Free Social Skills Lesson Plans for Students

Updated April 30, 2020
Students talking outdoors

Knowing how to teach social skills involves understanding what social skills are appropriate for each age group. Social skills lesson plans each focus on different skills needed to have successful and healthy relationships with others. To use the printable social skills lesson plans, click on the image of the document. Check out the troubleshooting guide for printables if you need help getting the lesson plan PDFs.

Simple Social Skills Lesson Plans for Elementary Students

Whether you're homeschooling a shy child or in need of quick social skills activities for kids, these simple lesson plans can help you teach social skills.

How to Say "Hello" Printable Lesson Plan

Teach younger kids how to properly introduce themselves to others and how to greet people in different situations with this simple social skills lesson plan. You'll make some simple cards out of index cards and kids will actively show which greetings or introductions are most appropriate for each situation.

Elementary Social Skills Lesson Plan - How to Say Hello

Strange Story Time

Help kids learn the value of active and attentive listening with a fun twist on your standard story time. All you need are two picture books.

  1. Instruct students to remain quiet while you read, keep their eyes focused on you, and listen to the story you're about to read.
  2. Read one of the books out loud.
  3. Instruct students to talk to each other, get up and wander if they feel like it, and act however they want (within reason) during your next story.
  4. Read the second book out loud, without stopping for any interruptions.
  5. Ask kids a few basic questions about each story such as setting, main characters, and how it ended.
  6. Discuss which story they remembered better and why. Kids should remember more about the story you read while they were quiet.

Who Can Help Me?

In this simple activity, kids will have to follow directions, ask others for help, and may learn about accepting "No" as an answer. You'll need a color-by-numbers page that uses about four colors for this activity.

  1. Give each child a color by numbers page, but no crayons.
  2. Assign each participant a job. For example, only Jenny can get a blue crayon, only Mom can get a red crayon, and only Jeff can color in the yellow sections.
  3. Ask each child to complete their picture following all the rules you gave out.
  4. Each child will have to ask others for help in order to follow the rules and complete the picture.
  5. All participants should have the freedom to refuse to help others, but you should reinforce how this may impact others' desire to help them later.
Two school children working together

Social Skills Topics for Elementary School

Students in elementary school should be learning about these social skills:

  • Active and attentive listening
  • How to greet others
  • Following directions
  • How to ask for help
  • How to get someone's attention
  • How to deal with disagreements or basic conflict resolution
  • How to make and accept an apology
  • How to accept "No" as an answer

Simple Social Skills Lesson Plans for Middle School Students

Part of cognitive development in adolescence involves discovering who you are and how you work in group or social settings. While tweens may see some of these lessons as weird or uncomfortable, they provide valuable insight and tools.

My Space Printable Lesson Plan

Tweens will learn about setting and expressing personal boundaries in this basic lesson plan. Students will have the chance to create a secret rule that allows others inside their circle. They'll have to act out clues to help others learn what their secret rule is.

Middle School Social Skills Lesson Plan - My Space

Attitude Assassin

This fun game is similar to the icebreaker winking game sometimes called Wink Assassin. You'll need a small group for this social skills lesson.

  1. Start by talking about what "having an attitude" means. What does it look like? What are some things a person can do with their body language to show they have an attitude?
  2. Make slips of paper so you have enough to represent each person in your group. Put an "X" on one of these papers.
  3. Choose one of the discussed examples of body language that shows an attitude, like eye rolling.
  4. Put all the papers in a bowl or hat, then have each person draw a paper.
  5. The person who gets the "X" is the attitude assassin and should keep this a secret.
  6. Turn on some music and have everyone walk or dance around the room.
  7. The goal is to guess who the attitude assassin is before they "get" you with their action.
  8. If the attitude assassin performs the chosen action, like eye rolling, at you, you should wait about ten seconds then storm out of the room and is out of the game.
  9. If you think you know who the attitude assassin is, you can say "I think (Name) has an attitude." You only get one guess per round. If you guess wrong, you are out.
  10. Repeat the activity with different types of body language that show "having an attitude."

Feedback Faceoff

Help students learn about giving and receiving feedback or criticism with a fun debate-like activity.

  1. The two participants should each complete the same activity, like drawing a picture or writing out a short story.
  2. Participants should trade pictures or stories and take a few minutes to look them over with a critical eye.
  3. Sit the participants face-to-face with a desk or table between them.
  4. Participants should take turns giving one feedback statement to the other person about their drawing or story.
  5. Participants must give one piece of positive feedback or constructive criticism on their first turn, then negative feedback on their next turn. It should alternate this way throughout.
  6. If a participant can't think of something to say on their turn or gives the wrong kind of feedback, they lose the faceoff.
Students talking in classroom

Social Skills Topics for Middle School

Middle school students are able to display the appropriate social behaviors explored in elementary school and are ready to move onto these topics:

  • Understanding and recognizing attitudes
  • Personal boundaries
  • Understanding and recognizing triggers for anger
  • Understanding communication styles
  • Giving and accepting criticism
  • Dealing with bullying

Get Social With Your Skills

One of the best ways to socialize a homeschooler is to give them loads of opportunities to interact with different types of people in different settings. You can incorporate these social skills lessons into traditional classrooms, use them as individual activities, or get the whole family involved in learning together.

Free Social Skills Lesson Plans for Students