Category Archives: Social Skills

Social Skills Group for children ages 6 – 11

When I work with graduate interns, I ask them to write and implement a Social Skills Group for children ages 6 to 11. I share three books to help them prepare for this task.


Teaching Social Skills to Youth includes an index that cross-references the 182 skills to the Six Pillars of Character – respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. It includes references to and information from the latest research findings. The book also features the step-by-step component behaviors to 182 skills, from the basic (following instructions and introducing yourself) to the complex (managing stress and resolving conflict). Opening chapters explain the individual and group teaching techniques that enable youth to recognize when, where, or with whom to use a particular skill.

Treating Youth with DSM-IV Disorders  includes 43 commonly diagnosed disorders that affect children and adolescents.  Easy-to follow charts highlight the disorders separately and include detailed diagnostic criteria and a list of social skills that can be targeted during treatment.

Getting Along with Others is an activity book that includes 30 charts that can help you make social skill learning and practice lots of fun for your child. Suggestions on how to use the charts are included. Skills on the charts include: Listening to Others, Showing You Care, Following Instructions, Controlling Your Anger, Accepting “No,” Correcting Mistakes, Interrupting in a Nice Way, Saying Something Nice, Telling the Truth, Saying You’re Sorry, and Offering to Help Someone.

This group is offered free to the community, and everyone has a great time. The group is composed of no more than eight children and one volunteer helper. I have been very impressed with the variety of creative interventions the graduate students have found to teach basic social skills.  Their choices have allowed children to learn the lesson through the primary use of play.

[layout show=”1″]

Showing Sensitivity to Others

Image result for showing sensitivity to others

Reasons for using the skill, Showing Sensitivity to Others: If you help others, they are more likely to help you. And saying you’re sorry shows that you can take responsibility for your actions and can admit when you’ve done something wrong. A disability does not make a person inferior. Helping people with disabilities and treating everyone equally shows that you believe that although people are different, they all deserve respect. – See more at:

Truth, Fib, Lie. Dealing with Kids and Lying

The book is funny and a story (rather than a preachy kind of lesson) about a little boy who tells some pretty fantastic lies. Eli’s pretend play and imagination is celebrated throughout the story, but when he goes too far, his mom rolls in a Lie-O-Meter machine that spits out tickets when Eli doesn’t tell the truth, in six levels of severity: truth, fib, lie, big lie, giant lie and whopper.

Teaching Children Responsible Behavior

Teaching Children Responsible Behavior: A Complete Toolkit helps you teach children that choices and actions have consequences. Through stories, worksheets, activities, and posters, elementary students learn how to show respect, meet challenges, and be good teammates. Included are sample block plans and guidance on creating a positive environment.

Apps for Students With LD: Social Supports and Behavior


Children and teens with learning disabilities sometimes have a hard time with social skills and behavior, including reading or communicating nonverbal signals. The following mobile apps may provide your child or teen with some high-tech support. Although we did extensive research on available apps, we also learned that just because “there’s an app for that” it doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. My daughter likes these, but we suggest that you have your child or teen try them out for themselves.

How to use the Paper Fortune Tellers in social skills teaching activities:


Unlike  traditional paper fortune tellers, these are not used  for pretend fortune telling.  These are for helping children, working in pairs, to work on the skills of asking questions, giving compliments and talking about emotions.  One of them is to review self-help strategies for teasing and bullying.

Play therapy to develop social skills and express emotions


Play therapy can provide a constructive avenue for not only special needs children, but for all children to express themselves. Children often have a difficult time expressing feelings due to a mind that is still developing cognitive abilities.  The aforesaid can be especially true of children who are living with a special medical and/or developmental need. Play therapy can  help a child recover from a traumatic experience, express feelings of anger and insecurity as well as feelings of happiness and contentment.

My Volcano


This story is a great way to discuss self-control. The image of a volcano is clear to students, who often describe their actions or feelings as “explosions.” I share this book with my students, then have them reflect using the “My Volcano” work page (click picture to find work page). Students have to discuss their behaviors (specific to their own behavior patterns) and the consequences of those behaviors. When I follow-up with students as a group or individually, I often revisit their volcano pictures to help reinforce the connection between our actions and our consequences.

Social skills activities for children and teenagers: Ideas inspired by research


Social skills activities? Some people would argue that kids hone their social skills whenever they play together.

In fact, it’s likely that social play–particularly pretend  social play–functions as a safe testing ground in which juveniles can  learn appropriate social behaviors (Pellegrini et al 2007).

Pretend social play also involves “mind reading” skills–the  capacity to decode each other’s intentions and anticipate each other’s  actions (Spinka et al 2001; Pellegrini and Bjorkland 2004).

But kids need more than free time and pretense to master social skills. They also need guidance about which social behaviors to emulate.

Here are some activities that may help kids learn specific social skills, from staying in line to negotiating a compromise with peers.

4 Fun Ways to Teach Children about Telling the Truth


If we create playful and hands-on situations to learn about what truthfulness is, before it is needed, then we can help the children distinguish for themselves what “telling the truth” actually means.  This way they are prepared with the necessary knowledge when they are faced with a situation in which they are required to take “truth” seriously.

