Social Skills Games for Developmentally Delayed Grade School Children

Developmental delays in children may first show up in a child's social skills. Some of these children have difficulty with learning new social skills, including how to converse with people and how to express their emotions. One way to help grade school children with developmental delays improve their social skills is by playing games 1. When a similar situation comes up in their everyday lives, you can then remind the child that she knows how to respond--just like in the game.

Name Me

Name Me is a game for children that helps them learn to get someone's attention before speaking to them. To play, you'll need a ball and an area large enough for the players to make a circle. Have all the players sit in a circle. To begin the game, call the name of a child in the circle and roll the ball to him. This child then picks another player, says her name, and rolls the ball to her. This game can also help children learn and remember each other's names.

Don't Let It Fall

Don't Let It Fall can be played by one child individually or by a group. To play, you'll need an inflated balloon or beach ball and a space large enough for the players to move around without getting hurt. The object of the game is for the players to keep the balloon or ball up in the air, without letting it touch the ground. The game helps the players learn to cooperate, communicate and anticipate each other's movements. For a large group or an added challenge, try using two balloons or beach balls.

How Do I Feel?

How Do I Feel? helps children learn how to make facial expressions that express their emotions as well as how to interpret the facial expressions of others. To play, you'll need a deck of cards showing faces people make when expressing basic emotions. According to Parenting Science, the deck should include:

  • the seven basic emotions identified by psychologist Paul Ekman: neutral
  • happy
  • sad
  • fear
  • anger
  • disgust,
  • surprise 1

Shuffle the deck and have one player at a time pick a card. The player looks at the card, then tries to imitate the face on the card. The other players look at the player with the card and try to guess what feeling is expressed by the look on her face.