How Do Dinosaurs...Social Skills Game (with free printable!)

Books become even better when you pair them with fun activities!  See what we did to go along with this month's Monthly Crafting How Do Dinosaurs... Book Club selections!

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My bloggy pal Hilary over at Raising Fairies and Knights started a fun Monthly Crafting Book Club - a challenge to create activities to go along with some of the most beloved children's books.

We had some great fun last year (see links at the end) and have continued the fun this year:

January - Ladybug Girl Addition Bugs
February - Giraffes Can't Dance Roll-a-Dance Die

This month, we're focusing on some books we don't own, but have gotten plenty of from the library, the How Do Dinosaurs series:

These books cover a range of topics, from how dinos do certain tasks to how they show different emotions, but in each one, a basic formula is followed.

The first half of the books show page after page of all sorts of crazy ways not to act.

Then the rest of the pages illustrate all the good decisions one can make in a certain situation.

It's the classic trick of making the most ridiculous non-examples possible, then contrasting those with the correct choices and actions.

Information is retained so much better when kids are engaged and interested and there's pretty much no better way to turn on the fun than with a bunch of goofy dinosaurs!

Because these books reminded me so much of social skill lessons we'd work on in the classroom, I decided to turn this activity into a social skills game.

Just download and print out the free printable I created. It's nothing fancy, but that's because you just need the ideas to get started - the fun comes from all the dramatic acting-out of each paper's topic.

Cut each "How do you" question into strips, then fold these up and stick them all into a box, bag, or whatever container you can come up with for your game.

We just shoved our paper strips into a little wooden index-card box, but any container will do!

You'll take the first turn, so you can model how to play the game.

Say you draw "How do you say hello?" You'll read it out loud, then demonstrate the most ridiculous and rude ways you can think of to say hello.

Remember, the more ridiculous, the better, so really go all out with this.

Once you've exhausted your craziness on the subject, say something like, "Oh, no! Those aren't the ways to say hello. The way to say hello is..." and then proceed to show all the proper steps to do this.

Use props (like stuffed animals, or puppets, or heck, even your own kid!) if you can. Remember that the true point of this game is to teach your child the proper way to act in different situations.

Gv demonstrating a ridiculous way to eat!

Now your child draws a game paper. Chances are, he won't have any problem coming up with the ridiculous non-examples, but be prepared to give a few hints when the time comes for the proper way to do things.

How to show concern for a friend...

Teaching tip: Don't be too hasty to jump in and give your child all the answers. Give it a few minutes and see what strategies she can uncover and demonstrate, all on her own.

I would have stopped at the prior picture, just checking to see if your friend is okay, but Gv went through this whole compassionate scenario all on her own, ending with a truly heartfelt hug!

This is a great game to use at home, in the classroom, in guidance groups, at a co-op, basically anywhere there are kids!

I've given you tons of examples to work through in these printables, but it's a snap to make up your own unique scenarios tailored to the issues your child is dealing with, too.

You don't even need a printer, just jot down your "How do"s on a paper by hand!

(This could even be used with teenagers - sure, they might roll their eyes and have zero desire to act anything out, but you could still use this game for conversation starters!)

So pull out this simple game anytime you need a little boost of character training in your house. Hear a few siblings arguing in the background right now? Try this game to help solve the problem!

I love coming up with book connections like these, how about you?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Check out the other amazing crafts that my fellow bloggers came up with for this month.

Come back next month and see what crafts and activities we come up with for the classic book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Join our Facebook Group HERE to participate.

Want to see all the great book activities from last year? Just check these out:

January Animal Action Dice Game for the book Barnyard Dance
February Cause & Effect Box for If You Give a Moose a Muffin
March - an alphabetical scavenger hunt for Dr. Seuss's ABC.
April handwashing fun to go along with The Piggy in the Puddle
May 5 Little Monkeys Fold 'Em Up for Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
June pinecone princess & Cozy Sweater Warrior Paper Dolls for The Princess and the Pony
July - lantern craft for Curious George Goes Camping
August - mini backpacks & dress-a-doll fun for Froggy Goes to School
September - pumpkin fun for It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse!
October - monster shape-sort bags & other crafts for Have You Seen My Monster?
November - cozy paper quilt for Bear Stays Up for Christmas
December - snowflake activities for Millions of Snowflakes