Occupational Therapist Barbara Sher’s book, Self-esteem Games, features many chant and song games that create a friendly atmosphere to help your special needs child share about himself. Such games engage the intuition. and allows a player to think of what he wants to share about himself between each chant or song. But, being non-verbal will not deter your child from participating in any of these games.
While many of us crave for friendship and meaningful family relationships, it is not always easy to allow others know who we are. It takes courage. Your child may need to step out of his comfort zone. He might feel vulnerable or misunderstood at times.
But, in a safe and nurturing environment, he can meet people who care about him and are sincerely interested in his hobbies, interests, and dreams. If your child has sensory issues or difficulty grasping concepts, find creative ways to help him to connect with others.
Game 1 – I’ve Got a Rhythm Inside of Me
- Goal: Let others know you through the language of music and rhythm
- Benefit: Growing knowledge of each other and a shared resonance
- Material(s): An object that can act as a drum e.g. pot or pail
- Chant: “I’ve got rhythm inside of me…that goes something like this…”
- Repeat the chant together with your child or in a group.
- Take the lead by pounding out a rhythm on the floor or on an inverted pail
- Get your child or any other group member to imitate you
- Take turns pounding out a rhythm and imitating each other
- For variation, use a tambourine
The rhythms we choose may reflect our mood, temperament or energy level. Sharing the rhythm and having someone imitate it can be a bonding experience.
Game 2 – What are the Things You Like to Do?
- Goal: Share about what you like through mime and action
- Benefit: Allowing others to know what brings you joy
- Material(s): Nil
- Sing the following lyrics to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb: “What are the things you like to do? …like to do?…like to do? What are the things you like to do? Won’t you show us now?”
- Take turns to mime the action e.g. gardening
- Guess the action
Self-esteem Games by Barbara Sher is available in Singapore’s Public Libraries.
Sher, B. (1998) Self-esteem Games -300 fun activities that make children feel good about themselves, Jossey-Bass, Wiley, San Francisco, USA, page 5-6, 124, 127
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