good social behavior. By playing these games, children will learn how to share, take turns, and cooperate with others. They will also develop communication and problem-solving skills. And best of all, they’ll have fun! So get ready to play some games and watch your child’s social skills blossom.

Here are five games that your family can use to teach social skills to kids.

The social skills we’ve concentrated on are:

  1. Taking turns
  2. Cooperation
  3. Following instructions
  4. Listening
  5. Sharing

We have given some ways you can reinforce these skills in everyday life as well as through game play.

Taking turns

  • Explain to your child what taking turns means
  • Show them how to take turns by playing games together
  • Praise them when they take turns correctly
  • Help them practice taking turns in other situations, like sharing toys or waiting in line
  • Stay calm and patient when they struggle with taking turns – it’s a skill that takes time to learn


  • Explain the concept of cooperation and how it can help them get along better with each other
  • Show them how to cooperate by working together on a task or playing a game
  • Praise them when they cooperate, and provide encouragement to keep working together
  • Help them resolve any disputes that may arise in a calm and constructive manner
  • Set rules for cooperation and enforce them when necessary

Following instructions

  • Explain the importance of following instructions
  • Show them how to follow instructions step by step
  • Let them practice by playing simple games
  • Reward them when they follow instructions correctly
  • Help them troubleshoot if they have difficulty completing a task
  • Encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand something


  • Explain to your child that listening is one of the most important skills they can have
  • Teach them how to listen by demonstrating active listening yourself
  • Help them practice listening by setting up scenarios in which they need to listen carefully
  • Reward your child for good listening habits with positive reinforcement
  • Address any issues with poor listening immediately and work together to correct the behavior


  • Explain to your child why it’s important to share with others
  • Show them how to share toys, snacks, and other items with others
  • Praise them when they share with others, and help them understand the positive effects of sharing
  • Encourage your child to play with friends, and teach them how to get along and cooperate with others
  • Help them understand that not everyone has the same things, and that it’s okay to give some of their belongings away

5 Games to help your child with their social skills

  1. Cooperative games like “The Floor Is Lava” can help children learn to take turns and cooperate with one another
  2. Games that involve sharing, like “Hot Potato”, can help teach kids the importance of giving others a turn
  3. Simon Says” is an excellent way to improve coordination and listening skills
  4. “Mother May I” helps with listening and following isntructions
  5. Duck, Duck, Goose teaches listening and following instructions skills

Mother may I

To play Mother May I, you will need at least two players. One player is the “Mother” and the other players are the “Children”. The Mother starts off by standing at one end of a room or playing area and the Children stand at the other end. The Mother then gives a command, such as “take five steps forward”, and the Children take turns responding. They can either say “Yes, Mother” or “No, may I please?” If they say “No, may I please?”, they must stay where they are. If they say “Yes, Mother”, they can take however many steps they want up to what the Mother said. When the Child gets to the Mother, they become the new Mother and the game starts again. The game is over when the Mother gets to the end of the playing area or room.

A variation is that the Mother can give more than one command in a row. For example, “take five steps forward and then turn around.” In this case, the Child would take five steps forward, turn around, and then take five more steps forward to get to the Mother.

The Floor is Lava

The Floor is Lava is a game that can be played with any number of players. The object of the game is to avoid touching the floor, which is represented by the color lava. Players can move around the playing area, which is typically a room or yard, using any means possible – running, jumping, crawling, even flying. The last player standing wins the game.

To begin, choose a starting spot for each player and designate an area as “safe”. The safe area can be anything from a specific spot on the floor to a piece of furniture or other designated safe zone. Players take turns moving around the playing area. When someone touches the floor, they are out of the game. The last player to reach safety is the loser. This game teaches life skills like paying attention to your surroundings, strategic thinking and cooperation.

You can make the game more difficult by adding obstacles such as furniture or other objects in the playing area. This will add an extra challenge for players and make the game more exciting. As always, safety should be the number one priority when playing this game – make sure that all players are aware of any obstacles in the playing area before starting the game. Have fun and be safe!

Hot Potato

Hot potato is a simple game that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. The objective of the game is to pass the potato around quickly and avoid getting caught with it when the music stops. Here are the steps for playing hot potato:
One player starts off by tossing the potato to another player.
The second player passes the potato to another player and so on.
The player who is left holding the potato when the music stops is out of the game.
Play until one player remains.
That’s all there is to it! Hot potato can be played with any number of players, but it’s more fun with a larger group. So gather your friends and get ready to have some fun!

Duck Duck Goose

Duck duck goose, teaches listening and following instructions skills. This game can be played by any number of players but you will need a fair bit of space. Playing outside is even better. The children sit in a circle with ‘It’ standing on the outside. ‘It’ starts walking around the circle of players tapping each one on the head and saying ‘duck’ as they do so. Whenever ‘It’ decides to, the next player they touch will be called ‘Goose’ and has to jump up and chase ‘It’ around the circle to try and catch them. If ‘It’ gets to the space left in the circle of players by the Goose without being caught, then the Goose becomes ‘It’ and game starts again. If ‘It’ is caught by the Goose, then the Goose sits back down and ‘It’ continues until they eventually get to sit in a spot without being caught.

Simon Says

The game is played by one or more players and involves following the instructions given by the game leader, who is known as Simon. Instructions may be as simple as “Simon says, touch your nose,” or “Simon Says, jump up and down,” but a player may ONLY follow the inctructions if it’s begun with “Simon Says.” If a player follows an instruction that was not given by Simon, they are out of the game. The last player remaining in the game is the winner.

So far we’ve looked at a few different games that can help kids learn social skills. But what if you want to create your own game? Or maybe you have a favorite game that you think would be perfect for teaching social skills. We want to hear from you! Share your ideas in the comments below and let us know how well the games worked for your kids. And if there are any other great games out there that we missed, tell us about them too! We hope you find these tips helpful and that they make it easier for your kids to learn the important social skills they need to succeed in life.


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