Because social skills/friendship groups are the most common small groups we do, we’re always looking for awesome interventions for sessions. Games of course, are a hit with both us and the kiddos. More often than not, we’re more successful just adapting regular board games to fit our needs, but sometimes “therapeutic” games can be great as well. I wrote here about Socially Speaking as one that I thought was worth the money.
Journey to Friendship Island is a game I would consider a win as well – though its $50 price tag is a bit hefty. Some of my thoughts/comments:
- It’s touted as a 15 minute game, but I don’t know how it can be played meaningfully in less than 20. The last two times I played was with 4 players and we had 25 minutes…and we didn’t “finish” (that is to say, no one reached the end). It’s not overly lengthy, but realistically 15 minutes is never gonna happen.
- It’s meant to tackle 5 different skills: conversing with others, using humor
appropriately, dealing with conflict, joining and participating in
group, and showing fairness and respect to others. There is a set of discussion/task cards for each skill and the idea is to pick one set to focus on for each game.
- I went through all of the cards before playing and took out the ones that weren’t a fit for my population/needs. To be honest, I probably only kept 1/3 of them. The ones left I really do like though.
- The playing pieces are cars which the boys love. They definitely all feel like it’s still a “game” and not just an “activity” (an important distinction to my students!).
- The game does a nice job of balancing skill with chance. This means we get to really work on social skills as specified in the game but also things like sportsmanship, turn taking, and patience.
- The “resolving conflict” cards are unfortunately really heavy on fairness and disagreements as opposed to the types of conflict my students have more difficulty with (sharing, taking turns, people being mean, etc.)
- I use this most often with 3rd grade but I think it would be appropriate for 2nd-4th grade and could be adapted for 1st and 5th as well depending on the population.
Here are some pictures I took to show more detail and give some examples of the task/discussion cards included (of the ones I kept):