How to Socialize: The Best Basic Social Skills Activities for Both Adults and Kids8 min read
Humans are paintings of experiences which hold emotions, feelings, thoughts, cultures, ideologies and skills.
Our main focus here is skills since you cannot actually reach and gain something without knowing its key skills which enable you to have what we call “experience” in whatsoever field in life!
For example, in order to have a healthy social life, you should have some social skills which help you deal with the surrounding society you are coping with on a daily basis.
In our article, we offer you some of the best social skills activities for both adults and kids!
Social Skills Activities for Adults
Building Without Words
Non-verbal communication is so included in daily adult interaction since gestures and facial expressions can make up a big part of social communication.
This activity uses powerful visual and tactile abilities to support development in non-verbal communication.
The game actually goes as such:
People into pairs and each pair is given a stack of goal cards and a pile of building blocks.
The challenge is for one partner to explain to the other partner via gestures and body language how to build the shape displayed on each card.
The team with the most completed shapes is the winner.
This kind of activity is a very good icebreaker!
Role Play – Empathy
Role play is such an influential method to work on building social-emotional reciprocity while controlling for unexpected variables. Since the interaction is scripted, it gives you an actual lived example without the stress of a real-world scenario which actually involves providing a friend who is sad or worried with comfort.
The script pauses at some strategies which allow group discussions about important points such as identifying that someone else is upset, asking questions to offer support or making someone more at ease.
This activity is perfect for the group setting.
Creative Activity and Conversation Guide
Starting a conversation might be challenging for many adults who have autism; however, it is such an important social skill which makes life a little easier.
In this activity, participants use many art supplies to come up with a piece which signifies something special to them; it may be a special interest, family member, place, or anything else.
Then, they are divided into pairs to have some talk about the artwork each made.
The conversation guide contains suggestions for good questions to ask about the other person’s work; plus, topics to avoid in this interaction.
A game night is a wonderful way to get many different people together and enjoy a common activity.
Tell everyone to bring a favorite board game or card game and take turns playing various ones.
Group leaders can facilitate holding casual conversations and talks while the game is being played.
To keep stuff going easily, make sure everyone agrees on the rules ahead of time and clearly state that casual conversation is the main goal of the whole thing, so participants won’t think it distracting but rather the most essential part of the game.
Sometimes, a non-structured activity can be the first step of building social relationships.
Swimming, cross-country skiing, biking, and other non-competitive sports can keep all things fun and at ease.
However, this kind of activity can be very challenging for those who love structure, but if they are offered the proper support, this can help enlarge the amount of experiences individuals can share with others.
It is a great chance to practice casual conversation, as well as a perfect choice for both verbal and non-verbal adults.
For those who love structure and need it, just make a map of a route you plan to take or a schedule of events and offer them.
Taking classes with other people is another great step and one of the most effective activities that can help build social skills since it focuses on people’s interest, for having a mutual ground breaks some boundaries that enable people to interact.
Some fun ideas are included such as cooking, art classes, languages, model building, history, and more.
The interesting subject and structured environment will make it much easier for the adult with ASD to interact with the group.
The beautiful feeling that the individual gains through being a part of a whole is another element which cooperates in having one’s social skills developed so fast.
Social Skills Activities for Kids
Since they are on their very first way to start dealing with society especially in schools, they should actually learn some basic social skills which enable them to have their own personality preserved and cherish their confidence!
Good eye contact show others our interest in what they have to say our confidence in our ability to listen.
Have a staring contest
Making a contest of eye contact can challenge some kids (especially if they have a competitive streak)
Eyes on The Forehead
When you are playing out with your child, place a sticker of an eye or a pair of eyes on your forehead. Encourage them to look at the stickers. It is not precisely looking at your eyes but it is training them to look in the right direction in a funny, lovelier way!
Eye contact while swinging is very beneficial since their brain is busy with the entertainment received, it would be much easier to break some barriers. Plus, make a game of it where the child tries to reach you with their feet because the sensory input may be calming and allow them to focus more on you.
If you also compliment them, you are going to have their attention and they will definitely look at your eyes with joy and happiness.
Idioms can be of great help and one way of socializing with others.
Books about Idioms
There are many great books that illustrate and explain idioms; for instance,
“Try In a Pickle And Other Funny Idioms” by Marvin Terban.
You will find very funny literal illustrations with the explanation of the history of the phrase.
Have your child make their own book of idioms that they hear, so they wouldn’t ever forget them and they will keep using them regularly.
Memory or Matching Game
It goes by writing down idioms on one set of cards and their meanings on another, and then have the child try to make them into pairs.
Plus, it is possible to add the literal picture of the idiom to reflect what the idiom that is being used actually looks like.
Reading Faces / Interpreting Emotions
This skill is very important and quite necessary at home, in school and on the playground.
Many misunderstandings come as a result from kids misinterpreting the emotions of others.
For example, looks actually confuse and complicate the whole thing of kids trying to socialize with each other or with adults.
They might simply mistake a look of disappointment and think someone is angry, or they may mistake a nervous expression for a funny one.
Write down feeling words on pieces of paper – or, print out and cut up the worksheet below.
Take turns picking one piece of paper and then acting out the word written on it.
You can actually show the emotion of the word written on the card instead of saying anything.
Kids might like if you can draw the emotion rather than act it out like in the game Pictionary.
You can set harder rules by saying that you cannot draw the emotion using a face, so they would express the feeling by drawing the body language or parts of a situation that would lead to that emotion (e.g. for sadness, you can draw a kid sitting alone on a bench, or a rainy day, etc.)
Face games are one wonderful and influential method to develop social interaction.
you can try “mirroring” with an autistic child: Touch your nose or stick out your tongue and have him or her imitate you.
Make funny faces so that the child can mimic. Kids with social skills deficits usually face some troubles with reading expressions and interacting socially; therefore, activities which can get them more relaxed and comfortable with these situations are a great idea.
Staying On Topic
When holding a conversation, there should be a topic to discuss. Each person adds something to the conversation until the conversation has reached the conclusion or simply the entire topic changes.
It is often difficult for children to stay on topic and take part of a regular conversation. Here are some activities to help with staying on topic and carrying out a conversation.
Play a game with the alphabet where every letter has to start with a word in a theme such as fruit or vegetable: A…apple, B…banana, C…carrot
Step into Conversation
This is a very useful learning tool which offers children with autism the structure and support they need to hold interactive conversations.
Cards provide 22 basic, scripted conversations with places for the child to fill in the spaces. Icons with labels run along the top of each card and remind the child to Stand, Look, Talk and Listen. Plus, they are frequently reminded to listen after they make each statement.
This game is very inspirational and it goes by putting pictures of different emotions face down on the table. Then players start improvising some stuff on different cards to come up with a good story.
The main goal is for the players to take turns making up the narrative, building on each other’s thoughts and eventually benefiting from all the required story elements.
All in all, everyone has to learn some basic social skills that enable them to go through their life and learn more to cope with it on a daily basis.
That’s why if we begin with children, the expected results will be met in the future.
They will be promising people who can make a great history!