Teaching Social Skills

//Teaching Social Skills

Teaching Social Skills

We all want and need relationships.  Making and keeping friends is the end goal, as well as being able to navigate social situations with ease.

If you’re worried about a child’s social or friendship skills.

You’re in the right place as we have lots of ideas.

There are loads of fun games and resources that you can use to help your child improve their social skills and the way they relate to others.

We also have items that specifically target friendships and interacting positively and successfully with others.

Purchasing is made easy – just click on each image or the name of the item and you’ll be directed to our online store.

We’ve broken Social Skills down to 3 categories:

1.  Facial Features,

2.  Interpreting facial expressions & emotions, and

3.  Interacting with others.

Attending to Facial Features

Some children find looking at people’s faces overwhelming, so they avoid eye contact.

Some children find facial expressions hard to ‘read’.

It is information overload.

Take the pressure off with “face” toys, sticker books, games and cards that gradually reduce the complexity of the task, so they can look at people’s faces with ease.

Start with inanimate objects (like Mr and Mrs Potato Head) and semi-abstract items like sticker books and cartoon type pictures.

Then progress to photos of actual human faces.


Mr Potato Head & Mrs Potato Head

#creative #funny

Funny Faces Sticker Book

A fun sticker book to focus on facial features.

#travel #re-useable

Never Forget a Face

A memory game that develops concentration, visual memory and  recognising facial features of different cultures.

#diversity #inclusive

Connecting facial expressions to feelings, and

Identifying & interpreting emotions (self & others)

We all have emotions.  We all have feelings.

Some children may have difficulty understanding, recognising or managing their own emotions which can lead to inappropriate social behaviour and rejection from a social group.

Some children may have difficulty  “reading” facial expressions and non-verbal cues of others which causes a lot of problems for them socially.

We need to help children gain an understanding of feelings and emotions, what they are, when they might occur and what they look like (for themselves and for others).  The In My Heart Book is a wonderful place to start.

We need to help children learn to interpret facial expressions, linking the facial expressions and non-verbal cues to the underlying feelings and emotions they reflect.

Once again, I’d suggest progressing from least intrusive and less complex inanimate facial expression objects to real people, and from self to others.

When children have the language and understanding of emotions, then we can start looking at facial expressions and learning to pair facial expressions to emotions. After that, we can move onto interpreting facial expressions.

Start with identifying their own emotions and facial expressions then lead onto the facial expressions and feelings of others.

In My Heart – a book of Feelings

Its easy to find books on feelings and emotions but its NOT SO EASY to find books that describe how emotions feel physically.  This is a brilliant and beautiful book.

#brilliant #musthave


A set of 6 wooden egg characters + book offers is a catalyst for loads of activities around emotions, feelings and facial expressions.

Matching Expressions

This wooden set of tiles can be used as a stimulus resource but it is designed as a game of matching facial expressions to your bingo card – for up to 4 players.  We love that this game is ethnically diverse, too.

#durable #diversity #facialexpressions

Emotions Cards

A set of 10 large emotions cards with lesson plans (and guides on the reverse side).

Emotions Dice

Make your own games with these cute facial expressions dice.

#nolimits #versatile #learningthroughplay

The Bear Cards Feelings

A set of 48 cards bear characters using both facial expressions and body language to show a wide range of emotions.

#discussion #games


A set of 5 stackable capsules (plus 10 scenario cards) that can be used as a game or as a stimulus for discussion.  This is an ideal resource for younger children.

#startout #easystorage



Mix and match the pieces the blocks to make characters with all sorts of emotions.  Over 100 possible combinations, and great for beginners linking facial expressions to feelings.

#diversity #beginner #building

Feelings & Emotions Cards

50 double sided cards – with photos of real people/faces + question and activity guides for each.  We’re super excited about these.

#musthave  #bestwevefound

Interacting with others

Interacting positively with others is the end game.  Whilst is can be challenging, it is something that improves with guidance and practice.

Start with small manageable situations, one to one in a controlled environment set up for success then moving to small groups.  A short game, with minimal pressure and where everyone is a winner is more likely to produce positive outcomes.

Work on appropriate social behaviour and self-control & resilience via Good Manners Flash card, Ups and Downs cards and the Personal & Emotional skills board games.  Play cooperative board games (Ive listed our cooperative board games in suggested age range from youngest to oldest) are a fabulous tool to use.  Start with 2 players, then gradually increase the number of players (and therefore the social complexity).

Lastly, target specific friendship skills withs Mates Traits and the Social Skills Board games.

Ups and Downs

These fun and colourful cards are fabulous for talking about coping with different situations, managing change, coping with challenges, reframing, looking for the positive and developing resilience.  I love them!


Personal & Emotional Board Game

This box set has board games is the first step in board games that focus on and teach about emotions and learning to get on with other.  A set of 6 different games means you can mix it up.

#learningthroughplay #olderkids #gettingonwithothers

Cooperative Games = learn all the fundamentals of playing games without the competitive pressure of a single winner or loser – all players work collaboratively towards a mutual goal. Take turns, model and practice handling when things go well (and not so well) in a game – all the basics of game playing minus trying to beat other.

Count Your Chickens

Count your chickens is a cooperative game for beginners.  It is simple – try and save as many chicks as you all can before the Mother Hen makes her way around the board (and beware the fox).

#cooperativegame #counting #youngerkids #firstgame

Feed the Woozle

A cooperative game that helps children learn how to interact positively when playing games AND develops fine motor skills at the same time.

#socialskills #playinggameswithothers #finemotor

Ranglin’ Rabbits

Ranglin Rabbits is a cooperative game where you work together to herd as many rabbits as you can into the fenced area. Rolling the dice determines the action – good or bad, helpful or not – so dealing with disappointment and celebrating when things go well are all part of it.  There is a little strategy and planning ahead involved too.

#planningahead #workingtogether

The Fairy Game

The fairy game is more complex than it first looks, and there is a bit of strategy involved for the team (players) to work collaboratively on.  Best for 5yrs and over.

#cooperativegame #strategy

Dinosaur Escape

#cooperativegame #dinosaur-mad #differentiate



Cannot tell you how much I love this cooperative game.  Think: junior version of Cluedo!  Figure out together which fox is the thief.

#cooperativegame #takingturns #mystery

Mates Traits

A set of 32 light-hearted cards that describe some of the characteristics of real friendship. Unlock the complexity of friendship-making.

#makingfriends #friendshipsecrets

Social Skills Board Game

A set of 6 board games designed to build social skills Social Skills such as manners, empathy, managing emotions and friendship skills.

#learningthroughplay #model #practice #makingfriends

By |2018-12-18T03:48:15+00:00January 10th, 2018|Special needs|0 Comments

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