What are They Thinking?

Our 3rd and 4th grade Social Adventures group is made up of kids who have great difficulty thinking flexibly. Their tempers flare if they feel contradicted or challenged or misunderstood. Once we start down that road, there is no going back. Sometimes the kids enter group in an I-am- mad-at-my-friends-for-not-thinking-like-me mood and it makes for a problematic session.

This week we started the group by giving each child a picture from a magazine. The pictures were a little absurd. Each student went to a different corner of the room with their picture, a blank piece of paper and a pencil. They were instructed to answer the following 3 questions:

1. What’s happening in the picture?
2. What is the person doing?
3. What could the person be thinking?

After about 5 minutes, the students returned to the group and shared their pictures and thoughts. The silliness of the pictures brought smiles and laughter along with stimulating conversation about what “could” be happening in the picture, and what the person “might” be doing or thinking.

The group session continued much more smoothly after that little exercise. It seems that having the opportunity to do a perspective-taking activity alone without the stress of watching and listening to peers while trying to form their own opinions, decreased anxiety and allowed the kids to ultimately be more open to one another. Or, it could just have been a fluke. We’ll try it again next week and see what happens!

submitted by: Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

*Like the ideas in this post? Check out the Social Adventures App for more activities for children.

Photo by: Hartwig HKD 

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