It may seem counterintuitive but if you want your students to be calm and focused, adding movement to your Social Skills Group is the way to go!
A recent study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics showed that physical movement had a positive affect not just on motor skills but cognitive achievements as well.
If you want your students to be maintain their interest in your Social Skills Group, it is imperative that you incorporate movement.
Since playing outdoor games and having dance parties is not always an option, we need to get creative!
Not only is it more fun and a change from the monotony of their day, physical movement actually triggers a release of dopamine and serotonin which are directly tied to feeling motivated and focused.
A way to include movement while building conversation skills is to use these sentence starters (e.g. "I love when..." "My favorite thing is...." "I can't stand it when...") and place them on the floor or outside on the ground.
Have your students stand up, circle around the strips and give them a bean bag. Then let them take turns tossing the bean bag to any sentence starter they want. Whatever it lands on, that child will complete the sentence and then ask that question to another peer.
Another super fun way to naturally incorporate movement is to have your students go on scavenger hunts!
Pair them up and give one an expo marker and one the scavenger hunt on a clipboard. They can switch roles halfway through. These are always a hit in my social skills groups!
What other ways can you get your kids moving besides playing outside games? There is always a way!
If you're looking for more guidance on creating your own social skills groups, check out my online professional development course Social Skills Groups for 21st Century Kids.