• Icecream
  • Moon
  • Treasure
  • Worries
  • Girl
  • Boy
Illustrations by Ali Harper

Sample Games

1. Conversation Drawings

From Social Skills Games for Children (2008)

Players work in pairs to construct a conversation through drawing, making marks and shapes with paint or crayons on the same piece of paper. Each player uses one colour and takes turns to draw their part of the conversation. Players must keep to their own half of the paper.

Adaptations

Players construct ‘happy’ conversations

Players construct angry conversations or ‘I’m worried’ conversations. Finish with a resolution and a calming down for these two interactions.

Players work in groups of three

Two pairs of players construct their own conversation at opposite ends of a large piece of paper. After one or two minutes they then join up with each other to share a conversation between all four of them.

Spread a roll of plain wallpaper across a large space (the school playground is ideal for this) so that players can move around and have ‘art conversations’ with as many different people as possible, joining groups, starting new groups or talking to just one other person at a time.

Reflection

What skills do you have that help you to join conversations and to start new conversations? What happens if people talk at the same time as each other? What happens if lots of people want to join the same conversation?

2. Hands Up!

From Anger Management Games for Children (2008)
Ch 10 When I’m Angry: Responses and Consequences

The children need to stand in a large enough space so that they have room to move their arms and hands without touching other people.

How to play

Demonstrate how we can move our arms freely in the air and at the same time shake our hands loosely. When all the children are moving freely the game coordinator calls out a word that reflects a degree of anger (e.g. annoyed, frustrated, furious, cross). Players begin an angry conversation between their two hands. After thirty seconds the coordinator calls ‘hands up’. Players raise their hands above their heads and stretch as high as they can go. The coordinator then calls another anger word and players drop their arms down and act out another conversation between their hands until the coordinator calls ‘hands up’ again. Continue for at least four levels of anger then finish with a calm conversation. Instead of ‘hands up’ at the end, the coordinator calls ‘hand shake’. Players shake hands with themselves!

Adaptation

Invent a ‘hand dance’ changing from calm to angry and back again. In small groups players can take turns to demonstrate their hand dance or to teach it to the rest of the group.

Reflection

Talk about any physical tension evident during the game. Are there times when our hands show how we are feeling? If our hands are tense does anything happen to the rest of our body?

Talk about how even small changes in body tension and posture (e.g. unclenching your jaw or relaxing your hands) can make a big difference to how we feel and to how other people think we feel. Can you think of postures that look nearly the same but mean something very different?

How do you stand or sit when you are feeling angry? How do other people know when you are feeling angry? What is the smallest thing that you need to do or to say for other people to know how you are feeling?

If you have an argument or you hit someone or break something in anger are the consequences the same as when you explain to someone why you are feeling angry?

3. I Like My Hands Because

From Self-Esteem Games for Children (2007)
Ch 9 Feeling OK About Being Me

How to play

Each child draws round his or her own hand. In each finger they write why they like their hands e.g. my hands are clever, creative, beautiful, strong, fast moving. In the palm they write one thing that their hands enable them to do – play the keyboard, cut up their food, stroke the cat.

Display the hand pictures for players to guess the artist.

Adaptation

Ask the children to ‘introduce’ their hands to the rest of the group and say something about them.

Younger children can cut out magazine pictures to show things they like to do with their hands

Make foot drawings and face drawings (using a mirror)

Reflection

Talk about differences and similarities. Do you take your hands for granted? Have you ever really looked at your hands very closely and noticed the patterns of lines, the skin colour, the way your fingers move?