Red Zone Jenga


Since we are talking about the Zones of Regulation and Mindfulness in my Social Thinking group, I thought it would be perfect to use for talking about the Red Zone during the holidays! Each child took turns pulling one red Jenga block and describing a situation that would put them in the Red Zone. Then, they had to pull a green Jenga block and share a cool down tool or strategy they could use to help them get back into the Green Zone.

It’s Hard to Be a Verb

Author: Julia Cook illustrated by Carrie Hartman Interest Level: Ages 4-8
From the Book Jacket: Being a verb is hard…especially for Louis, who can’t seem to control himself when he gets the urge to move at the wrong time and situation. Louis’ mom comes to the rescue by teaching him techniques to help keep his inner itching, twitching and jumping to be a verb in check. A positive resource for anyone dealing with ADHD or challenged by someone who has ADHD.
Why It’s On My Bookshelf: I recently attended a parent/teacher conference for a little boy who is really struggling keeping his body focused. We definitely don’t expect students to sit perfectly still during the school day. But this poor kiddo’s body needs so much movement that it’s getting in the way of his learning. This is when we step in and help those kids figure out how to redirect body energy so they can learn like everybody else. I immediately thought of the book It’s Hard To Be A Verb. It is such a helpful and empowering resource.


There are SO many great children’s books out there … and so many of them can be used to teach children how to treat others with care and concern, to be a better friend, and to help them navigate a variety of social situations.

Angry Birds (Extension)

I start the group by showing the “Angry Birds Space” video (top left). Students watch to see how the birds respond when their eggs are taken away. After watching, we reflect as a group.

Then, I assign each student a bird and they have to come up with a positive choice they could make when angry. Students can write and/or draw their responses. When the students are finished, we share our work.

We end the session by watching the “Something PIG is coming!” video (bottom left).  We discuss how and when we would use our positive choices at school


Social Skills – Friends


Here are some social skills worksheets I put together for my class.  These are some of the issues we deal with on a daily basis.  I bought some cute social skills books that I read prior to writing each lesson.  “My Mouth is a Volcano”  “How to be a Friend” and “How to lose all your Friends”.  To be honest, I had a particular student in mind when I bought each one of these books (you do not need the books to use the worksheets). I wrote the worksheets to represent some of their actual issues.  I have more books on the way “I Want to do it My Way”, “The Bad Case of Tattle Tongue” and “Sorry I Forgot to Ask”.  Check back for worksheets soon!

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion
is a downloadable eBook
designed to help Aspergers children and
teens develop the ability to effectively
communicate and socialize in the
neurotypical world.
Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning
Autism characteristically have very individual
diagnostic profiles with symptoms falling in the
areas of communication, socialization, and
imagination/restricted interests. Most notable
is the impairment in communication and social
interaction, a far-reaching challenge which
impacts daily activities and relationships at
home, school and work.
Though they want to be accepted by their
friends, Aspergers children tend to be very hurt and frustrated by their lack of social
competency. Their inability to “connect” to
others is made worse by the negative feedback that Aspergers children receive from their
painful social interactions (e.g., bullying, teasing, rejection, etc.). The worse they perform
socially, the more negative feedback they get from peers, so the worse they feel and perform.
Due to this consistent negative social feedback, many Aspergers children and teens feel
depressed, anxious and angry, which just compounds their social difficulties by further
paralyzing them in social situations.

Social Skills Video Modeling

Video modeling is an integral part of Socially Savvy’s social skills groups. It is one on the most effective ways of teaching social skills and other positive behaviors for individuals on the Autism spectrum. While there are videos out there for purchase, we have always preferred using our own video collection. We try to choose age appropriate TV shows and videos that the participants enjoy and are motivated by. The videos often show an example of the “expected” and “unexpected” behaviors, to which we then pause and discuss with the group.
It is our goal to have several examples for each topic listed below; however this might take some time. Once you start tuning in to the idea of video modeling while watching shows and movies, you will notice that one episode or movie can be used as a teaching tool for many skills.

Socially Savvy word of Caution: Use caution when using some of these clips, as not all are appropriate for every age/maturity level. This is especially true for The Big Bang Theory. Time should be taken to watch each clip prior to showing it to the child to ensure there are no inappropriate topics or jokes.  

Apologizing Video Models

  • Incredibles– scene 2

Basic Conversation skills: Supportive Comments, Asking Questions, Adding our thoughts

Blurting (When the thinking bubble pops) Video Models

  • Incredibles: scene 10
  • The Lorax – 20:10 (Interrupting)

Complimenting & Accepting a Compliment Video Models

Competitiveness (Defeater of Fun) Video Models

Dealing With Loss Video Models

  • Frankenweenie – 16:00 (dog)

Encouraging Others Video Models

  • Frankenweenie – 47:40
  • The Lorax – 47:50

Expected/Unexpected Behavior Video Models

Flexible Thinking (Rock Brain) Video Models

Greetings Video Models

Humor/Joking (WasFunnyOnce) Video Models

Lying Video Models

  • Incredibles-scene 8, 11
  • The Lorax – 1:02

Mean Jean Video Models

Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Dog Days – pool scene where the girl asks the lifeguard a question

One Sided Sid Video Models

Personal Space (Space Invader) Video Models

Perspective Taking Video Models

  • Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers

Predicting/Motives Video Models

  • Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers
  • The Princess Bride-especially the scene where the Dread Pirate Roberts faces off with Vizzini the Sicilian over whose cup has the poison.

