Some days I get so frustrated because my district has removed every traditional way of teaching social skills from the kinder classroom. House keeping... nope. Dramatic play... nope. Puppet theaters... nope. It makes me crazy! But I haven't totally removed all of those things... I still do retelling with "dress up" or "puppets"', only you would be hard pressed to see it if you just walked into to my room.
So what is a teacher to do when all of those wonderfully developmentally appropriate activities are removed from the classroom... well she gets creative! One of the very first group projects I do is what does the perfect friend look like or what does a bucket filler look like. We divide up into groups and each child has a job to do. One child will trace the body outline of another child. Then one child decides what the face will look like. One decides on the clothes, another on the shoes... see where we are going?
I love this activity because it "feels" like play to the children but gives me so much information on how the students interact. After we finish this activity I point out things that I noticed while walking around like "Jamal, I noticed that you didn't have the colors that you wanted to create the shoes. I wonder how your friends felt when you asked to have the crayon bucket passed to you." Usually someone from that group will raise their hand and share how they felt. I also point out different problem solving skills that the kids might already know. I made this set of cards to help the kids remember what their job is.
This is what the full set looks like. I added arms and legs because I do use these cards for other activities where the group is the "body part" and the color is the job.