101 More Life Skills Games for Children: Learning, Growing, Getting Along (Ages 9-15)

101 More Life Skills Games for Children: Learning, Growing, Getting Along (Ages 9-15)

by Bernie Badegruber

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How do you teach tolerance, self-awareness, and responsibility? How can you help children deal with fear, mistrust, or aggression?

Play a game with them! Games are an ideal way to help children develop social and emotional skills; they are exciting, relaxing, and fun.



How do you teach tolerance, self-awareness, and responsibility? How can you help children deal with fear, mistrust, or aggression?

Play a game with them! Games are an ideal way to help children develop social and emotional skills; they are exciting, relaxing, and fun.

101 LIFE MORE SKILLS GAMES FOR CHILDREN: LEARNING, GROWING, GETTING ALONG (Ages 9-15) is a resource that can help children understand and deal with problems that arise in daily interactions with other children and adults. These games help children develop social and emotional skills and enhance self-awareness.

The games address the following issues: dependence, aggression, fear, resentment, disability, accusations, boasting, honesty, flexibility, patience, secrets, conscience, inhibitions, stereotypes, noise, lying, performance, closeness, weaknesses, self confidence, fun, reassurance, love, respect, integrating a new classmate, group conflict.

Organized in three main chapters: (I-Games, You-Games and We-Games), the book is well structured and easily accessible. It specifies an objective for every game, gives step-by-step instructions, and offers questions for reflection. It provides possible variations for each game, examples, tips, and ideas for role plays. Each game contains references to appropriate follow-up games and is illustrated with charming drawings.

Product Details

Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
SmartFun Activity Books Series
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

101 More Life Skills Games FOR Children

Learning, Growing, Getting Along (Ages 9 to 15)
By Bernie Badegruber

Hunter House Inc., Publishers

Copyright © 2006 VERITAS-VERLAG Linz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-89793-444-2

Chapter One

I Games

What I'm Feeling Games 1-10

What I'm Thinking Games 11-12

How I Am Games 13-21

1 A Picture of My Mood

Props: Cards with various pictures pasted on them


Expressing moods and feelings

Getting to know each other

Overcoming shyness

How to Play: In the center of the circle are a lot of picture cards-two for every player. Each player chooses a picture that expresses her current mood. The players take turns explaining their choices.

Example: "I chose the picture of the deck chair because I'm tired and I wish I were sitting in a nice, comfortable chair."

Variation: Draw a mood picture.


Not all players will automatically be aware of their current mood.You can help by pointing out that it doesn't have to be today's mood-they can talk about some other mood they've been in recently.

If you as the game leader have no picture cards prepared, a day earlier you should ask each player to cut out two postcard-sized pictures from magazines-one for a positive mood, one for a negative one. The pictures can then be glued onto cards and even covered with clear contact paper to protect them.

Once the players have played the game and they understand what the pictures are for, they'll enjoy helping you collect more of them.


What benefits are there to making ourselves aware of our moods?

In what kinds of situations do you experience similar moods?

Are you more affected by feelings (short-term) or moods (long-term)?

How much is your mood influenced by the group?

What could help you change your current mood?

Follow-up Games

2: Flashlight * 13-21: How I Am * 33: Favorite Place * 34: Picture Present

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

1-5: What I Like * 41: Balloon Dance * 52: Wake Up! * 53: The Grouping Game * 54: Hot Seat

2 Flashlight


Expressing moods and feelings

Introducing oneself and getting to know each other

Overcoming shyness

Verbalizing feelings

How to Play: The players agree on a theme or topic and try to describe their feelings about it.


If the theme is the weather:

"There's a thunderstorm in me today."

"I feel foggy."

If the theme is water:

"I feel like Niagara Falls."

"I'm a deep, still lake."

Note: In groups where students have speech problems or other difficulties expressing themselves, nonverbal "How Am I Feeling" games, such as Mood Meter (Game #3) are helpful preparation exercises.

Variation: The players agree on a material that is available that they can use to illustrate their moods. Then, for example, every player chooses a stone or a colorful cloth that corresponds to his mood.


Do you like expressing your moods to others?

Have you found players who are in the same mood as you?

Follow-up Games

1: A Picture of My Mood and all of its suggested follow-up games * 3: Mood Meter

3 Mood Meter

Props: Chairs


Expressing moods and feelings

Getting acquainted

Overcoming shyness

Verbalizing feelings

Being helpful

How to Play: At a given signal, all the players stand up, stay sitting in their chairs, stand on their chairs, or sit on the floor-depending on how "high" their mood is. Players whose mood is at either extreme-whether they are in "high spirits" or feel very "down"-may be asked why.

Variation: After the players have guessed why a particular player's mood is extreme, she can tell the others if they are right.

