These are great and fun games that give a visual reference to the personal space concept. It is important to provide opportunities for your child to practice the concept.
If you are sitting down for dinner make sure to give space to hold their hands out and show you their personal space. “Good Job, Keeping your personal space.” If they are riding in a car, give them enough space to hold their hands out and show personal space. “Good Job, Keeping your personal space.”
It is also equally as important to let your child know that when they ask for permission to enter someone else’s personal space, that sometimes it is granted and other times it is denied. You can also make this into a game so that when it is denied there is less of a chance that a tantrum will follow. The game would be similar to red light – green light. You would hold up a permission sign and the child could come in and give you a hug or hand shake, however, if you hold up a denied sign the child must go away for 5 seconds (use a timer then the child can return and ask again). While the timer is active, choose other activities to do until the timer goes off. You will increase the wait time from 5, 8, 11, 14… seconds until the child can accept being denied access to personal space and is able to redirect themselves to something else.
Here are other games that you can play to teach personal space:
Personal Space Games
- Explanation of personal space – A person’s invisible space that gives them room to move without injuring themselves or others.
- Have individual stand with arms out. Have another individual take string and make a circle around the child. Continue until all individuals involved have a circle around them.
Play the following games within their personal space circles:
Charades: Each player will pull a card out of the bag and act it out for the other to guess. The player that guesses correctly keeps the card. At the end, the player with the most cards should receive a preferred reinforcement or prize.
Bulls Eye: Blind fold the individuals and turn them around. Point them in the direction of the circle and let them walk until they think they are in the personal space circle. The person coming closest to the personal space circle wins. Again, the winner should receive reinforcement.
Musical Space: Remove 1 of the circles of string before starting. The individuals will stand outside the remaining circles with a ball in their hand. When the music starts they must walk around the circles until the music stops. Once the music stops the individuals must try and put their ball in the personal space. Repeat until someone wins.