5 Ways to Use Dominoes in School Counseling

Read Time:  min |  Counseling

Who loves dominoes? No, I don’t mean the pizza but the traditional game with black dots on white rectangular game pieces. For the price of a box of pizza, you can use dominoes in school counseling in these 5 creative ways.


Flip dominoes upside down and have students choose one. Then they count the total number of dots to determine what question they will answer. It’s fun, easy, and incorporates math. It’s a 3-way win!

Cooperative Domino Line-Up

I’ve used this with kids of all ages to learn how to work together, manage frustration, and take turns. With younger kids, I like to do this activity in smaller groups either during a lesson or group counseling. With older children, it’s more challenging to make the dominoes line up as a whole group.

The purpose is to make a line of standing dominoes. Each student receives 3 dominoes and lines them up one at a time. Sounds simple, but dominos knock down easily.

It’s important to process this activity afterward and ask those essential questions such as:

How did you encourage your teammates when the dominoes fell down?

What did you do to manage your frustration and still show cooperation?

If this was a test on perseverance and friendship, how did you do?


Use dominoes as a counseling metaphor. Have the student line up a few dominoes or watch one of those cool YouTube clips that shows thousands of dominoes falling down by a simple nudge. Explain that when people make the wrong choice, such as lying, it leads to more lies. Metaphors that children can experience themselves are far more powerful than simply explaining the ripple effect of an action.


dominoes knocked downDominoes also a great way to teach the metaphor of resilience. I love to tell my kiddos that when you get knocked down, get back up!  Spread out the dominoes leaving the blank side up. Ask students to guess what number is on the other side. After a few trials explain that we can look at people and make judgments but we really don’t know just by looking.


Teach kindness and the effect that one person can have in creating a “domino effect” of compassionate actions or words by writing kind messages on the plain backside of the domino. Use thin erasable markers so you can do it time and time again.

Social Skills

For this one, I created my own game that you can print and laminate. I replaced the dots with pictures that demonstrate 7 different ways to be friendly. It’s called Dominoes: Game and Mini Lesson on How to Be Friendly. Students get to engage in gameplay while practicing the actions shown on the game pieces.

social skills dominoes

How do you use dominoes in school counseling?

Try these ideas to see your students “fall over” with excitement!

Other ways to use materials you already have in your office.