Note: In this game, it is important to let the players volunteer to explain their moods. At first, it might be best to talk only to those players who are in a good mood. As game leader, you can always talk privately to the ones who are in bad moods.


What is the general mood of the group? Is your mood different from the mood of most of the group?

Do you ever wish you could change your mood? Can the group help you? What could prevent you from talking to the group about your mood?

Have you ever "hit rock bottom"? What makes you feel like you are "on cloud nine"?

Follow-up Games

All follow-up games suggested for 1: A Picture of My Mood * 2: Flashlight * 4: Body Language Spells Your Mood

4 Body Language Spells Your Mood


Expressing moods and feelings

Initiating communication

Increasing physical awareness

Increasing social awareness

How to Play: Each player takes a turn at using body language to show the group how they are feeling. Players can use a posture, a gesture, or a facial expression to convey these feelings.

Variation: Express your mood in a sentence.

Note: Some people find it hard to reveal their feelings through body language. And yet, the body is one of the most honest means of expression-body language doesn't lie. Often, what people say is the opposite of what their bodies tell us. In cases like that, usually it's the body that's telling the truth!

Reflections: How do you prefer to express your feelings: by showing your mood with words or through body language? Why not try both simultaneously sometime? In everyday life, they are usually combined. How does it feel when someone's words and body language disagree with each other?

Role Play: Whodunit?

A chosen "police detective" leaves the room.

Five players sit in a row at the front of the room. They decide among themselves which one of them is the "perp" who committed a crime.

Now the detective comes back in the room and starts asking questions of the five players. Naturally they all say they didn't do it. But the perpetrator, through facial expressions and body language, tries to show how a criminal's body language would give him away. The police detective tries to recognize which player is the perp.

Follow-up Games

3: Mood Meter * 5: Moodles * 21: Help Wanted * 23: What's My Name * 30: Heads Are Truthful, Tails Lie * 36: Spy * 80: Face-off * 94: Shadow Play

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

1-5: What I Like * 27-32: Understanding You * 78: Peace Language * 83: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing * 84-92: Statue and Sculpting Games * 95: Fairytale Surprises * 97-101: Pantomime Play

5 Moodles

Props: Paper and pens


Expressing moods and feelings

Reducing aggression

Dealing with feelings

Recognizing feelings

Finding symbols for feelings

How to Play: Every player has a slip of paper and different pens to choose from and starts mood doodling-or moodling. What he or she moodles may not be a recognizable picture, but it's usually obvious whether the player was in a good or bad mood, tense or relaxed, happy, sad, or playful. The players show each other their moodles. They can also have the other players guess their moods. Players can be grouped by similar moods and moodles to create "mood posters."


The game leader gives the players concrete instructions, such as "Draw an anger moodle."

Players pair off and watch each other moodling. They recognize their partners' moods from the movements, facial expressions, and gestures they make while moodling.

All moodle pictures are taped or pinned on a wall or board. Each player looks for a picture that best expresses his or her current mood.

Players write sentences that express moods on slips of paper. Then they assign each sentence to a moodle.


Moodling can serve to reduce aggressions. You can encourage aggressive children to moodle away their anger.

Similarly, when there is a conflict in the class, the children can be asked to moodle away the incident.


Has moodling strengthened or weakened your feeling?

What does a rage moodle look like? What do the lines and colors look like when you are happy?

Do all your happy moodles look the same?

Think of your handwriting in your exercise books: how do you write when you are angry and when you are in a good mood?

Role Plays

Write an outraged letter to someone. Try to make your handwriting match your mood. Read aloud what you are writing.

Also try a love letter.

Follow-up Games

4: Body Language Spells Your Mood * 6: Mood Buildings * 17: The "I" Museum * 40: The Incredible Two-Handed Pen * 80: Face-off * 89: Statues as Mood Meters

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

1: I Like This Picture * 22: Gathering Names * 78: Peace Language * 97-101: Pantomime Play

6 Mood Buildings

Props: A set of blocks for each player


Expressing moods and feelings

Recognizing how the environment affects us

Improving visual and tactile perception

How to Play: Each player is given a set of building blocks and makes a building that reflects his mood.


Examples of other materials that could be used: Stones A selection of colored and patterned bandanas Glass beads Leaves Contents of a dollhouse Contents of a backpack Play-Doh Roots and twigs Flowers Dishes Several chairs

Try to create a mood in this room that is cheerful or depressing.


Which material appeals to you most? Can you express certain moods particularly well with certain materials? Try and express two opposite moods with the same material. Can the material influence your mood?

Does looking at the mood buildings of the other players influence your own mood?

What do houses say about the people living in them? How do people's living environments influence their moods?

