We’ve been talking a lot about TALKING about personal space with kids this week. Using real world application is a great way for kids to learn how to respect the personal space of others and work on protecting their own personal space. Of course a little low pressure, intentional, playful learning will always help drive home an important topic. (These kid activities would also work well as a way to get the conversation started.)
Finding activities that were designed for teaching personal space was tricky. I’ve searched out a list of kid activities that can be modified and used as personal space activities. If you have some others in mind please add them in the comments.
Personal Space Activities for Kids – Learn About Our Body
When kids feel comfortable with their bodies, understand their bodies and can identify parts of their body it will make defining and defending their personal space easier. Saying, “Your hand is really close to my face, will you back up a bit.” will be much easier if they know what a hand and face are. 🙂 The following activities are pretty similar. Look through them all and see which one will work best for your family. (Or mix and match ideas!)
- Head Shoulders Knees and Toes Post-Its – Lets Lasso the Moon
- All About Me Bones – A Mom with a Lesson Plan
- Dem Bones Human Skeleton with Noodles – Playful Learning
- Life Size Body Art – Pink and Green Mama
- Self Portraits for Kids – Hands On: As We Grow
Personal Space Activities for Kids – Study Body Language
Reading body language plays a HUGE part in personal space and it can be a pretty difficult subject to teach. I’ve compiled a few ideas and added tips on how to use them to start practicing the art of understanding body language.
- Emotional Animals Game – How Sweeter It Is. This game is fantastic! And simple (we love simple right?) If you don’t want to make blocks, just tape the words onto dice. Each time your little one works to figure out how to show an emotion they are putting conscious effort into learning about body language (and having fun at the same time).
- Funny body parts – Playing and Learning Begins at Home. This silly game would be a great way to start looking at body language in pictures. Try to provide pictures that show real emotion. Ask your kids to design an angry person, an excited person, and a sad person. Talk about how they can tell the person is feeling that way. Is it their eyes? Or maybe the position of their hands?
- Pipe Cleaner People – Use Your Coloured Pencils. I found a few different versions of pipe cleaner people, this one really spoke to me as a way to show body language. It would make a really fun personal space activity. Start by forming 3 or 4 people. Give their bodies dramatic language. Ask you kids to find the person who is excited, sad, uncomfortable. Have them position the people as though in a story. This guy is too close, so she looks uncomfortable.
- Simple Stop Action – Inner Child Fun. Once you have the pipe cleaner people made you can add even more personal space practice by creating a simple stop action movie that they can watch again and again!
- Signs of Emotion Printable – Love To Know Autism. This link takes you to a printable facial expression decoding activity.
Personal Space Activities for Kids – Practice Communication
When kids are learning about personal space they be able to communicate what they want and need. They must also be able to hear the needs and wants of others. These activities are great ways to practice communicating.
- Promoting Communication with Pretend Play – Teach Preschool
- Simon Says Drawing – The Artful Parent
- Conversation Starters – Creative with Kids
- Paper Plate Emotions – No Time for Flash Cards
- Establish a Chatting Spot – Modern Parents Messy Kids
Personal Space Activities for Kids – Play with Space
This list of games and activities allows you to experiment with the personal space in a fun way. Make sure that while you are playing you pay attention to body language and practice communicating how it feels to have someone in that space.
- Rabbit Hole – The Inspired Tree House
- Teamwork activities – A Mom with a Lesson Plan
- Control – O – Meter – Autism Teaching Strategies
- Hip Waddle – Parenting
- Newspaper Dancing – Mrs.King Rocks
Bonus! Personal Space Books for Kids
Books are a great way to approach uncomfortable topics. I found two books that come at personal space from different angles. These are affiliate links.
- Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook shares a journey of a boy who learns strategies for respecting other peoples personal space. There is even a light bulb moment where he realizes how others might feel about him being in their space.
- Miles is the Boss of His Body by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Shiller follows a boy on his birthday. Out of love, his family touches him all day. Tossing his hair, big birthday hugs, cheek pinches and innocent tickles come from all over. In the end he tells them to stop and asks not to be touched. His family is proud of him for protecting his body. I love this message!
These 20 personal space activities for kids should get you started! Add more to the comments or just let us know which ones are working for your family.