Finding a social skills activity that is actually engaging and fun for my boys can be really, really difficult.
Most are designed to carefully break down cultural and social norms that we take for granted. It’s good, because that is the need that requires a little extra help. It’s bad because they can be incredibly repetitive and boring.
I have already written a bit about how we handle this, but the truth is, I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate more social activities into our everyday learning. I think this type of learning works best when it is part of what we are already doing instead of a stale, forced activity.
Friday Fun-days: 52 weeks of Easy For Mom Activities
For this week’s Friday Fun-Day activity, I wanted to share with you an effective and fun approach for all children, designed to help with recognizing and understanding others’ perspectives.
We have done this for our pets, characters in books, and even the lady that was mean to us at Target. Because it’s March and our learning this month includes some activities based on St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s activity is seeing the world from the perspective of a leprechaun.
If I Were A Leprechaun Social Skills Activity
The idea is simple. This activity allows the child to create a persona for a leprechaun, asking questions like:
What do you like to eat?
What do you want to do?
What do you not like doing?
It seems basic, but for a child struggling with social norms, coming up with answers can be a bit of a struggle at first.
For my boys, once they got going, it turned out to be silly and fun.
For instance, Herb the Leprechaun wants to be a lawyer one day so that he can prosecute all the people that try to steal his gold. (He also likes to eat babies, but, you know, 12 year old boy…)
After completing our profile, the real social skills questions come in.
How do you think Herb feels about being so much smaller than us?
Would you like to be his friend? How would you approach Herb if he came over today?
Do you think you could be a good friend to Herb? How?
Why This Works
Using a fun fictional character to practice social interactions and seeing others’ perspectives, eliminates any pressure a child feels about social interactions in real life. With this type of activity, they can practice in a fun and creative way, without the baggage our children often have from failed social interactions in the past.
The best part? I have seen my children apply the learning to real life without any hesitation. I would argue that being able to practice these types of skills in a safe, comfortable and even silly way, better prepares them to participate in real life scenarios.
It meets them where they are and encourages social engagement as something fun.
If you would like to complete this activity and have some St. Paddy’s Day fun with your kids, the printable is available for free in my resource library.
Enjoy and Happy Friday!
Looking For More Fun Activities?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.