Social Skills Gifts for Your Holiday Shopping List

By Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea

In our work as social coaches, we offer a huge variety of toys and games for the kids to play with to keep things interesting and create a fun environment. All toys and games have a social element to them where we encourage sharing and good sportsmanship but we have a few favorites that we use with a purpose. Here is our list and why you may want to add them to your holiday shopping list this season.

(Click title or image to purchase)

1) Whoonu by Cranium

Product Description: The “what’s your favorite” thing game. You’re sure to have unforgettable fun as whoonuyou reveal your favorite things, share hilarious stories, and bond over surprising connections. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn about your friends and family — especially those you think you know best! Whoonu is easy to learn and quick to play, so it’s the perfect game for any occasion. And best of all, it’s just as fun to play with people you’ve known for 5 minutes as it is with people you’ve known forever! The game includes 300 game cards, 36 scoring tokens, and a secret envelope. The game takes approximately 15 minutes to play. For 3 to 6 players.

Why We Like It: This game is designed so that players rank the favorite things of other players. It is a great way to get kids to think about what others are thinking (perspective taking). If kids know each other well, they will likely do well in the game and if they aren’t familiar with one another, they will have a better understanding of likes and dislikes after playing this game.

2) Bubble Talk

Product Description: Bubble Talk is a new fast-paced family board game that asks players to match bubble talkhilarious captions with funny pictures. A game that is as much fun if you are 8 or 80. The game begins when each player draws seven random caption cards. The judge for that round draws a picture card and players must quickly try to match the funniest caption they have to the picture. The player who makes the judge laugh the most wins that round. Each round provides comical, clever and creative results, guaranteed to keep everyone in the group laughing. Perfect for a small group of three or as many as eight players. Each game includes 150 picture cards (4″x 6″) and 300 hilarious caption cards that allow for hours of gameplay. So let’s get started!

Why We Like It: The kids absolutely love this game. It always generates peals of laughter. The game has photos of rather odd scenarios with a wide variety of captions that may go with the images. Kids will practice respecting the opinion of peers as the “it” for the round chooses the caption that they think fits the image best. Some of the captions may be a bit “edgy” for younger kids so we simply remove those from the game.

3) Apples to Apples

Product Description: The name of the game is a play on the phrase “apples to oranges,” and the game is about making comparisons between different things. apples to applesGeneral gameplay is as follows: players are dealt red cards which have a noun printed on them, and the judge (a different player in each turn) draws a green card on which an adjective is printed and places it for all players to see. Each player then chooses a red card they are holding that they think best describes the green card. The judge then decides which adjective she likes best.

Why We Like It: This game is a classic and is just like Bubble Talk only with words.

4) Boochie Ball

Product Description: Get ready for this all-new action-packed family game that will have you tossing, boochie ballkicking, bowling, and throwing like never before! First, toss out the soft foam Boochie target and then try to land your ball and hoop as close to it as possible. Keep score on a special wrist tracker that gives you a different outrageous throwing challenge every round. You may have to toss between your legs, behind your back, or even with your eyes closed! The player with the most points wins. Play Boochie… Have a ball! 2-4 players. Playing time about 15 minutes. Contents: 4 toss rings, 4 beanballs, 4 wrist trackers, 1 12-sided Boochie Ball, Vinyl Travel bag. AWARDS: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, iParenting Media Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, Major Fun Award, Parents’ Choice Silver Honor, Dr. Toy’s Best Product Award Winner, Creative Child Magazine Game of the Year, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Gold Award.

Why We Like It:  Boochie Ball requires a bit of space but can be played inside. Kids wear a wristband that explains how they will take their next turn. It helps teach the concept that fair isn’t always equal.

5) Likewise

Product Description: Likewise is a lively party game where it pays to think alike! One player turns likewiseover a “description” card and a “subject” card to create a zany category like “Goofy” “Hairstyle.” Then each player writes something that fits that category on their paddle without showing anyone else. When everyone is done writing, players flip over their paddles to reveal their answers. The most matched answer wins the round! Think you know which “Outrageous” “Celebrity” your best friend would choose? How about which “Mysterious” “Cooking Utensil” or “Pathetic” “Politician”? There are over 5,000 possible category combinations! The more you think like the other players, the more likely you are to win the game! Recommended for 3 to 6 players, ages 14+. Contents include 6 paddles, 6 dry erase markers, 71 description cards, 71 subject cards, scoreboard, die, and stickers.

Why We Like It:  Kids connect with other kids who have the same answers forming a stronger friendship bond.

6) Happy Birthday Game

Product Description: The hilarious game of giving funny gifts. – Only 30 seconds to learn! – The happy birthday gamehilarious gift cards will get kids laughing instantly. How to Play 1. Everybody gives you gifts from their hand. 2. You pick the best one. 3. That player gets a point!

Why We Like It: Games that encourage players to think about what others like build the perspective-taking skill that many kids with social challenges have a difficult time applying.

7) Cozy Sack 3-Feet Bean Bag Chair

Product Description: The Cozy Sack foam chair is the most comfortable place to sit anywhere. They cozy sackare filled with the softest virgin urethane foam available. The urethane foam will spring back to normal size after every use and not go flat like the traditional bean bag chairs.

Why We Like It: Although not a game or toy, these bean bags are a very popular item at my social skills center and parents ask me often where I got them.

Happy holidays to everyone! Have fun!