Problem/Reaction Size (Glassman) Video Models

Reading Body Language Video Models

  • Wallace and Gromit: any movie

Turn taking Video Models

  • Incredibles-scene 17 (conversational turns), 20-24 (take turns using the remote)

The Social Fake Video Models

Uncomfortable thoughts Video Models

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Dog Days

o   last day of school scene-Greg has to share a textbook with another student

o   First morning of Summer break scene-Greg’s dad has uncomfortable thoughts about Greg expected behavior

o   Car trip to the shore scene

o   Scene at the lake house where they play “I love you because”

Whole body listening Video Models

  • Incredibles– Scene 5, Scene 7

Working Together Video Models

The videos used on this page are meant for educational purposes only.

Conversation Chutes and Ladders

“This is a conversation game we play in Lunch Bunch.  Using a Chutes and Ladders game board, students move spaces when they participate in conversations.  We start by picking a topic and then just start talking!  This is a great visual for conversation skills and can show students the value of participating in the conversation.  It also has a component of being a good sport when something doesn’t go our way (ie. landing on a chute).”


Social Thinking vs Social Skills

I wanted to share this informative video with all of you out there. It is IEP review time so to all the parents who follow this blog, I wanted you to have an idea of what I am talking about when I refer to “social thinking”.  Michelle Garcia Winner, who coined the phrase “social thinking” defines it as “what we do when we interact with people:  we think about them.  And how we think about them affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which affects our own emotions”.

There are four social thinking videos available on YouTube.

How to Help Teens With Social Deficiencies

Image result for How to Help Teens With Social Deficiencies

Helping your teen improve his social skills can improve his self-esteem.

During adolescence, social relationships are a significant priority for teens. Further, since adolescence is a period where teens begin to transition away from the family, toward independent living, learning appropriate social skills can set up a teenager for success. Additionally, teens with social deficiencies may struggle to form developmentally-beneficial relationships, which may lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and poor school performance. Whether you have a teen who is developmentally on target or an adolescent with mental health issues affecting his social skills, your teen may benefit from some at-home interventions, as well as professional therapy.

Teaching Following Directions

This evidence-based intervention provides direct instruction on successfully following directions. The group that was taught Rehearsal with Visualization was shown to demonstrate better skills when following directions than the group that was not. Here’s the citation to the full article for more information.

Gill, C.B. Klecan-Aker, J., Roberts, T., Fredenburg, K.A. (2003). Following directions: Rehearsal and visualization strategies for children with specific language impairment. Child Language Teaching and Therapy February 2003 vol. 19 no. 1 85-103.

Basically, it’s how all of us typically follow directions but this breaks it down into steps for students to follow.

Steps for students:

  1. Repeat the direction. Before completing a direction, I need to say it aloud.
  2. Visualize myself following the direction. (I tell my students to close their eyes and “make a movie” in their heads to visualize the direction).
  3. Follow the direction.

Games to Teach Anger Management Skills in Teenagers

Games To Teach Anger Management Skills In Teenagers | LIVESTRONG.COM

Anger Management is the set of techniques or skills a person uses to control his behavior and his responses to anger-provoking situations. The ability to manage anger is an important social skill. Anger is a normal emotion that psychologically healthy people experience. But if it gets out of hand, anger can be dangerous. Children and adolescents who learn to manage their anger are more likely to become healthy adults.


Looking For Clues: Am I a Personal Space Invader?

Kids don't always realize that they are doing things that are an invasion of personal space. This poster will teach kids to pay attention to the body language of others so that they can avoid becoming a personal space invader.   If you like this worksheet, I encourage you to check out my "Race to Personal Space Board Game"

Kids don’t always realize that they are doing things that are an invasion of personal space. This poster will teach kids to pay attention to the body language of others so that they can avoid becoming a personal space invader.

If you like this worksheet, I encourage you to check out my “Race to Personal Space Board Game”

Social Skills “I can do it!”

“I Can Do It!” Teaching social skills with new words and behaviors #Bloom

Before we hold a child accountable for his behavior, we must make sure the child actually had a choice between two behaviors to make. We cannot assume that because we know how to use the pro-social behavior, the child does as well.

It is also clear that sometimes children know what is expected, but they do not have the social skills, executive function or impulse control to comply.

Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

The three children were seated at their classroom’s listening center, where their assignment was to leaf through a book together while listening on headphones to a CD with the voice of a teacher reading it aloud. The book in question was lying on the table in front of Jocelyn, and every few seconds, Abigail would jump up and lean over Jocelyn to peer at the cover, checking what came next in the title. Then she would dive back to the paper on her clipboard, and her pencil would carefully shape yet another letter: H U N. . . .

Play Based Interventions for Autism, Adhd, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and Developmental Disability

Product Details

Robert Jason Grant has published  books, each packed with creative play-based activities to help children strengthen emotional regulation and social skills. My Olympics is one of my favorites because it’s a fun and engaging way for children to work on staying calm and maintaining focus. This activity is from his book: More Play Based Interventions for Autism, ADHD, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and Developmental Disabilities.

Getting to know you with a beaded bracelet

We are going to make a beaded friendship bracelet.

