Social skills games can teach the concepts behind
and also allow people to practice the
they have learned through lecture or reading materials. Many of the games and activities can be used with all age groups, and you can always modify the games to make them more suitable to the group.
Ice-breaking activities are typically used in new groups to help the members get to know each other. But by adding a twist to these common activities, you address interpersonal behaviors while also “breaking the ice.”
Initiate a group discussion on the differences between introverted and extroverted people and how their personality traits may affect social behaviors. For example, and introverted person may shy away from initiating contact with others, while an extroverted person may feel “put off” by the bashfulness. Ask the shy and introverted people to gather on one side of the room; outgoing and extroverted people to gather on the other side.
Instruct the members of each group to role play the opposite personality and initiate partnerships with other members. An ordinarily shy person will be the one to initiate contact with another group member; an ordinarily outgoing person will be quiet and keep to his or herself. They can then interview one another with a list of pre-chosen questions, such as “What is your favorite hobby?”
The role playing will help members identify with the opposite personality, which promotes understanding and, in turn, improves social skills. And the interviews may help some people find a common bond with others. Hold another group discussion afterward for members to share their experiences and anything they gained from the role-playing game.
Divide the group into two separate sections and ask one group to leave the room. With the remaining group, discuss an action for them to act out with nothing but body language. Example actions include skateboarding an obstacle course, or flying a kite while hula-hooping—it can be something simpler if you wish!
Invite the other group back into the room and instruct them to stand in a single-file line, so that each person is facing the next person’s backside. Ask the person at the end of the line to turn around and face the original group, where a member will act out the chosen movement. Instruct her to signal the group with a nod or thumbs up when she figures out the action. The person ahead of her in the line can then turn to face her, and she will repeat the charades to him. This continues down the line until it meets the last person, who must guess the action.
Just as a verbal game of “Telephone” ends in something entirely different from the original message, as does “Telephone Charades.” This group can have a lot of fun with this game, yet it also shows how easy it is for miscommunication to happen, even while paying attention to body language.
Use social skills games in groups to highlight the concepts of interpersonal skills and to create a comfortable environment for group members. You'll be amazed at how communication flourishes and social skills increase!