Building Social Skills Through Game Night

By Courtney Tabor-... on Dec 13, 2016

Ready for some fun? Game nights are a fantastic way for students to build social skills, without feeling like it is work.


  • Accessible multi-player board or card games


  • This activity can be done at home or at school. To incorporate this into a student’s home life, parents or caregivers can pick a night to designate as family game night. Alternatively, instructors can organize a class period or after-school activity as a time for multiple students to meet to play games together as a group.
  • Allow for the opportunity to play several types of games, including:
    • Games that rely on luck vs. games that require some element of strategy
    • Games where individuals compete vs. games where teams compete
    • Games the student does well at vs. games that are somewhat challenging
  • Playing games is a great opportunity to practice many social skills, including but not limited to:
    • Cooperation
    • Winning/losing
    • Decision-making
    • Conversation skills
    • Understanding humor
    • Understanding how to relax
    • Rule following
    • Turn taking


  • This activity also encourages students to work on recreation/leisure skills and compensatory skills.
  • Some games that are not readily accessible can be made so through strategies like tactile labeling.
  • Games can be developed or adapted based on a student’s needs. Students can practice sensory efficiency, for example, by taking turns with another student in identifying smells, sounds, or objects by touch. 

Collage of students playing Farkle