Each girl will get a pipe cleaner with beads on it. You will approach your new friend and say “Hello… my name is ___”. Once introduced, you should swap beads. Take your giveaway bead from the top of the pipe cleaner, and put your new bead (from your new friend) on the bottom of the pipe cleaner. Eventually you’ll have a rainbow mix of beads from all of your friends.

Apples to Apples

great lesson for social skill groups! Pinned by

Each player was given a job and I must say that they took their job seriously.  Judges can be funny but they must be fair.  Materials Managers must think with their eyes and make sure that every player has 5 cards at all times.  The Encourager says, “well done” or “that was a great choice”.    The Voice Controller must decide when the fun gets too loud.  The Problem Solver is the “go to” guy or girl if a small problem comes up.

Apples to Apples is one of our favorite  games.  There are so many skills that can be learned from playing Apples to Apples.  One must be flexible when choosing a card to play even when it isn’t  a very good match.  Emotional control is necessary if a player starts to feel frustrated when the judge doesn’t pick  his/her card or when he/she doesn’t seem to have a good card to play.   Response inhibition is necessary to help keep one’s  “cool” when  one’s card isn’t chosen.  Staying focused on the goal of getting 5 green cards, even when one is in last place, is goal directed persistence.  

Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy

Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy

When Emily asks her big sister what the word empathy means, Emily has no idea that knowing the answer will change how she looks at people. But does it really matter to others if Emily notices how they’re feeling? Stand in My Shoes shows kids how easy it is to develop empathy toward those around them. Empathy is the ability to notice what other people feel. Empathy leads to the social skills and personal relationships which make our lives rich and beautiful, and it is something we can help our children learn. This book teaches young children the value of noticing how other people feel. We’re hoping that many parents read it along with their children.

Practicing social skills at home will make school a much friendlier place for your child with ADHD.

Tease-Proof Your Preteen with ADHD

Image result for tease proof your preteen with ADHD

During a recent visit to a school, I noticed a student, Danny, roughhousing with a classmate. The boy said, “Stop it,” but Danny laughed and continued, seemingly oblivious to his friend’s irritation. When questioned later about this interchange, Danny responded, “He likes it when we play rough.”

Learning to Be a Durable Person

What is a durable person? What traits do successful people exhibit? What is a perfectionist? These questions and many others are explored in this practical guide to helping gifted students navigate social and emotional issues in their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their own giftedness, expand social skills, cultivate leadership skills, and develop strategies for combatting stress, anger, and perfectionism. Gifted children must be taught to be durable so they can continue to be responsible and productive citizens.


Millie Fierce

Mollie Fierce is a great example of positive and negative ways to get attention from others. I see children having negative (purposeful) interactions with others on a daily basis in my school. I just love books like this that open up the dialogue and help us get to the root of what’s really going on…maybe they are having a bad day, could something be going on at home, are they feeling excluded. Insight! Insight! Millie has a change of heart when one of her actions causes a boy to cry. She reflects and sets on her way to start doing things differently – with kindness. Can’t wait to focus on this character trait this year!

Supporting Self-Regulation in the Classroom

Self-regulation is an on-going internal activity in which we are all participating all the time as we control and direct our feelings, thoughts, and actions. If we are good at self-regulating, we are able to sustain a feel-good, optimal state of attention; we can organize our thinking and coordinate our actions to accomplish desired goals; we can manage stress, navigate emotions, and control our impulses.

Social Skills for Children and Teens: “I was first!” “You are doing it wrong!” “I want to go next!” “Can I be first!” These are a few statements from students that most likely exhibit leadership skills. They are often told to go to the end of the line, or given a consequence for telling someone what to do, but maybe they need someone to tell them “what to do.” Click on picture for more information. #Social #Skills #Students

Social Skills for Children and Teens: “I was first!” “You are doing it wrong!” “I want to go next!” “Can I be first!” These are a few statements from students that most likely exhibit leadership skills. They are often told to go to the end of the line, or given a consequence for telling someone what to do, but maybe they need someone to tell them “what to do.” Click on picture for more information.

8 Social Skills Students Need (And How to Teach Them Step by Step!)

by Dana Truby

We’ve been talking with the experts at Boys Town Training® about how administrators and teachers can transform school culture. One of the key places to begin is with the explicit teaching of social skills to all students. When academic and positive social skills are the norm, students and staff feel safer and happier, office referrals go down, and, best of all, there is more time for teaching and learning.

Social Skills Board Games

Social Skills Board Games [PR3060] - Six board games encourage students to work together to improve their social skills. Players discuss solutions to socially challenging situations, encouraging group communication and participation. Each game targets a different issue, such as morals, manners, empathy, friendship, showing emotions, and managing emotions. Features 6 boards, 24 counters, 1 die, 1 spinner. Most appropriate for grades

This set of six board games is a fun way to get students to work together to improve their social skills. While playing the games players discuss solutions to socially challenging situations, encouraging group communication and participation. Each game targets a different issue, such as morals, manners, empathy, friendship, showing emotions and managing emotions. Set features 6 boards, 24 counters, 1 die, 1 spinner.

  • Helps children understand their feelings and the feelings of others
  • Recommended for children with social discomfort in grades 1-5
  • These multi-player games demand social interaction
  • Ages 6-11


This social skills kit for children with ASD's has 40 problem scenarios, play money, and a PowerPoint option when you are working with larger groups or classes. Tags: social skills game, autism, free download.

