Top 26 Social Skills Activities For Teens And Young Children

✔ Research-backed

Social skills refer to a set of traits a person shows in a social set-up in order to be a part of society. In this post, we have curated a list of social skills activities for kids that will help them connect with the people around them in the long run. When children bloom into teenhood, we notice a number of social changes that they show. These changes are mostly not positive, as they prefer not to speak up as much as they did as little kids. So how can you get them to communicate more and feel like a part of the community? How can you help your child make good connections with people? Well, don’t fret! We have a great set of activities that will help teenagers mingle more and make more friends. Teens must learn to deal with their grumpy moods and maintain a social balance that is healthy for them, as they need to maintain certain relationships. So read through this post to learn more about these activities.

In This Article

26 Fun Social Skills Activities For Teens

1. Theater

Theatre is a great activity for teenagers to meet new people and expand their horizons. Visit the local theater groups in your town/city and see if they have open spots for kids. Theatre may help your shy kid to open up and help your social kid to thrive in a creative environment. Kids who don’t like the limelight can also consider working in the costume or production department of theater companies. You should also encourage your teen to take part in school plays.

2. Activity camps

Summer camps with lots of fun activities are perfect for kids of all ages. Find a camp that is appropriate for your teenager. Camps are great places to make new friends, interact with strangers, and also work alongside them. One-day or weekend camps are especially effective for teens who lack social skills. A day of interaction with new people and partaking in different activities can help even shy kids learn the skills needed for proper social interactions. There are tons of options for camps such as drama, dance, music, sports, science, etc.

Jud Millar, director at Stone Mountain Adventures, writes about his observations about summer camps. He says, ”Sometimes the beauty of camp is that campers are engaged in “free play.” They’re done with a meal and they just start playing… A gaggle of kids and counselors have started an impromptu game of ultimate frisbee on the lawn with spare flip-flops as goalposts. A couple of campers or staff might be casually observing while engaged in a conversation. All of these examples of free play are beneficial because the kids are in charge. They’re navigating social interaction. Whether they’re physically engaged or casually observing, they’re developing independence and self-reliance (i).”

3. Volunteer work

Volunteering is a great activity for kids of all age groups. Encourage your teen to volunteer at retirement homes, child welfare centers or animal shelters. They can also offer to teach useful skills to smaller kids or read books to them. Help them understand how they can organize volunteer works to help their neighborhood or community. Your teen can improve his social skills while helping others.

protip_icon Quick fact
A meaningful volunteer job can develop abilities like curiosity, creativity, and empathy in your teen.

4. Sports participation

There is a reason sports matter so much in life. Beyond entertainment, there is a lot people can learn from sports. Teenagers can learn the value of teamwork, organization, leadership, motivation, fitness and support from playing sports. All these qualities are great for character-building and for improving socialization skills.

5. Art classes

Help nurture your teen’s artistic talent and get the added benefit of an improvement in social skills through art classes. Not only will your teen interact with instructors and fellow students, he will also get an outlet for creative self-expression. The activity helps shy kids express their views better. Encourage your teens to enroll in any art or craft classes just to test the waters. Painting classes, sketching, fabric art, pottery, sculpting and similar activities help teenagers express themselves to others in a better way.

protip_icon Point to consider
When students create something of their own, it makes them confident. This self-confidence grows manifold when they witness their progress.

6. Bonfire night

Organize bonfire nights for your teen. Plan events where you can invite your extended family and get to know each other better or reminisce about the good old times. Encourage your teenagers to throw a different kind of birthday party complete with a bonfire night as the perfect backdrop for fun times with friends.

7. Educational trips

So your teen loves museums, great! Plan activities where he can better his social skills. Visit different neighboring towns and explore all museums. Help your teens further explore this interest by bookstore visits where they can buy books about history. Find out about expert lectures and seminars on the subject and offer to accompany them to the event or pay for your teen to go with a friend.

Educational trips are not only a great way to help teenagers explore their interests, but they also offer ample opportunities to interact with new people. They increase the cultural competence of your teen and teach them a great deal about diversity and inclusion. Simply asking a question during the Q & A session of a lecture may require great deal of guts from a shy kid. Help them break the ice and converse with the museum tour guide or even interact with a stranger.

protip_icon Do remember
Even a short educational trip offers three key outcomes for teens – improved teamwork, enhanced relationships, and a community spirit.

