12 Fun Social Development Activities for Kids age 1-5 Years

Last Updated on November 25, 2022 by ClassMonitor

It is vital for kids to learn and develop fundamental social skills from their infancy and pre-school years, as these skills will not only improve their behavior and help them in interacting with others around them but also help them discover and strengthen their own sense of identity.

Social development at the age of 1-5 years will go a long way in deciding a kid’s overall well-being and happiness throughout his or her life. Hence, here are some fun social development activities for your kid(s) to help him/her learn and blossom important social skills.

Why are Social Skills important for early childhood?

Just like academics, healthy social skills will tremendously benefit a preschooler well into his/her school and future work life.


As kids develop social skills in this stage of their life, they become more self-sufficient and independent, being able to perform basic life functions such as feeding and dressing by themselves, cooperating with others, learning how to behave, and much more. They explore and engage more with their surroundings, thus broadening the horizons of their comfort zone and grasping who they are in the process.

Inadequate social development can lead to a child being heavily dependent on his/her guardians, struggling to interact with other children and control his/her impulses, getting easily stressed under pressure, and potentially developing fear and anxiety issues.

What Social Skills are Important for Kids?

Some of the important social skills are:-

  • Cooperation: kids should be able to work and play with others and understand the value of teamwork. They should be able to make friends in their neighbourhood, daycare or nursery and be respectful.
  • Communication: they should be able to express themselves clearly, comfortably exhibiting what emotions they feel and what they think about any particular thing or topic. They also need to develop their listening skills and be able to absorb information from their surroundings.
  • Follow instructions: kids should be able to understand and take basic tasks and directions from their parents, caretakers and teachers.
  • Manners: good manners and values go a long way in helping a kid to be likeable among his/her peers and avoid fights, scoldings etc. He/she will also portray appropriate behaviour such as in nursery, school or a friend’s home.

Social skills for 1-2 Years

  • Able to smile or cry when approached.
  • Recognize familiar people such as caretakers, extended family members etc.
  • Able to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’.
  • Imitating and reacting to actions of adults.
  • Able to identify himself/herself in front of a mirror.

Social Skills for 2-3 Years

  • Play alongside other kids.
  • Able to say simple sentences such as ‘i am hungry’.
  • ‘Pretend’ play such as dressing a doll or growling with a teddy bear.
  • Simple interactions with non-familiar people such as a shopkeeper.

Social Skills for 3-5 Years

  • Able to play with other children and form friendships.
  • Learn to cooperate such as sharing a toy.
  • Develop empathy and understand how other kids feel and how their own actions affect others.
  • Talk and express themselves to their guardians, peers and other people.
  • Seek more independence such as dressing and cleaning up by themselves.

Social development activities for preschoolers and early childhood

Social development activities for 1-2-year-olds

  • Roll the ball: take a ball and roll it towards the child on the floor. Encourage the same with another kid and let the ball roll back and forth between them. Good joint activity to develop coordination.
  • Staring contest: sit in front of your kid and stare into his/her eyes. Use a toy and keep it in front of your face to help them concentrate for longer.
  • Children books: read illustrative children books (preferably one with many expressive faces) with your toddler and point out the different emotions expressed by the characters and imitate them yourself.
  • Play dates: arrange playdates with other kids such as those of friends or relatives. Don’t force any interaction and let them be (do keep an eye on them from a distance).

Social development activities for 2-3-year-olds

  • Emotion charades: put down different emotions on strips of paper in a jar and take turns with your kid picking out and performing the random emotions (such as happiness, anger, fear etc). In a group, allow other kids to guess the emotions exhibited.
  • Feelings hop: put down pictures of faces of different expressions on the floor, call out any one of them and hop on it. Encourage kids to do the same.
  • Simple tasks: keep giving your child simple tasks such as ‘please bring me the newspaper’ or ‘pick up your toys’. Use magic words often and give positive reinforcement for doing a task successfully such as giving a hug.
  • Singing and dancing: sing songs and dance with the kids. Allow them to dance to the beats by themselves without any interruptions.

Social development activities for 3-5-year-olds

  • Role play: role playing and pretend games are a great way of developing imaginative capabilities of children and impel them to think creatively. Fantasy scenarios such as those involving swords, dragons and magic are great for role playing.
  • Board games: play table and board games with simple rules such as ‘snakes and ladders’ or scrabble. These group games invoke varying emotions in all members and help kids grasp the concept of rules and regulations.
  • Team sports: games such as football are great to develop teamwork and coordination skills alongside the obvious physical advantages. Be lax with the rules as frequent interruptions can irritate the young players.
  • Discussions: have long conversations on general and contemporary topics with your kids. Talk with a friendly tone, listen attentively to what they have to say and avoid interrupting in between.


We have identified which social skills are important for kids aged between 1 to 5 and discussed why it is essential to develop said social skills. Various social development activities for preschoolers and early childhood among different age groups were also explored, which should help your kids in developing their social skills while also having fun at the same time.

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