Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer of Learning: Social Games

Remember all those fun camp games your used to play?  Why not incorporate those into your summer of learning? It's a great way for kids to work on maintaining social skills, making friends, and getting active!

Today's post will focus on some tried and true games we have utilized in my classroom over the years!  Most of these we have done during summer school this year and they have been a huge hit!  We have had 20 kids with autism engaged for up to 90 minutes (!!) using a combination of these games.   We usually write a schedule out on the white board, and then get to playing!  We call this generically DRAMA TIME since we are working on imagination skills, creativity, and using our minds, bodies, and voices in different ways.

I have listed 10 different activities below that have been some of our recent favorites!  Most of these require a group of people, so would be great for camps, summer school, or even to incorporate weekly in your classroom (which is what we do).

1.  We ALWAYS start our activity with a structured Warm Up.  (See this post for details).  Then we get into the other games.

2.  That's So Rude. A lot of our kids struggle to interrupt appropriately, so we created this came to practice the right and wrong way to interrupt.  All of the kids stand or sit in a circle and 3 kids take turns at a time.  2 kids stand in the middle of the circle and have a conversation about whatever they want.  The 3rd student gets to interrupt the RUDE way first.  After they interrupt, all of the students in the circle shout, "THAT'S SO RUDE."  Then the student "rewinds" the scene and practices interrupting the right way, by tapping someone on the shoulder and saying "excuse me."

3.  Minute to Win It.  Oh man...this game has been a HUGE hit this summer...our kids cannot get enough!  We have come up with challenges like hopping on one foot, staring competitions, balancing toys on the end of a fork while one end is in your mouth, balancing a popsicle stick on your forehead, and using a straw to blow a cup in a race.  

4. Charades/Pictionary.  Pretty self-explanatory....we have been playing pictionary for awhile and just introduced charades this was amazing how quickly our kids picked up on this!

5. Bunny Bunny.  This game is an adapted version of an improv game.  There is a good explanation of the full game here.  However, we play a much simpler version.  We stand in a circle and use this game to practice conversation skills/listening skills of facing another person and making eye contact.  We face the person next to us (with our body and eyes), and put our hands in a duckbill formation.  First you open and shut your hands toward yourself two times while saying "bunny bunny," then away from yourself 2 times while saying "bunny bunny."  (see video below--sorry I just woke up when I made this so I look a little out of it).  Then, the person you are facing does the same thing in response to you.  After that, they turn to the person on their other side and do the same thing.  You do this all the way around the circle.  After we got the hang of this, we tried it with having kids come up with their own animals (i.e. "monkey monkey") or foods ("chips chips") to say.

6. Quack, Moo, Cockadoodle Doo.  I got this game from Creating a Thoughtful Classroom (she has a bunch of fun ideas in the FREEBIE available in this post)

7. Kid Songs with actions (Pizza Hut Song, Baby Shark, Baby Bumble Bee, etc.).  Sorry some of these videos seem babyish...but we don't use the actual videos in class...just posting the links so you can learn them and sing them with your kiddos!

8. Red Light, Green Light.  In case you don't know this game, this post from Teach Preschool does a good job explaining it!

9.  Watermelon, Watermelon.  Check out the description of this game from ultimate camp resource's site.  Again, you are in a circle and you pass the watermelon around using a hand motion and a slurping sound.  Lots of laughing and fun during this game...including from the teachers!

10.  Go To Sleep-  We always end with this game.  It is a great way to keep a similar structure, as well as calm everyone down and get them focused to go back to working.  Check out this post for more details on that game. 

I was asked to participate in this post by Personal Creations, who are trying to help encourage parents to spend time working with their children to keep them always moving forward with their education (even during time off from school!).  Soon they will have a Pinterest Board full of summer activity ideas!  Can't wait to share it with you once it's up! 

1 comment:

  1. I love these games, and will incorporate some of them into my social skills unit next fall. Thanks for your creativity!