Kid in a bubble that represents personal space and title "Personal Space Activities for Kids"
Neurodiversity,  Social Emotional Learning,  Social Skills

21 Personal Space Activities & A Social Story Printable

Personal Space: Social Story Printable & Fun Activities. In today’s article, we will explore a variety of activities that can help kids learn about personal space. If you want to explore this topic more in-depth, you can also grab our “Personal Space Social Skills” worksheets (printable resource).

Developing a good understanding of personal space is crucial for fostering positive interactions and better social relationships.

Let’s explore fun activities and strategies to help kids grasp the concept of personal space. These resources will be helpful tools for classroom teachers, special education teachers, and parents. You can include these games and activities in your lesson plans or try them at home. 

Table of Contents

  • What is Personal Space?
  • Who Can Benefit from Learning About Personal Space?
  • How to Teach Kids About Personal Space
  • 21 Personal Space Games and Activities (including a Personal Space Social Story)
  • Other Social Skills Resources

What Is Personal Space?

Personal space refers to the area around us that we consider our own. It’s like an invisible bubble or boundary that surrounds our body.

Just like we have physical boundaries, personal space is about respecting someone’s privacy and giving them enough room to feel comfortable.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to personal space, but generally, it means not getting too close to someone unless they invite you to do so or you have their permission.

It’s important to be aware of personal space and respect it, as it helps people feel safe and secure.

Personal space and social skills are closely related. Social skills are the abilities we use to interact and communicate with others effectively and respectfully. So, respecting personal space is a very important social skill.

When we respect personal space, we demonstrate an understanding of other people’s boundaries and show that we value their comfort and privacy. It helps create a positive and comfortable environment for social interactions. By giving others the space they need, we show that we respect their autonomy and make them feel more at ease.

Personal space is a universal concept but not a fixed measure. Different people may have different views of what good personal space means.

Personal space is influenced by social rules, which are guidelines or expectations that govern how people interact with each other. These social rules help establish appropriate distances and behaviors in different social contexts.

We assess and adjust personal space according to different situations and cultural norms. For example, in some cultures, people might stand closer to each other when talking, while in others, there might be a preference for more distance. Being aware of these cultural differences and adjusting our personal space accordingly shows sensitivity and adaptability in social settings.

Additionally, respecting personal space can contribute to positive relationships with others. When we give people their space, we establish trust and foster better communication. It helps others feel more comfortable and open in our presence.

Understanding and respecting personal space is an important social skill that helps us navigate social interactions and build positive relationships with others. 

Personal Space Activities for Kids including social stories, discussion cards, role-play situations and workshheets

Who Can Benefit from Learning About Personal Space?

Personal space is a relevant and important concept that everyone needs to understand and respect.

It is particularly crucial to teach about personal space to children as they develop their social skills and navigate their interactions with others. However, people of all ages can benefit from learning about personal space and understanding its significance.

Some groups that may particularly benefit from learning about personal space are:

  1. Young Children: Teaching children about personal space helps them understand boundaries, respect others’ personal space, and develop healthy social skills.
  2. Students: In educational settings, teaching personal space can contribute to creating a positive and respectful learning environment.
  3. Individuals with special needs or learning differences: Kids and young adults with special needs (autism spectrum disorder/condition, sensory processing disorders, ADHD, developmental disabilities) may require additional support and guidance to understand and manage personal space appropriately.
  4. Newcomers or immigrants: People from different cultural backgrounds may have varying personal space norms. Teaching about personal space can help individuals adapt to social norms in their new environment.
  5. Workplace settings: Understanding personal space is important in professional environments to ensure respectful and appropriate interactions among colleagues and clients

How to Teach Kids About Personal Space

These are some tips that can help you explain about personal space and different boundaries:

1.Define personal space
Start by explaining what personal space is and why it’s important. Use simple and relatable language that children can understand. You can use examples like imaginary bubbles or hula hoops around each person to represent personal space.

2. Use visual aids
Visual aids such as drawings can help children visualize personal space and understand the concept better. You can create visuals showing different levels of personal space, from close friends and family to acquaintances and strangers.

3. Role-play and demonstrations
Engage children in role-playing activities where they can practice respecting personal space. Show them different scenarios and ask them to act out appropriate behavior, such as giving someone space in line or not standing too close while talking.

4. Set boundaries
Teach children about setting their own boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. Encourage them to communicate their needs and preferences regarding personal space, and respect the boundaries of their peers.

5. Social stories and books
Use age-appropriate social stories or books that discuss personal space. These stories can help children understand the concept in a relatable and engaging way. After reading the story, have discussions or activities to reinforce the key points.

6. Model and practice
Children learn by observing, so be a role model when it comes to respecting personal space. Show them how to give others space and respect their boundaries through your actions. Provide opportunities for children to practice respecting personal space in different social situations.

7. Reinforce positive behavior
Acknowledge and praise children when they demonstrate good understanding and respect for personal space. Positive reinforcement helps them understand that respecting personal space is important and valued.

Games and Activities to Teach About Personal Space (including a Personal Space Social Story)

Games and activities can be a fun and interactive way to teach kids about personal space. Here are some ideas:

1.Personal Space Dance
Play some music and have the children dance freely. Encourage them to move around the space while being mindful of their own personal space bubble. Remind them not to bump into others or invade their personal space. This activity helps kids develop body awareness and spatial boundaries.

