Secret Messages

Inside: A fun arts and crafts activity to do with a social skills group. This is a great way to start a discussion hidden social rules.

Doing arts and crafts with social skills groups is awesome because it's fun but it’s also a playful way to teach. This lesson is all about about picking up on clues. This activity allows kids to write a secret message and reveal it. I’ve used this activity in social groups to talk about hidden messages or hidden rules. It’s always a hit, plus it’s also relaxing to paint with watercolors.

Materials Needed:

  • White crayons

  • White paper

  • Watercolors

How to play:

The kids can use the white crayons on the white paper to write secret messages to each other. To reveal the messages, have them use the watercolor paints, and paint over the white paper where the message is written. The message should appear once the paint is applied to the paper. They can do it over and over again for tons of fun!

Another way to play:

  • Have kids write compliments to another group member and give it to them to reveal.

  • Use lemon juice to write messages and heat it over a light bulb to reveal the message.

Then you can extend the learning by having a group discussion.

Questions:

  • How did you come up with your secret message?

  • Are there any messages you wish you could give you a friend?

  • Or messages you wish you could give to a family member?

You can also make the connection between the activity you just did and hidden rules. You can start by explaining that in life, there are social rules that are explicitly stated in places, like “No running in the halls” or “Use respectful language”. But then there are those rules which aren’t explicitly stated, like that the elevator is off limits or how kids clean up after lunch and go out to recess (they first clear the tables, then stack the chairs, then are called by table to line up and go outside). It’s an important social skill that kids not only learn and understand the explicit rules, but also those rules that are part of the “hidden” curriculum. And you can ask about what hidden rules are there in school or at home.

This activity is part of the Social Skills for Kids Book. To get more ideas for playful ways to work on social skills, take a look at this!

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