One of the most important skills we often try to teach children is turn-taking, and the ‘talking ball’ is quite the wonder tool to help with that!
I have been using the ‘talking ball’ with groups of children, adolescents, and yes, even adults, and it has turned out to be a very effective tool. How it works is that the group knows, right from day one, that the ground rule for talking in our group is to have the ‘talking ball’ in your hand. Only the one who has the ‘talking ball’ is allowed to speak at any given moment, and if you wish to add or comment on what someone else has just said, you simply ask for the ball before making your comment.
You will be amazed to see how well and how quickly children take to this simple rule. Within the first few sessions, I have had kids reminding each other, and me, to ask for the ball if we have started talking without it. I have seen it helping my shy, meek-voiced ones to get enough time and space to speak up, and my impatient ones to learn to wait. It also serves as a wonderful fidget object for those talking as it keeps their little hands occupied, which helps them focus better.
Feel free to use it in your classroom or at home with your little ones- at dinner-table conversations, on play dates, and while playing family games. Remember to use a soft ball made of cloth or wool to avoid any injuries!