2. Personal Space Freeze Dance
This is a variation of the previous activity. Randomly pause the music and shout, “Personal Space Freeze!”. When the music stops, children must freeze and maintain their personal space bubbles until the music starts again. This game reinforces the idea of respecting personal boundaries even during active play.

3. Personal Space Discussion Cards
Personal space discussion cards are a set of prompts or questions that facilitate conversations and reflections about the concept of personal space. These cards are designed to spark discussions among children, helping them explore and understand the importance of personal space, its boundaries, and how to respect them.

Examples of Personal Space Discussion Cards for Kids

4. Puppet Role-Play
Use puppets or stuffed animals to act out scenarios related to personal space. For instance, demonstrate a puppet invading another puppet’s personal space, and then have a discussion about how it made the other puppet feel. Encourage children to suggest alternative ways the puppets can interact while respecting personal space.

5. Personal Space Collage
Provide magazines, scissors, glue, and large paper or poster boards. Ask children to find pictures that represent personal space and boundaries. They can cut out images of people standing at different distances from each other or pictures that convey respect for personal space. Help them create a collage that reflects the concept of personal space.

Variation: If you want to make this activity more fun, turn it into a contest. Set a timer and have them race to find and cut out images related to personal space. Each team must create a collage that represents personal space within the time limit.

6. Personal Space Obstacle Course
Set up an obstacle course using cones, hula hoops, and other objects. Children must navigate the course while staying within their personal space boundaries. Encourage them to move carefully and avoid touching any obstacles.

7. Personal Space Charades
Write different personal space scenarios on small cards, such as “giving a high-five” or “sitting next to a friend on the bus.”

Have children take turns picking a card and acting out the scenario without using words. The other children can guess what personal space action is being portrayed.

Personal Space Role Play Situations

8. Personal Space Roll-Play
Personal space role-play involves acting out scenarios or situations that allow children to experience and understand the concept of personal space. It provides an interactive and hands-on approach for children to practice and develop their awareness of personal boundaries and respectful behavior.

9. Personal Space Yoga
Lead children through a yoga session focusing on body awareness and personal space. Incorporate poses that promote spatial boundaries, such as Tree Pose or Mountain Pose. Use verbal cues to encourage children to visualize their personal space bubble during the practice.

10. Personal Space Story Writing
Have children write short stories or draw comics about characters who learn about personal space. Encourage them to highlight situations where personal space is respected and how it affects the characters’ interactions and feelings.

11. Simon Says
Play a modified version of Simon Says where the commands involve maintaining personal space.

For example, “Simon says take one step back,” or “Simon says give yourself a big personal space hug.” This game helps reinforce the concept of personal space while adding an element of fun and following directions.

12. Personal Space Reflection Journals
Give children personal space-themed journals or notebooks. After group discussions or activities about personal space, have them reflect on their experiences, feelings, and what they have learned. Encourage them to write or draw about moments when they respected personal space or instances when their personal space was respected by others.

13. The personal space circle
Draw a circle on a big sheet of paper. The inner circle will be the intimate space (1.5 feet radius), surrounded by personal space (4 feet radius), and the area outside is the social space.

Put that paper on the floor. Take turns to role-play conversations where kids speak to each other without trespassing in the personal space target. (You may also use a string to create the circle or a hula hoop.)

14. Hula Hoop Walk
Ask kids to grab a hula hoop. They will hold the hula hoop staying in the center, and walking around the room while they enjoy some fun social interaction with their peers. This is a great way to help them visualize the abstract personal space concept.

15. Personal Space String
After discussing personal space, ask the kids what they consider a safe distance for a friend. Take a string and cut it to match that distance. Then, ask them to interact with a peer, each of them holding their end of the string close to their body. As they talk and interact, the string must stay taut to stay in their own personal space.

Personal Space Worksheets Friends Vs. Strangers

16. Personal Space Worksheets: Friends vs. Strangers
When it comes to personal space, there are notable differences between friends and strangers.

Board Games
While there might not be specific board games solely focused on teaching about personal space, you can modify existing board games to incorporate the concept. Here are a few examples:

17. Snakes and Ladders Personal Space Edition
Create a personalized version of the classic Snakes and Ladders game by adding personal space-related rules. For example, if a player lands on a space next to another player, they must move their game piece two spaces away from other players to maintain personal space. This modification helps reinforce the concept while making the game more interactive.

18. Personal Space Pictionary
Adapt the popular game Pictionary by focusing on personal space scenarios. Create cards with different personal space situations or actions that players need to draw for others to guess. This game encourages players to think creatively and promotes discussions about respecting personal space boundaries.

19. Personal Space Trivia
Create a trivia game centered around personal space knowledge. Design question cards that cover various aspects of personal space, such as appropriate distances for different settings or cultural considerations.

Players can take turns answering the questions and earn points for correct answers. This game helps enhance understanding and awareness of personal space norms.

20. Books About Personal Space

We can learn many essential life skills using a story format. And, fortunately, there are several children’s books that touch on this important topic

21. Social Skills Stories

Social stories, social scripts, or social narratives are short descriptions of a situation or event that also indicate the expected social behavior. 

These stories assist kids who struggle with reading social cues (body language, voice tone, facial expression) or with understanding commonly accepted social rules. Social narratives often include visuals to help understand/reinforce the message.

Any social situation can be transformed into a social narrative.

Check out the “Personal Space Activities for Kids“. It also includes an example of a personal space social story (two versions, presented as a story with kids’ illustrations and a blank option to include your child’s pictures)

Other Social Skills Resources

Add these activities to your teaching resources!

Personal Space Activities for Kids Printable

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