Family Playing Board Games
Jennifer Rainey

Gifts for Building Social and Communication Skills

The holiday season is upon us once again.  Here are some fun gift ideas for games that help kids build social and communication skills that are important for their future.  Many games can be modified to your child’s needs and keep in mind that these games can all be adapted to meet various skill levels of players, so remember to play any way you like.


Guess Who:  This is a great game for working on asking and answering yes/no questions, as well as working on paying attention to facial features and expressions.  Each player has a board of 24 faces, and by asking a series of questions, players try to guess which faces their opponent has picked.  Whoever guesses their opponent’s choice first is the winner.  This game has multiple editions, but I especially love this updated version because the characters are much more diverse than in the original.  You can even take your own photographs to insert into the board for a more personalized game! 


Tall TalesTall Tales is a collaborative storytelling game with various gameplay options that allow players to work either individually or together to create imaginative stories.  Players pull story pieces from a pouch and then tell a story that must include all of their pieces.  This game is excellent for working on imagination and flexibility.  When kids are working with one another to tell a story, it gives them opportunities to create and use language while also allowing space for the thoughts and ideas of others.


Hedbanz:  This is another great game for working on asking and answering questions, but with a broader scope of possibilities than Guess Who?.  In the game of Hedbanz, players wear headbands that hold a card with a picture of an object, food, animal, etc., and then have to ask other players yes/no questions to try to determine what picture is on their head. The game comes with a timer, but if your child struggles to communicate in a fast manner, you can leave out that aspect of the game. 


LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set:  This was one of my son’s absolute favorite toys when he was little, so it has a special place in my heart!  It’s a perfect gift for a younger child or even for someone who may be a little older than the recommended age if they still need some help with phonics.  The letter set teaches the names of the letters and the sounds that they make with fun songs that make them easy to remember (I can still sing them, and my son probably hasn’t played with this for almost ten years). It even comes with three pieces that can be personalized with family photographs!  The other reason I really love this toy is that it can help lay the foundation for reading and spelling, which are particularly critical skills for children like my son, who rely on spelling or typing for fluent communication.


Feed the Woozle:  Even the name of this game is fun!  As seen in the picture below, the Woozle is awfully hungry! Feed the Woozle has multiple levels of gameplay, one of which requires one player to wear a blindfold while another player gives him/her spoken directions on how to get from where they are standing to where the Woozle is waiting to be fed.  Listening to and following the directions of another player allows players to work together to give each other directions to feed the woozle. This game helps to build listening and expressive communication skills.  See more ideas for using this game by clicking here.  


What Do You Meme? This game is excellent for those who struggle with perspective taking and/or reading facial expressions.  This activity could be a fun way to draw attention to people’s faces because it requires the player to look at faces and guess what they might be thinking or feeling. In addition, adding a bit of humor to games can help make working on social skills fun and exciting. 



Jennifer is an autism mom on a mission to help my son reach his full potential, to find joy in the journey, and to help other parents do the same!  She also written an informative article on sensory-friendly gifts.  Have a conversation with Jennnifer by visiting her personal page.

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