8. Game nights

Game night during a party or family event is a fun way to help your teenagers open up to others. Make such activities more thrilling by asking people to come up with their games on the spot. Select the best ones through votes and have a blast. The bonding will help your teen develop better socialization skills.

9. Live events

Watching live events together as a family or with friends can be an amazing experience for your teen. Championship games, dance performances, music recitals, quiz shows, competitions, etc., are live events that teenagers can watch in a social setting. They would be amidst a crowd, a majority of those people would be strangers. It will help your teen shed his inhibitions while he cheers for his favorite team. Live events are a great place to learn about networking and public speaking as well.

10. Bowling fun

Plan an evening of bowling/roller skating/ice skating fun with your teen. Such visits can be great for developing your teen’s social skills as he will be around many people. As he will bowl or skate while others watch, the activity will help him burst his bubble.

Free Worksheets and Printables for Kids

Social Skills Activities For Kindergarten

Your child needs appropriate guidance about adaptability, good communication, etiquette, and behavior. It’s an excellent way to introduce social games for kids and concepts at varying developmental stages for your kindergarten and preschoolers. These activities teach trust-building and goal-setting to the little ones and help in developing their emotional intelligence as well.

11. Eye on the forehead

Eye on the forehead, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Eye stickers.

How To:

  1. Divide the kids into pairs.
  1. Now place an eye or eyes sticker on one teammate’s forehead.
  1. Encourage the other child to look at the sticker.
  1. The round will end if the player blinks.
  1. Swap the team-mates and repeat the game.
  1. The game will train your kindergarten to look in the correct direction, in a less intimidating way. This is one of the fun social skills activities for kids.

12. Build the vocab

Build the vocab social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A few objects like a kitchen tool, a toy or a stationary

How To:

  1. Hand your child an object and tell him to describe what he thinks about it, according to his perspective. She has to make the object look like something it isn’t. For him, an empty cup can be a duck’s bill or a party hat.
  1. This social skill training for children will develop their vocabulary and story-building skills.

13. Setting the table

Setting the table social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape.
  • Construction paper in 7 different colors.

How To:

  1. Lay out the table for your little toddler to observe and learn.
  1. Now have your kid draw and cut out the following from the construction paper.
  • Dinner fork
  • Salad fork
  • Soupspoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Knife
  • Plate
  • Water glass
  • Napkin

14. Mimic me

Mimic me, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Nothing

How To:

  1. This activity requires kids to mimic you.
  1. If you touch your forehead, tell him to do the same.
  1. If you pinch your nose, tell him to follow.
  1. Box your ears lightly and tell him to do the same.
  2. The activity will help the kids pick up the expression and read them appropriately.
  3. You can make each child take turns in making new expressions and ask others to mimic them. This also teaches leadership skills.

15. Space invader

Space invader, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pictures of cartoon aliens.
  • Crayons
  • Glue

How To:

  1. Tell your child to color the images of the cartoon aliens. Then help them in cutting out.
  1. Stick the alien’s pictures to the popsicle sticks. As you affix the images, explain them why they should respect another person’s space and how it is important. You can also introduce him to the concepts of using ‘gentle hands’ to get someone’s attention instead of hitting or shouting.
  1. Further, explain to him that the aliens he has colored are you, and he is space, the invader.
  1. When the child puts up his mark of the space invader, the aliens would require a moment to regroup. Make him do the same.
  1. This way, you can explain the concept of giving people their space to play and also teach them non-violent problem-solving skills.

16. One question interview

One question interview social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Cards
  • Pen

How To:

  1. Write simple questions on the cards like “What’s your favorite food?” or “Do you have a pet”?
  1. Have the kids sit in a circle. Now pass out the cards and tell each of them to read out the question.
  1. Tell the kids to disperse in another room and get into pairs within five minutes.
  1. Now tell the kids to ask each other the questions and listen to the answers.
  1. Now ask every kid individually what they learned about the partner.
  1. The activity will encourage active listening and will let the kids know about each other.