I designed this social skills teaching kit to employ several components I have found engaging and effective.

First, although the work is hard, I use a game-like format. I find it is often necessary to add levity when helping children do challenging work on difficult problems.

Second, although the objective is to get children to increase awareness of their own problems, I start by having children “discover” other people’s problems, those of the many game characters I invented. I find that once children have experienced some success in “fixing the problem” of the game characters, they are more likely to talk about their own issues.

Third, using tokens, in this case two kinds of play money, really stimulates participation.

The Emoticon art used in these cards comes from a free online source,  I fashioned the play money myself using various online sources.

I hope you enjoy these materials, which I enjoyed creating.

Joel Shaul, LCSW

Help your students become socially-savvy through lessons on attitude, boundaries, and more.

Grades 6-8: Social-Emotional Skills |

Grades 6-8: Social-Emotional Skills   By Tom Conklin

Ask students what it means to have an attitude. Though they’ll likely think it’s a matter of having a good or a bad attitude, define attitude as one’s “readiness to act or react in a certain way.”


Quick As A Cricket Activity to Teach Empathy


To discuss and learn more about empathy, we used just a few items.  First, we read the book, Quick as a Cricket, by Audrey Wood.   If you haven’t read this classic book, it’s one you definitely want to find!  The boy in the book discovers the characteristics of animals make up parts of himself.  The book has simple rhyming words and captures children’s attention.  It’s a great book to discuss self-awareness and feelings that make up all of us.

Cell Phone Etiquette

TLS 3 Cell Phone Etiquette


Many teens and adults alike aren’t aware that they are violating the laws of cell phone etiquette when they use their device in certain situations. They are unknowingly being rude to the people around them by giving too much attention to their phones. Not only that, some people are actually unsafe with the way they use their phone. Let’s take a look at what is dangerous and what is unmannerly in the cell phone world.

Dude, That’s RUDE! (Get Some Manners)

Social Skills & Manners- amazing how many grown adults I know that could use this too!!!:

Kids today need manners more than ever, and Dude, That’s Rude! makes it fun and easy to get some. Full-color cartoons and kid-friendly text teach the basics of polite behavior in all kinds of situations—at home, at school, in the bathroom, on the phone, at the mall, and more. Kids learn Power Words to use and P.U. Words to avoid, why their family deserves their best manners, and the essentials of etiquette (politeness online). It seems like light reading, but it’s serious stuff: Manners are major social skills, and this book gives kids a great start.

Digging For Buried Treasure

By: Paris Goodyear-Brown LCSW, RPT-S

This book is brimming with helpful, hands on techniques for engaging children in all kinds of settings. Originally designed to help troubled children to deal with issues related to self-esteem, anger management, social skills and trauma, the techniques have proved to be effective among day care workers, teachers, parents and anyone else looking for ways to playfully strengthen their bonds with children. Each technique comes complete with treatment goals, step-by-step directions, processing questions and much more. This book is a must have for helping professionals and lay people alike.

The Mindful Brain

Does mindfulness practice improve your physical, social, and mental well being? To what extent can your mind shape your brain? What does the latest research have to say about meditation and other awareness practices? Now on The Mindful Brain, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, a pioneer of the emerging field known as interpersonal neurobiology, answers these questions and more in this original adaptation to complement his breakthrough book.

Fold & Say Social Skills

Main Product Image

Fold & Say for Social Skills is a collection of little books presenting everyday social situations from school, home, and the community. Each 8 1/2” x 11″ story folds into a 4-page mini-storybook.

Develops Social Skills:
  • Students look at/read about a common social situation, decide on an outcome, and then tell, write, or draw a picture of what happens next.
  • Students answer one to five questions about the situation. Each question helps the students focus on the feelings of the people involved in the activity and to explore other possible story outcomes.

What’s the Recipe for Friends?

Great friendship book -- could use as introduction for creating model words about friendship - eventually using those as blocks for improvisation.:

At some point all children deal with anxiety and uncertainty when trying to make new friends. Whether it’s a new school, new class, or just a new year, children are captured by this story as it empathizes with their situation. When his family moves to a new town, a young boy named Freddy is worried that he doesn’t know how to make new friends. After his mom gives him the recipe for friends, which includes ingredients like politeness, kindness, and sharing, Freddy is even more confused. The first day of school ends with Freddy walking home alone with no friends. But he doesn’t give up!

Friendship Kit

Friendship Kit - Teaching Kids about Friendship

By: Heidi Raki

*A Button: Friends “button up” and keep one another’s secrets, unless it’s a hurtful secret. This is a great time to talk about the kinds of secrets friends don’t keep!
*A Rock: Friends are a strong and rock-solid support.
*A Penny:  Friends are honest like Abe, the President on the coin.
*A Cotton Ball: Friends cushion the rough road.
*A Rubber Band: Friends sometimes stretch us.
*Sweet & Sour Tarts: Friends appreciate the differences in others.
*A Smiley Face Sticker: Friends stick together.
*A Bandage: Friends can help heal hurts.
*A Paper Clip: Friends help keep everything together.
*A Flashlight Keychain: Friends are key and add light to our world.

Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences

Friendship and Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Aged 5-11 to Cope with Bullying:

A few weeks ago, I had the terrific fortune of getting to present some of the bullying prevention work that I do to a group of children at a local bookstore. As if interacting with smiling, exuberant young people was not gift enough, a reporter also attended the event a wrote a lovely article about my book and the work I do with kids, parents, educators and youth care professionals. All in all, it was dream publicity and since then, has sparked many conversations with people in my town who saw my photo in the newspaper and immediately related to the examples of bullying that were discussed.

Therapeutic Dream Catchers

Therapeutic Dream Catchers FREEBIE!! Great for art therapy, self regulation, behavior classrooms.... OR could use with Zones of Regulation!!:

Therapeutic Dream Catchers: Steps: 1) Decorate your dream catcher 2) Think of your negative emotions, triggers, or experiences 3) Trap those negative thoughts/triggers/emotions inside of your dream catcher 5) Write your strengths, positive traits, activities, and other things/people you love all around the dream catcher. 6) Once the dream catcher is complete, students weave (or tape/glue) yarn through the points around the circle to trap in the negative things.

Good Qualities Game

Social Skills game to play to get kids talking about good qualities, friendship and feelings:

This is a fun cooperative game to play in social group or lunch bunch.  Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings with each other and there is also a component of asking each other questions and making eye contact.  The rules are simple, roll a die and move a game piece to that space.  For every time the student has to share something, they get a marble.  Whoever has the most marbles at the end of the game is the winner.  Although, as teachers, we know the real winning is in the sharing of thoughts and ideas! by Angela Cardenas

Encourage Play Building Social Skills Kits

Encourage Play Friendship Kit for Building Social SKills

Blogger at Encourage Play, Janine Halloran’s philosophy, similar to my own, is that children learn through play and that social skills can’t be taught in isolation. For kids with ADHD, on the Autism Spectrum, with Social Anxiety or with Sensory Processing issues, these skills often take a bit longer to learn. Because kids need our support with social skills, Janine created structured play date kits that facilitate engagement and practice.

The Building Friendship Play Date Kit got us started with 3 play date activities for 2 people, a recommended book, and 2 family activities.

Personal Space: Teaching Boundaries

Posted by

It is important to lead discussions about personal space. A teacher can do this by simply talking about different scenarios, by acting them out with assistants, or by reading a book. It’s important to let students know that it can be scary when we invade each other’s personal space. It can make it hard to make friends, and it can get them into trouble for breaking classroom rules.

After talking about personal space, it is important to follow-up with an exercise or activity. Diagrams are a nice way to show which physical boundaries are appropriate. It gives the student a concrete image of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.

Who’s Responsible? Game

The NEW Who's Responsible? game teaches kids how to make responsible choices...even when nobody's looking. Kids engage in: Learning about responsible actions. Responding to thought-provoking questions Considering important decisions:

Play revolves around three sets of cards labeled: Who?, What?, and Where? As in the classic detective game Clue, one card of each type is placed in a Secret Envelope. Working together, players try to find out which cards are in the envelope. Their goal is to discover who commits a responsible act, what that act is, and where it takes place. Along the way, they respond to thought-provoking questions that ask them to evaluate behavioral choices.

Interrupting Chicken

"Interrupting Chickens" to teach the importance of not interrupting when another person is speaking.:

It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story—and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is Hansel and Grettel or Little Red Riding Hood or even Chicken Little, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing.

Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors—and offering humorous story-within-a-story views—this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of) spirited little chicks.

Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children

Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children. ...the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day. ...:

By Jane E. Brody

Heavy use of electronic media can have significant negative effects on children’s behavior, health and school performance. Those who watch a lot of simulated violence, common in many popular video games, can become immune to it, more inclined to act violently themselves and less likely to behave empathetically, said Dimitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Fun with Phone Skills!

Phone Skills Fun! Problem solving/role-playing task cards, worksheets and instructional scripts for teaching essential life skills! $:

PDF Download Includes
– 6 Pages of Instructional Scripts for Making a Phone Call, Answering the Phone, Taking a Message, Leaving a Voice Message for a Friend, Leaving a Formal Voice Message
– 24 Problem Solving Task Cards
– 16 Role Playing Scenario Task Cards
– 4 Blank Role Playing Task Cards
– 3 Worksheets:
5-questions Multiple Choice Review
Mixed Messages: Decide what is missing from phone messages
Say What?: Identify mistakes in conversations
– Cover page, terms of use, credits

You’re Mean Lily Jean!

A lesson for those bossy kiddos . . . .:

Carly always played with her big sister, Sandy. They played dragons adn knights. They played explorers and pirates. They played mountain climbers and astronauts. Then Lily Jean moved in next door. Carly and Sandy are happy to have a new friend join their games. But Lily Jean changes everything. She decides they’ll play house and orders Carly to be the baby. When they play king and queen, she tells Carly to bark–King Lily Jean demands a royal dog! Tired of being bossed around, Carly comes up with a way to teach Lily a lesson. With Sandy’s help, can she turn a bully into a friend?

