Goal: To improve initial social skills
Objective(s): The student will be able to choose something to play with and make it something else using his/her imagination.
1. Decide if you want to play.
2. Decide what you want to play.
3. Look for materials to play with.
4. Pretend the materials are something else (use your imagination).
5. Use the pretend materials for play.
Definition: Symbolic play is playing something that is meaningful to you (i.e. playing with stuffed animals if you love animals).
Rationale: Ask students why it is important to only play things/games they are comfortable with.
Talk about how people can pretend to be different characters when playing.
Set the stage:
Use pictures of adults (family members, community helpers) to elicit ideas of some actions these people perform.
Model/Role-Play with Feedback
Have students build a variety of toys from LEGO blocks, then exchange with each other to see if they imagine the same toy.
Provide centers for symbolic play within the classroom: play kitchen, block area, workbench, sensory table with water/dirt/sand, grocery store, racetrack/cars, baby doll nursery, dressing room/costumes. Allow for play in these centers, eliciting suggestions from students and providing guidance as needed.
Application with Feedback
Students perform short skit for another class or parental group.
Continue symbolic play in classroom centers, changing centers or props as necessary to keep students' interest.
Students plan and carry our "impersonations" of celebrities from sports, music, TV, and movies.
During show and tell, students report on play activities at home.
Coordinate props in classroom centers with weekly/monthly themes from instructional units.
Social Skills Curriculum Guide, 1992
Special School District of St. Louis County