How to Improve Social Skills Using Pranks

Pranks are a great way to improve social perspective-taking skills!

Did you know that you can improve social perspective-taking skills using pranks your students will love? We may not like to be on the receiving end of pranks, but they sure are fun to watch! This sets up a perfect opportunity to discuss how people’s perspectives of pranks can be different. One kid might find it hysterical to walk into a hanging spider, while another child with a fear of spiders might be terrified. 

2 common pranks- wearing a disguise and drawing on a sleeping person's face

Another social skill that can be reinforced using pranks is judging the impact your actions have on others, or thinking before you act. So, let’s get started!

You can have a lot of fun talking about April Fool’s Day pranks since this is the perfect time for it. But nothing stops you from using this theme any time of year. If you are lucky, a trip to Target or the Dollar store in April will provide you with some toy pranks to try out, too. Look for things like:

  • chattering teeth
  • a moustache disguise
  • a toy wind-up mouse
  • a whoopie cushion
  • an exploding can
  • a watering flower
  • fake dog poop
  • a toy spider

Introduce the Pranks

If you don’t want to use actual prank items, use pictures of them instead. Start with showing your students one of the pranks and have them think about who in the group (or class) might like this trick. Dry erase boards are an engaging way to have students do this. Then, at the bottom, they write ‘how they would feel about it. Simple ways to show the perspectives include thumbs up/down, happy/sad emojis, or yes/no.

When the students show each other their answers, it provides opportunities to see who made an accurate prediction of someone’s reaction. Let them explain how they figured that out. Then, compare/contrast the different perspectives in the group.

4 questions to ask about playing pranks

Foster a discussion of whether a joke is funny or harmful using these questions about the actual items or your pictures of pranks.

  1. Is the prank hurting anyone? (physically or emotionally)
  2. Did the person who was playing the joke have any way to know ahead of time how the other person would react?
  3. If it ended up being hurtful by accident, what should they do?
  4. Who should have the biggest part of the decision in the end whether a joke is funny- the person playing the prank or the person being pranked?

Conclude by having your kids discuss which pranks could be okay to try out in the group, applying their perspective-taking skills from the discussions. Let them explain why some of the gags that they think are funny would not be appropriate to use with these particular friends.

Social Perspective-Taking Skills FREEBIE

Have you ever wondered what is inside the blog free page? Exclusive freebies, of course! They change from month to month, but my sign-up freebies are always available there. Sign up now to get this free mini set to try out perspective taking skills with pranks.

cover showing the pages in the free download

Perspective Taking with Pranks

Sounds like fun! Count me in!

Fingers crossed! It is processing!

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Using Books About Pranks

Books are a great way to build social perspective-taking skills. Or any skill, for that matter! This post gives tips about how to incorporate books and literacy skills in speech/language therapy.

Consider using read-aloud stories on YouTube. It can save you some shopping time and money. And it has the added benefit of providing a change of pace as well. The books below are found on YouTube.

“April Foolishness” by Teresa Bateman is a very cute story for younger kids. The plot involves grandma and the grandkids playing an April Fool’s trick on Grandpa at the farm.

“April Fool!” by Harriet Ziefert is a quick easy reader. In it, a boy named Will plays a trick on his friends by telling a story about seeing an elephant on the way to school.

“April Fool” is read aloud by Evelyn Winters, the author, complete with a British accent. It is an animated story about a boy named Caiden who loves to prank his family. But his family members don’t think it is as funny as Caiden does.

So, have a little fun and try out some harmless pranks to build social perspective taking skills!

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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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