Just Kidding

Just Kidding - a book about teasing and then saying you're kidding. Good for theme and perspective.:

A rare look at emotional bullying among boys from the best-selling author of My Secret Bully.D.J.’s friend Vince has a habit of teasing D.J. and then saying, Just kidding!” as if it will make everything okay. It doesn’t, but D.J. is afraid that if he protests, his friends will think he can’t take a joke. With the help of his father, brother, and an understanding teacher, D.J. progresses from feeling helpless to taking positive action, undermining the power of two seemingly harmless words. Trudy Ludwig takes another look at relational aggression, the use of relationships to manipulate and hurt others, this time from the boy’s point of view.

The Should I or Shouldn’t I? What Would Others Think?™

Should I or Shouldn't I? What Would Others Think? A game to encourage Social Thinking and social problem solving.:

The Should I or Shouldn’t I? What Would Others Think?™ Middle & High School Edition game for ages 12-18 makes thinking and talking about behavior fun, and allows players to explore their own thoughts, perspectives, and behavior choices within a safe and consequences-free environment. Game play offers abundant opportunities to practice Social Thinking concepts, perspective taking, and problem solving skills, and discuss how our individual behavior choices affect those around us.

How Pretend Play Helps Children Learn Social Skills

Lately, my kids have been playing cops and robbers. They’re always looking for new items to “steal”, and then they run to their robber’s fort (aka under our dining room table). My husband and I are the cops. We look for clues to track the robbers, and then we usually have a little exchange —

We put our hands on our hips and in our best cop voice, we say “Are you those robbers?”

“No, we’re not! They went that way!” The kids can barely get out the words before they start giggling and getting excited about throwing us off the trail.

Janine Halloran, LMHC and founder of Encourage Play

Teaching Children About Personal Space

Interactive Notebook - Personal Space

This interactive notebook is a great supplemental resource to use with children when teaching them about respecting the personal space of others. This interactive notebook lesson can be used in a variety of ways. I have included a color copy of this resource and a black and white copy. I create posters in my classroom using the color copy, and allow students to color their copy of this interactive notebook lesson. This activity is suitable for primary students, special education students, and children with autism.

Getting to Know You Adapted Uno

FREE Put a new twist on a classic game with social skills!:

Put a new twist on a classic game with these boards that will engage your students in conversation as they play! Boards are to be used with standard UNO (r) Mattel deck. Each color corresponds with different “getting to know you tasks.”
– Red: Name your favorite…
– Yellow: Ask the person to your left about their favorite…
– Blue: Would you rather?
– Green: Tell us about a time that you…

Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice by Julia Cook


If you are encouraging social emotional learning in your classroom, the story of Decibella will speak volumes to your students, especially those who need precise examples to follow for using appropriate behavior.

Isabella is a spirited girl who enjoys shouting out her thoughts, ideas and feelings. In fact, she loves using her loud voice so much; it’s earned her the nickname “Decibella!” Young readers will be entertained as they see how Isabella learns the “five volumes” of voice and discovers that different situations require a different tone.

Family Activity Nights

INDOOR Activities for the Whole Family... SO need these right now!:

Social skills are key for everyone to learn at an early age. Social skills have an effect on every aspect of a person’s life, through the connection they have with their teachers, their family and the friendships they build with peers.

Play is a great way to facilitate learning without a child even realising it! Social play helps them to understand the ‘rules of the game’ so that they can make friends and become more confident!

The Anti-Clique, Anti-Bullying App That Solves a Big Daily Problem

Image result for sit with us app

Sit With Us is a social networking app designed to promote kindness and inclusion in schools. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends. They can also volunteer to be Ambassadors for their schools and post open lunch events on campus where everyone will be included. No one needs to eat alone!

I’m in Charge of Me! A Counseling Game

I'm in Charge of Me! A Counseling Game (CBT)

A cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) game for small group counseling designed to teach elementary students key cognitive behavioral skill such as identifying triggers, negative thoughts, helpful coping skills, and the impact of their behavior. This is a beginning set to help students practice new counseling skills with engaging characters that will help students connect with each skill and want to practice.

6 Tips to Teach Social Skills in a Smartphone World


Parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic – A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.

Adrian and Super-A Bake and Like Differently — Life Skills Learning for Kids with Autism and ADHD


Jessica Jensen turns a simple Sunday of baking and washing hands into adorable life lessons with a superhero that every child can identify with. The Adrian and Super-A book series has been tailored for the child with autism (ASD) or ADHD. Adjust the stories to your child’s age and abilities, and these life skills learning books will ensure an engaging read for any wanna-know-why boy or girl. Page by page, your child will soon create order out of the everyday world.

“I Know! I Know!” Self-Control Solutions for Kids Who Blurt Out

Children with ADHD don't blurt out answers or talk over people to be purposely…:

The problem: Students with ADHD may interrupt the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.

The reason: Children with attention deficit disorder have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that lower levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, leads them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and suffer as a result.

Empathy Game: A Tool to Teach Kids to Be Considerate {Free Printable}

Free printable empathy game to help kids develop empathy for others:

The simplest way to play is to cut up the cards then take turns reading them and answering “How would they feel?”  To make the game more fun, however, you can use props for your children to explain what the character may be feeling or to give them a selection of choices if they need prompts for their answers (see lots of ideas for that below).


Would You Rather Encourage Play

Every day, we are faced with all sorts of decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small, like what to wear or what to eat. And sometimes the decisions are bigger, like where to live or where to send your children to school.

