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Taking Turns

Materials Required:

  • 2 puppets
  • Crocodile Dentist game for the puppet show
  • puppet theatre (optional)
  • visual schedule outlining the schedule for this session
  • rules board
  • crayons, markers or pencils (one per child)
  • scissors (one per child or enough for children to share)
  • glue (one per child or enough for children to share)
  • art activity sheets for “Taking Turns” (one per child)
  • “What I did in Social Skills Group” worksheets (one per child)
  • “Taking Turns” story books (one per child)


    1. Review the plan for today’s session by showing the children the visual schedule.
      • When reviewing the schedule, point to and name the pictures in order (e.g., first we will sing hello, have a puppet show, etc).
      • You may consider removing each picture as the activity is completed. You can create a pocket at the bottom/end of the schedule that represents “finished” or “all done”.
      • Place the schedule in a visible and accessible place where it can be referred to throughout the session.

Visual Schedule Pictures

    1. Each session begins with a song that welcomes all the children and teachers to the group. Here are a few suggestions:
      • Sing “Hello (child’s name), hello (child’s name), hello (child’s name), so glad you came today”. Repeat until everyone in the group has been greeted. Encourage the children to join in by waving hello and singing along.
      • If age appropriate, create name cards/tags for each child and teacher. Hold up each card while singing the “Hello Song” above. After singing the child’s name give them the name card to hold. Once the song is finished, ask the children to put their name cards behind them. The children can use the name cards later in the session when completing the worksheet.
      • You may also choose to use a “hello” or “welcome” song that you currently sing in your classroom.
    2. A rules board or a positive behaviour chart can help to provide a clear and consistent description of rules and expectations for the session. Decide on the main rules that will help the session run smoothly and help the children be successful in their learning. In our sample board, the rules are: raise your hand for a turn to speak, one person talks at a time, listen to others, sit on the carpet, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and have fun!Review the rules during each session. Have the children look at the rules, point to them and label them. Place the rules board in a visible and accessible place where it can be referred to during the session.

Group Time Rules

    1. OPTIONAL: Review the skill from last session. Ask the children if they remember what they learned in the previous social skills session. Can they recall the steps involved?For example, the previous skill was “Asking a friend to Play” and the steps are:
      • First, I pick a game or activity.
      • I walk towards my friend.
      • I can say their name.
      • I can tap them gently on the shoulder.
      • I can ask my friend to play.
    2. The puppet shows that you will be performing help to demonstrate the concept or skill for this session. At this time, you will be performing the ‘Appropriate Script’ which models the steps involved in turn taking.After the puppet show, have a brief discussion with the children about what they saw. Here are some sample questions you may want to ask:
      • What game are Mona and Jerome playing?
      • What did Mona do while it was Jerome’s turn? (She waited and watched Jerome take his turn.)

Puppet show script: Taking Turns

    1. At this point, you can introduce the social skill for this session by showing the steps involved in how to take turns when playing a game. Refer to the “Step by Step Visuals” and show them to the children.
      • My friend and I are playing a game.
      • My friend takes a turn.
      • I wait and watch my friend.
      • When my friend is finished, I take my turn.
      • We take turns until the game is all done.

      We recommend keeping these visuals out so the children can refer to them during the puppet show that follows. For example, place them on the floor in the middle of the circle for all the children to see.

Step by step: Taking Turns

    1. The second puppet show that you will be performing is a scenario where one of the puppets does not follow the suggested steps for ‘turn taking’. At this time, you will perform the ‘Inappropriate Script’ for turn taking.After the puppet show, have a brief discussion with the children about what they saw. Here are some sample questions you may want to ask the children:
      • What game did Mona and Jerome play?
      • Did Jerome wait for his turn? (No, he grabbed the sword from Mona.)
      • What did Jerome do next? (He tries to pull himself away from Mona.)
      • What was Mona trying to tell Jerome? (That Jerome already had a turn and it was now Mona’s turn to play.)
      • How do think Mona was feeling?
      • How do you think Jerome was feeling?
    2. The story helps to reinforce the steps and desired responses about ‘turn taking’. Read the story to the children. Let them know they will receive a copy of the story to look at later and/or to take home.

Book: Taking Turns

    1. Here is a chance for the children to practice turn taking in a small group setting. Divide the children and teachers into equal groups (e.g., 2 teachers with 5 children each). Provide each group with one game to play. Here are a few examples: Crocodile Dentist, Honey Bee Tree, Hungry Hippos, and Pop up Pirate.
    2. OPTIONAL: The art activity focuses on the sequence of steps involved in turn taking when playing a game. You can include this activity as part of the session or use it as a follow up activity to be completed another day.Please refer to the Art Activity sheets.

Art activity: Taking Turns

    1. Distribute the “What I did at Social Skills Group” worksheets to each child along with a marker, crayon or pencil. Once the children have all the materials, review the worksheet and point out what needs to be completed in each section.For example,


      a) Point to the title box and read this to the children.

      b) Ask the children to write their name on this line (point to the line at the top of the paper).

      c) Review the pictures in the “Group time activities” section by pointing to the each picture as you label it. Ask the children to circle the activities from this session.

      d) Here, ask the children to write the name of at least one other child they played or interacted with during the session.

      e) Have the children identify how they were feeling during today’s group session.

      * If you are using name cards or tags, ask the children to place them on the floor in front of them. The name cards can be used to help children to complete the worksheets by writing their own name, and the name(s) of a friend they played with during the session.

      Once the worksheets have been completed, collect the writing materials and ask the children to place the worksheets in front of them. Let the children know they can take the worksheets home to share with their family and friends.

Worksheet: Taking Turns

  1. Distribute “Taking Turns” books to each child. Let the children know that they can bring the story home to read with their parent(s), family and friends.You may want to include a copy of the story at the book centre in your classroom.
  2. Sing a goodbye song to conclude the social skills session.
    • Sing “Goodbye (child’s name), goodbye (child’s name), goodbye (child’s name), so glad you came today”. Repeat until everyone in the group has been greeted. Encourage the children to join in by waving goodbye and singing along.

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