In the world of text messaging, social media and other forms of online communication, it’s easy to forget the importance of interacting face-to-face with others. And unfortunately, many children and youth today struggle making friends, understanding conversations or behaving appropriately in group situations. Or, in other words, they lack good interpersonal communication skills.
Put simply, interpersonal communication is an exchange of information, feelings and meaning between two or more people. This includes both verbal and non-verbal messages.
Good interpersonal skills are necessary to effectively build strong, healthy relationships in person. They also help with understanding and expressing feelings, resolving conflict and working well with others. Overall, these skills can strengthen students’ ability to interact in a prosocial and healthy way.
With cooperative play, students learn how to communicate and get along with others to accomplish a common goal. In this activity, students will be able to demonstrate their ability to use interpersonal communication skills to successfully carry out specific tasks.
- One or two of the following items (about 15 would be suitable):
- Two hula hoops
- In the center of the activity area, place one hula hoop and fill it with all of the items. Have about half of the students make a tight standing circle facing the center.
- Have the remaining students form a circle around the first group, facing outward. Place the second hoop on the floor outside the second circle.
- Pick one player from the first circle and one from the second circle to denote the start and the finish.
- The object of the game is to move all the items from the center hoop to the outside hoop, touching every student in the room in the process. The item is passed to each person in the inside circle; once it gets back to the start person, he or she passes it to the outside circle.
- The students in the outside circle pass the item all around until it reaches the end person.
- If anyone in any circle drops the object, it must be returned to the center hoop. If successful, the item is put into the outside hoop.
- The activity continues until all the items are passed from the inside out.
- This can be a timed event or it can be done at the pace set by the participants. For example, how many items can the group pass around in four minutes, or how long does it take to pass all the items around?
Wrap up the activity by discussing cooperation, speed versus accuracy, shared responsibility and so on. The ultimate goal is to encourage students to communicate effectively with each other in order to build a winning strategy.