Decision making is not something that children get to practice all that frequently. It’s good to allow your children the time to practice making small decisions now.  They’ll learn how it’s done and have more practice going through the decision making process. As they get older, the decisions they make have bigger consequences and you want them to have the skills in place to make good decisions.

Kids Biting and Hitting and Scratching, “Oh, My!”

Note to Readers: Kids biting and hitting at school or the playground cause a stressful parenting issue that many of us would rather not have to address. Harsh punishments usually escalate the unwanted behaviors. It is important to understand why a child might hit, bite, or scratch and guide your child to more acceptable social behavior. Thanks to Wendy and Dr. Lynne for sharing their professional and parenting wisdom.

by Wendy Young

Ouch Moments

Cover of Ouch Moments (medium)

  • Winner of a 2016 Family Choice Award
  • Honorable Mention in the EUREKA! Excellence in Children’s Nonfiction Award
  • Gold medal winner, Mom’s Choice Award
  • Second place, Picture Books Ages 6 & Older, 2016 Purple Dragonfly Award

Ouch Moments is published by Magination Press, an arm of the American Psychological Association. Their books stand on firm ground. The multicultural illustrations are engaging and feature diverse circumstances. This would be an excellent read for the entire family; sometimes even adults need to be reminded of the important lessons Ouch Moments strives to teach. This book includes an informative and practical “Note to Parents and Caregivers.”

Of Course It’s a Big Deal!

Of Course It's a Big Deal

What was supposed to be a carefree afternoon of go-cart racing and putt-putt golfing quickly turns sour when Braden shouts and pouts about the rules. (Turns out, he’s too short to drive a go-cart.) Hearing his parents say the rules are the rules only makes him madder. “They haven’t been kids in like 100 years or something!” he fumes. At home, there’s more frustration. One situation involves a baseball game, a blanket and the family TV. There’s even an ice cream sundae scandal at his mom’s birthday dinner! Will Braden ever learn to keep his cool in the face of disappointment? Will every discouraging moment send him into an emotional meltdown? See what lessons are learned in this fastpaced story about the perils of overreacting and losing self-control.

Issue-Specific Prompts for Counseling with Board Games

Students pick one of several games that have colors or numbers (CandyLand, Let’s Go Fishing, JENGA, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Don’t Break the Ice, etc.) and they respond to prompts specific to their issue(s) as we play.It’s a similar idea to Any Game Cards but free(!) and I feel like there’s more of a flow by tying prompts to colors or numbers than by tossing in cards and I can make the prompts much more specific.

101 Life Skills Games for Children: Learning, Growing, Getting Along

Product Details

101 LIFE SKILLS GAMES FOR CHILDREN: LEARNING, GROWING, GETTING ALONG (Ages 6-12) is a resource that can help children understand and deal with problems that arise in daily interactions with other children and adults. These games help children develop social and emotional skills and enhance self-awareness.

20 Ways to Teach Kids about Respect

Teaching Kids About Respect

Teaching kids about character and what it means to be a positive contributor in the world is one of the most important things we can teach. We can’t leave it up to the schools or the church. This is our job. Being intentional in the process will help kids to better see the importance of developing qualities that shine light into an often dark world.

Social Skills Comics for Kids Set of 2 Books w/CD’s

Conversational Skills in School These 25 “comics” are designed to show children the expected and unexpected ways to behave in a variety of typical school social situations. Detailed photos prompt children to take a closer look at dialog, body language and non-verbal cues in both scenarios. Topics include: reading body language, using humor in conversation, staying on topic, accepting compliments, asking a question, ending a conversation, and many more.

Using a Fantasy World of Dragons to Build Social Skills in Humans

Empathar card     Flexibility card

The Ryuu World features six Dragons with social and emotional problems who want to learn and “evolve” like other dragons. The Dragons do this by getting help from 18 “Light Forces” characters and learning to fight against 17 “Dark Force” characters. The six Dragons, evolving through four stages, and the Light and Dark Forces, make up the 62 Ryuu cards.

Social Skills Group Ideas To Help Kids Who Are Bossy

As your daughter gets off the bus, you notice her flushed face and her eyes  are filled with tears. You ask what’s wrong, and the words come flooding  out. “Julia said she won’t play with me at recess anymore. I don’t  understand why she’s mad. I was just telling her the right way to play!”  So

Kids like this may be strident and pushy about how they think things should be done. But they don’t always realize how their words are affecting others around them. They don’t realize how other people view their behavior. To help, we can talk about some different ways to think before you speak and the impact your words can have on others.

The PEERS Project at Marquette University: Clay’s Story

The PEERS Project at Marquette University: Clay’s Story from 371 Productions on Vimeo.

This study aims to understand how teenagers with autism and their parents are affected by social skills therapy, the Program for the Enrichment and Education of Relational Skills, or PEERS. PEERS is an evidence-based, manualized, 14-week, outpatient treatment program developed at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Van Hecke is certified by UCLA to provide the PEERS program at Marquette University.

Let’s Play Rock, Paper, Scissors: A playfully connecting, social, communication book game

Let’s Play Rock, Paper, Scissors is a creatively designed book game. Therapists, school counselors, parents, and other professionals working with children and adolescents can utilize this book to address a variety of issues. Let’s Play Rock, Paper, Scissors follows a psychoeducational model incorporating elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, and relationship development approaches.