Follow-up Games

5: Moodles * 7: Mood Mail * 17: The "I" Museum * 33: Favorite Place * 67: Group-net * 72: Stone Field

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

1-5: What I Like * 8-19: What I Observe * 87: Statue Pairs

7 Mood Mail

Props: Pens and paper for all


Expressing moods and feelings

Getting to know the group's mood

Sharing individual reflections nonverbally

How to Play: Players sit around in a circle. On a small slip of paper, each player writes down his mood in one sentence-without giving his name. The slips are passed around the circle until all players have their own slips again. Now they know the moods of the others in the group without knowing which is which, and they also have an impression of the general mood of the group. On another slip of paper, each player can write down her impression of the group's overall mood, which can be passed around the circle again.

Note: This method also provides the group leader with feedback. It is not very time-consuming. The game leader can keep the slips and go through them again at her leisure. Individual players can compare their own moods with the group's mood and try to adjust them.

Reflection: Since this game is usually played at the end of a series of games and serves as a kind of reflection in itself, no separate reflection is necessary.

Role Play: The mail carrier brings the mayor anonymous letters from the citizens' "Complaints Box."

Follow-up Games

6: Mood Buildings * 8: Mood Music * 11: Brainstorm * 20: Pieces of Personality * 32: See How You Are * 67-73: Relationship Games

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

62: Emergency Kit

8 Mood Music

Props: Orff Instruments, such as tambourines, bongos, xylophones, drums, triangles, woodblocks, and metallophones (optional)


Expressing moods and feelings

Reducing aggression

Improving acoustic perception

Reducing inhibitions

Learning to cooperate

Being sensitive to tone of voice

How to Play: With the help of Orff Instruments, noises made with the body, such as snapping or clapping, or verbal sounds, the players take turns "telling" the group what their mood is.


One player "says" (plays) something provocative; the other players respond by making noises to show how this statement affects them.

The players express in one sentence what their mood is. They speak with altered voices: loud, quiet, shrill, dull, high, low, fast, slow, etc.

The group leader assigns creative tasks (noise improvisations) to smaller groups of players. In a few minutes, they have invented an improvisation and present it to the other players: funeral march, wedding march, dance of joy, drum of death, drum of war, war cries, shouts of joy, love serenade, protest march, etc.

If the group has access to a CD/cassette player and music, each group takes turns finding music samples for a particular mood, and the other groups guess what the mood is.


How do noises, sounds, tones, and music influence our mood? Name songs, bands, and types of music that express aggression, love, sadness, harmony, or chaos. How easily are you influenced by the different types of music?

Name some everyday situations in which your mood is influenced by sound.

Follow-up Games

7: Mood Mail * 9: Moodscapes * 79: War Dance

Follow-up Games from 101 Life Skills Games for Children

14: Seeing with Your Ears * 38: Patty-Cake * 47: Boom Box * 61: Cry for Help * 67: Crocodile Tears * 75: Polite Wild Animals * 81: Ghosts and Travelers * 82: Vampire

9 Moodscapes

Props: Paper and pencils; dry erase board or chalkboard


Expressing moods and feelings

Getting to know each other and introducing oneself

Becoming aware of feelings

How to Play: The game leader hands out a blank sheet of paper to each player. Then she tells the story below while sketching the scene on a dry-erase board or chalkboard, with the players copying the picture as well as they can on their own papers:

"In the middle of the sheet, from left to right, runs our day's path. When people feel neither good nor bad, they walk along this path during their day's journey. The path is completely straight. It's almost a little boring to walk along it. To the very left it's morning, and when you arrive at the very right it's evening.

"Above the path, there is a meadow with fresh grass. Whoever finds the path too boring and monotonous can run through the meadow, and her mood will immediately get better. The strip above the meadow is a gentle slope with flowers. If you walk along there, you can pick flowers and watch butterflies, bees, and beetles. Above this strip it gets hilly. There are different trees, brooks, all kinds of animals, and nice hiking trails. You feel relaxed and free there.

"If you climb higher, you go beyond the tree line. The mountains become steep. The scenery is now full of variety; waterfalls are splashing, mountain lodges invite you in; you climb peaks, enjoy the view and the peacefulness. You look down into the valley and feel happy to be up here-especially when you reach a peak and enjoy the proud feeling of accomplishing something not everybody can do.

"At the very top of our picture, there is the sky with clouds and birds. When we are up there, it's like a beautiful dream. Detached from the earth, we sit on top of a cloud and float along. Our freedom is boundless, all duties and worries far away-we are very happy.


Excerpted from 101 More Life Skills Games FOR Children by Bernie Badegruber Copyright © 2006 by VERITAS-VERLAG Linz. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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