17. Telephone skills

Telephone social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Round number stickers.
  • Card stock paper
  • Small sticky notes.
  • Scissors

How To:

  1. Tell your child to make a telephone model of the card stock paper. Cut a rectangular shape from the card stock and replicate the phone’s keys by sticking the round number stickers.
  1. Now give your and your partner’s number to your kid and tell him to practice calling and dialling. You can teach him about emergency numbers too.
  1. Now talk to your kid from your phone when he dials your number from his phone. Carry out the conversation just like you would do with any other adult. This way, you can teach your kid about communication skills and ways of interacting with others on the phone.

Social Activities For Young Children

Teaching social skills activities such as time management, critical thinking, and creativity is important for the growth of your child. Here are few such helpful activities for your young and middle school aged children.

18. Emotion charade

Emotion charade social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Bowl

How To:

  1. Write down some words related to feelings on small slips of paper. Put all the paper slips in a bowl and shuffle.
  1. Now have the kids take turns at picking out a paper and acting out the feeling written on it. You can also allow the kids to draw the emotion on a black or white board. The other kids have to guess what emotion the player is trying to demonstrate.
  1. Instruct the kids clearly that they cannot talk. Neither can they draw the emotion using a face. They have to express it by drawing the situation and body language that can lead to the feeling. This game is one of the excellent social skills group activities for kids.

19. Improvisational storytelling

Improvisational storytelling social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Social skills may be delayed in some children, especially those with special needs. This is one such social skills activities for autism. It teaches decision-making also.

You Will Need:

  • Pictures of emotions.

How To:

  1. Place the images of the emotions face down on the surface.
  1. Now tell the players to think about elements that must appear in the story. It can be anything, from a dog to a banana to a lemur.
  1. Tell the first player to pick a card and start his narration. He is free to take the story in any direction he likes. But the catch is that he must incorporate the emotion on his card.
  1. After he has finished, have another child take his turn at picking a card and making up the story. Kids have to build on each other’s idea, making use of all the story elements.

20. Swinging

Swinging social skill activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Nothing

How To:

  1. Take your child to the nearby community park for swinging.
  1. Make an eye contact with him as he swings back and forth.
  1. Also, tell him to try to reach for you with his right foot if you are standing on his right and left foot if you are standing on his left.
  1. The activity will help him direct his focus to you and will calm him down.
  2. Kids love to swing and so this can be one of the favourite social activities for children.

21. Freeze it

Freeze It, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

This is one such best social skills activities for high school students and teens to improve their team building skills.

You Will Need:

  • Nothing

How To:

  1. Assemble the kids in the hall room or garden.
  1. Choose an ‘it’ and ask the other children to line up horizontally.
  1. Now ask the kids to freeze like statues. The ‘it’ now has to try to make the other players laugh.
  1. The first kid to laugh will be the ‘it’ for the next round.
  1. The game will teach kids self-control, patience, and a few essential social skills.

22. Manners and more

Manners And More, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Social skills activities for middle school students help their personal growth and development. This is one such social development activities for children that can help them to understand about the social skills and thereby develop them.

You Will Need:

  • Construction paper.
  • Magazine
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Colors

How To:

  1. First, talk to your kids about good and bad manners. Tell him that there’s only a thin line between good manners and bad manners. For example, greeting an elder while sitting versus greeting him cordially while standing up.
  1. Now tell him to make a collage on good and bad manners with the magazine cut out.
  1. You can even ask them to make a slogan on the manners.

23. Word strips

Word Strips, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Double-sided tape.

How To:

  1. Draw and cut the words like ‘peace’, ‘clean’, ‘silence’, ‘neat’ and ‘hygiene’.
  1. Now talk to him about the relevant rules like ‘maintaining silence in the library’, staying quiet when someone is on the call,’ ‘keeping the wardrobe clean’ and so on.
  1. Now cut out the strips and tell your child to stick when he think it’s appropriate.

24. Who has the peanut?

Who Has The Peanut, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 peanut in the shell

How To:

  1. The purpose of the game is the find out who has the peanut.
  1. Have the kids sit in a circle, placing their hands behind their back and closing it tightly.
  1. Now select one kid to be the ‘peanut passer’. Holding the peanut in his hand, tell him to go around the circle, sliding his hands through the other kid’s hand until he secretly passes off the peanut. He has to go through the circle one full time before giving the peanut.
  1. As the passer walks around, the other kids have to chant ‘Mr. Peanut where are you? Mr. Peanut come to me.”
  1. Now select a kid and ask him who he thinks has the peanut. Keep asking until you find the actual location of the peanut.
  1. When you’ve found the peanut, the kids have to chant, “we’ve found the peanut! Pass the peanut, but not to me”!
  2. Repeat the game with another peanut passer.

