Social Interaction and Play

Social interaction skills are how we use verbal (language) and non-verbal communication.

They include:

  • Listening and taking turns
  • Using gesture and facial expression
  • Understanding the body language and facial expressions of others
  • Understanding use of touch, proximity and personal space
  • Using language appropriate to the social context, e.g. the situation and who you are communicating with
  • Conversation skills, e.g. knowing how to initiate, maintain and end a conversation, asking and answering questions
  • Friendship skills
  • Being able to recognise emotions in yourself and others and managing and expressing emotions.
  • Using voice to communicate different meanings according to its tone, intonation and volume, e.g. sarcasm.


Play is important for developing early social interaction skills including sharing, turn-taking and being aware of others.


Useful websites:

Visual timetables and schedules –

Social Skills Toolbox –

Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations

Twinkl (some free content as well as a paid subscription) –


Links to resources and activities:

Social Interaction in the Playground

Social Skills Visuals

Social Skills Games for Younger Children

Social Skills Activities for Older Children

Emotions – Games and Activities

Emotions Symbols

Imaginative Play Ideas