Learning Social Skills Through Play: A Fun Guide

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Childhood is crucial for the development of basic social competencies. It’s also inconceivable without playing and play-based learning. However, you might be wondering about the nature of the connection between play and social life. Moreover, you may ask if there are some games and activities that are better for the socialization of young children

Whether you’re about to throw a kids party, or just looking for a place where your child can meet new friends in Mesa, read on to learn about the benefits of play for social development. 

How do play activities teach social skills?


Play activities enable children to channel their energy, interact with their peers, and learn to respect some basic rules. They are the very foundation of what is going to become their social life. 

With any organized type of play, there’s a chance that everything falls apart if there are no ground rules. However, even this is an opportunity for children to deal with and resolve situations of conflict in a pleasant, fair, and friendly way. 

While being naturally competitive, learning the rules of fair play is vital. They might be inclined to cheat or break the rules, but it’s important to learn that it’s just a game. The goal is to develop good social behavior, become adaptable, and genuinely interact with peers. Participation is what counts, and knowing how to lose and win without being petty or spiteful is another goal to look out for. 

What social skills can children learn from playing games?

There are several important skills that kids can learn at a relatively young age when they play: 

  • Cooperation. Besides being competitive, children have the opportunity to learn that they can benefit from cooperating with others. Instead of fighting, they can reach a compromise and enjoy the results of their effort. 
  • Fairness. While sticking to the rules, they will show that they respect each other in a competitive context. 
  • Teamwork. True team players know how to take responsibility, but also delegate, communicate, and show appreciation for their teammates. 
  • Patience. This is essential, as most activities don’t lead to instant gratification. To prevent misunderstanding and other inconveniences, it’s important that your child learns to wait for others.
  • Empathy. There are a number of games that will actually require that kids predict and mimic the behavior of others, as well as to understand how they feel. 

What games enhance social skills?


There are a number of helpful activities that can help your kids learn and boost social skills: 

  • Name game – this is usually an icebreaker game that serves a number of purposes, kids get to introduce themselves, learn the names of their playmates, and start a conversation
  • Staring contest – this is an excellent way for kids to exercise patience, and predict the actions of their peers.
  • Roll the ball – besides coordinating efforts, this game helps kids to get closer to their peers, and to develop a group spirit. 
  • Virtual playtime – in the time of social distancing, it has become increasingly important to stay in touch with schoolmates, friends, and family members using online tools and apps. They can enjoy a variety of activities, or play creative and age-appropriate video games together.
  • Emotion charades – a great way for kids to enhance their sensitivity to emotional cues, to act out emotions, and become more empathetic. 
  • Expression mimicking – kids enjoy this game, as it gives them a chance to mirror a variety of emotional expressions, and practice empathy. They also get a clue about non-verbal communication and how they appear to others.
  • Step into conversation – this is a great exercise for very young children, and also kids with autism. It gives them the opportunity to understand their role and their actions in a social context. 
  • Improvisational stories – this helps with creativity and imagination, but also gives kids the opportunity to become good listeners.
  • Team sports – soccer, basketball, baseball, football, and volleyball are all great examples where your kid can learn to be a team player, cooperate, and burn extra energy. There are other team activities that can be suitable for younger kids, such as squash.
  • Scavenger hunts – kids love to explore, compete, and collect rewards. However, when they do scavenger hunts in teams, it also enhances their social skills. 
  • Community gardening – a great way to make kids feel that they can play an important role in the community. Activities can include raking leaves, planting flowers, collecting branches, decorating sidewalks, mowing lawns, setting up birdhouses, etc.
  • Productive debate – this activity helps the cognitive and conversational skills, as well as cooperation if the goal is to reach a mutual agreement.

Besides social skills, these activities can create a positive sense of self and boost confidence, which can further empower your child and help them in their adult life.

Where can I find an ideal location for a fun kids’ party in Mesa?  

When you’re looking for an environment where kids can socialize during the Christmas holidays or where they can blow off steam, Uptown Jungle is your go-to option, if you want your kids to engage in a number of activities around our obstacle courses, climbing towers, and trampolines. We’re located less than a mile away from Shepherd Aquatic Complex, so you can’t miss us. Also, we can help you find fun ways to celebrate your kids’ birthdays and other life events. You can count on our experienced staff to give you a tour and take care that your kids are safe while they play. Call us today to check our attractions and options!