25. Name game

The name game, social skill activities for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A ball

How To:

  1. Make the kids sit in a circle and give one of them a ball.
  1. Now ask the child with the ball to name a fellow player and roll the ball to him.
  1. The recipient has to do the same thing.
  1. The process will repeat itself throughout the game.

26. Role Play

Role Play

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A bowl
  • Small chits

How To:

  1. Ask each participant to come forward and pick a chit from the bowl.
  1. The chits contain the names of the characters that they will be playing.
  1. The characters can be of one famous story or from different stories. For example, you can have Romeo and Jack Sparrow as characters.
  1. Now, tell them to create a story in which these characters from different stories come together.
  1. Each child will have to tap their creative energy and create funny scenarios.
  1. Every child will get to work with others and learn the importance of effective communication.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can teenagers improve their social skills?

Teenagers can improve their social skills by practicing active listening, showing empathy, communicating effectively, developing self-awareness, self-esteem, and assertiveness, managing conflicts, joining clubs, and participating in community events. In addition, finding a mentor can inspire them to communicate better and work towards a goal. It is also vital for teenagers today to balance their online and offline social life (1).

2. What social skills do teenagers need?

Social skills such as listening, interpersonal, problem-solving, cooperation, and conflict resolution are essential for teens to socialize and engage with their community (2).

3. What types of activities can help teens practice empathy and understanding?

You can engage your child in role-playing scenarios, volunteering activities, and thoughtful group discussions to make them understand empathy and understanding. Labeled feelings, photo books, and board games are other activities that make children empathetic as they know each other’s feelings. These activities also allow them to forge strong and deeper connections.

4. What games or activities can help teens learn to cooperate with others?

Caterpillar tag, board games, and constructing things like a hut with objects like hula hoops make teens learn the importance of cooperation. Painting in teams or with a partner and obstacle course help develop social skills and help teens learn collaboration. These activities do not focus on defeating players.

Social skills activities for teens help them interact and connect with others. This also enhances their communication and social skills to fit into society. Theater, activity camps, volunteer work, sports, arts, bonfire nights, and educational trips are some of the fun social activities for teenagers. Game nights, bowling, and live events can also help teens spend more quality time with their peers outside of school. You may let your teen participate in these outdoor activities with peers to achieve social skills. Younger children can develop social skills through plays such as one-question interviews, phone skills, and storytelling.

Infographic: Fascinating Social Activities For Young Children

Social skills are vital for a child’s socio-emotional growth. Understanding these skills will benefit them in interacting with the people around them. Check out the infographic below to explore social skills activities that can help your child become a well-rounded individual.

interesting social activities for children to try (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Social skills development is crucial for children and can impact their future relationships.
  • Activity camps, theater, sports, and educational trips can encourage communication and socialization in children.
  • Eye on the Forehead, Setting the Table, and Space Invader are great activities for toddlers to improve communication.
  • Teaching children social skills is imperative to help them interact with their surroundings.
  • Improvisational storytelling, Freeze It, Manners and More, and Who Has The Peanut are effective activities to develop and implement social skills.
Social Skills Activities For Teens_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Watch this video to learn about fun ways to build social skills in teens. Improve communication, make friends, and gain confidence in social situations.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. How To Improve Social Skills in Teens; Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/2022/September/how-to-improve-social-skills-in-teens
  2. The Importance of Social Skills: Raising a Socially Intelligent Child; Good Therapy
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/importance-of-social-skills-raising-socially-intelligent-child-0102184
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Beth Sullivan

Beth SullivanM.Ed in Special Education

Beth Sullivan is an education consultant and president of Deep Roots Learning Solutions, Inc. She specializes in literacy instruction and works primarily with students learning challenges, including dyslexia, ADHD and autism. After working in schools as a special educator for ten years, Beth has shifted her focus to supporting individual students and their families through online tutoring. She also provides...read full bio