Learning life skills for life

Youth ages 9–15 need skills to learn, play, get along and be creative. Life skills are important at this age.

Children ages 9–15 need to learn life skills to become successful adults. Some life skills are practical skills needed to grow and learn. Other life skills help develop social and emotional skills. All are needed as youth grow into young adults. The following tips and hints will help you teach life skills to youth at this age.

In the book “101 More Life Skills Games,” author Bernie Badegruber describes activities designed to bring awareness to not only life skills, but also life values. The focus is developing foundation skills on getting along with others, as well as to be more aware of one’s own self.

Below are a few ideas to use in developing life skills for children ages 9–15.

Mood Meter. Players sit in large circle and the leader shares what moods are and how we can handle them. At the beep, all players either stand up tall, stay sitting in their chairs, stand on their chairs or sit on the floor, depending on how “high” their mood is. Kids can guess each other’s moods. The leader can ask reflection questions regarding their mood choices. This game touches on getting acquainted, expressing moods, feelings and talking.

Cooperation games such as Birthday Present gets kids to learn to cooperate, become integrated into the group and strengthen relational ships. Colored pencils, markers and paper are needed. First ask if it is anyone’s birthday. In groups of four, the players have half an hour to think about a gift for the person whose special day it is. The birthday child gets to go spend some quiet time while the groups of children work on a present such as a poem, group drawing, speech, birthday song, or read a story. When everyone has shared their gift, reflect on how the child felt.

Other activities in “101 More Life Skills Games” cover simulation games, social role play games and “we, you and I” games.

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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