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Inside: Friendship activities and friendship games to help kids build healthy relationships.
Every parent and teacher knows the feeling – watching a child struggle to make friends, yearning to connect with their peers, but sometimes not quite knowing how.
Here’s the deal:
For some kids, making friends can be like navigating a huge forest with towering trees – a tad daunting.
It might feel scary or confusing, like they’re lost in the woods without a map.
They might need help figuring out where to go or what to do.
But fear not!
Just as there are ways to find your way out of a dense forest, there are ways to learn friendship skills and thrive in social situations.
So, let’s dive right in and explore some fantastic friendship activities and ideas to help your child or students make healthy friendships.
What are the Qualities of a Good Friend?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
Understanding what makes a good friend is actually one of those very important life skills that we must all learn.
Let’s face it:
Discovering a truly terrific friend isn’t always a piece of cake.
A great friend:
- is like a trusty co-pilot on a grand adventure, always by your side and ready to explore the world with you.
- listens and understands like a favorite stuffed animal who knows how you feel.
- provides a safe space, like a sturdy treehouse, where you can play, laugh, and share secrets. There’s no peer pressure or unrealistic expectations with a great friend.
- is like planting seeds in a garden – with time, it grows into something beautiful and full of life.
- a reliable teammate on a sports field, always ready to pass the ball and cheer you on. They’re like that perfect puzzle piece, fitting seamlessly into your life.
We all want good friends, so it’s only fair that we strive to be good friends to others.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
Building relationships is one of the MOST important skills that we can learn!
Friendship Activities Kit
That’s why we created an awesome unit that contains the PERFECT friendship activities for preschoolers and kindergarteners! These lessons on building friendships help kids rock social and emotional learning.
How Friendship Activities Can Help!
Meeting new friends should be an enjoyable experience. But we get it, different social situations can feel overwhelming for some kids.
When young children have strong social skills, it can make building close friendships much easier.
But strong social skills just don’t come naturally for everyone.
That’s why we sometimes need to help and guide our young learners on the art of making friends.
One effective way to foster friendships is through engaging friendship activities.
Activities help kids connect and bond, much like sharing a fun adventure.
These experiences provide a common ground for children to interact, learn, and grow.
20 Fun Friendship Activities Young Kids
If you are a parent, teacher, or even counselor who needs some help teaching kids how to be a good friend and make friends with others, we’ve got the perfect friendship activities for you!
Let’s get started on this jumbo list of friendship-building activities:
Create Friendship Bracelets
Crafting colorful friendship bracelets is a hands-on way for kids to explore the bonds of friendship.
As they weave the threads together, discuss qualities that make friendships strong.
Make Friendship Flowers
Crafting paper or fabric flowers allows kids to express the qualities of good friends on each petal. Or, like our friendship flower craft below, kids can glue a special message onto their flowers and give it to someone special.
This creative friendship craft reinforces kindness, trust, and more.
See our relationships unit in action (with our friendship flowers!)
Read A Friendship Social Story
Dive into a heartwarming social story that emphasizes essential friendship values. It’s a great conversation starter for discussing what makes a good friend.
Our social story, found in the Friendship Kit, is called the Friendship Formula. It takes you on a journey through various everyday situations that kids might face at school, offering practical solutions. Kids can totally relate because they step into these scenarios, helping them learn how to handle similar situations when they come their way.
Design a Friendship Safe Friends Poster
Get artistic and design a poster showcasing what it means to be a good friend. This visual reminder helps kids recognize and practice friendship qualities.
Create a Friendship Collage
Building a collage from magazine clippings reinforces qualities like empathy, sharing, and cooperation. It’s a fun way to explore what makes a great friend.
Friendship Bingo Game
Play a lively game of Bingo using qualities such as “kind,” “helpful,” and “trustworthy.” It’s an enjoyable way to reinforce positive friendship traits.
Engage in Friendship Charades or Role Play Friendship Scenario’s
Act out scenes that exemplify friendship qualities and have fun guessing which traits are being demonstrated. This game enhances understanding of friendship traits.
Friendship Awards Ceremony
Host a special awards event where kids recognize each other’s acts of friendship with certificates or ribbons. Celebrating kindness and generosity!
Read captivating books about friendship and explore the actions of the characters that embody good friend qualities. It is great for circle time and great for sparking meaningful discussions.
(Below is a list of our favorite friendship picture books!)
Recite the Friendship Pledge
Encourage kids to craft and recite their own friendship pledges, promising to be caring, supportive, and compassionate friends.
Keep a Friendship Journal
Inspire daily journaling about acts of kindness and friendship experiences. It fosters reflection and reinforces positive behaviors.
Let creativity shine as kids perform short plays or skits showcasing positive friendship behaviors. It’s fun to act out what it means to be a good friend.
Gather in a circle and exchange genuine compliments, reinforcing positive interactions and nurturing self-esteem.
Decorate Friendship Rocks or Kindness Rocks
Decorate smooth stones with friendship qualities, then exchange them as tokens of friendship and reminders of what makes a good friend.
Why not grab this free Kindness Rocks Activity Kit here?
Compliment Collage (Group Friendship Activity)
Create compliment collages. Provide magazines, scissors, glue, and large sheets of paper. Encourage kids to find words or images that represent compliments or positive qualities and paste them on their collage.
Share and discuss their collages as a group to reinforce the importance of kindness and appreciation in friendships.
Friendship Time Capsule
Organize a friendship time capsule activity.
Have kids bring small items or notes representing their interests and personalities.
These can include drawings, favorite quotes, or small trinkets.
Seal these items in a container and set a date in the future (e.g., six months or a year) for the group to open the time capsule together, reflecting on how they’ve grown as friends.
Create a storytelling circle where each child takes turns sharing a memorable friendship moment or a time when they were a good friend to someone.
Encourage them to use their creativity and imagination to make the stories engaging.
This activity not only strengthens their storytelling skills but also reinforces the value of positive interactions in friendships.
Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
Challenge kids to perform random acts of kindness for their peers. Provide a list of kind deeds they can choose from, such as writing an anonymous note of encouragement or helping a friend with a task.
Afterward, discuss how these acts of kindness made them feel and their impact on their friendships.
Create a “Friendship Recipe” activity where kids work together to craft a recipe for a great friendship. Provide ingredients like trust, communication, laughter, and empathy.
Ask each child to contribute one ingredient and explain why it’s essential for building strong friendships.
Compile their ingredients into a fun and creative “Friendship Recipe” poster that serves as a reminder of the key elements of friendship.
Friendship Lesson Plans
Calling all parents, teachers, and caring counselors!
Are you on a mission to teach kids the art of being great friends and forging new friendships? Look no further because we’ve got a treasure trove of engaging friendship activities just for you!
Introducing the Friendship Activities Unit. This friendship SEL curriculum is a fantastic resource bursting with vital topics that teach children how to be top-notch pals. Inside, you’ll find:
- ✅Fun friendship games
- ✅Adorable friendship crafts like friendship flowers and bracelets
- ✅Lesson plans
- ✅Handpicked book recommendations
- ✅Collaborative group activities
- ✅Thought-provoking discussion questions
- ✅A heartwarming social story all about friendship
- ✅Visual aids and a bundle of handy handouts
his Friendship Unit can also be found in our Heartsmart giant social-emotional curriculum for ages 3-8 years old.
This evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum hones in on essential friendship social skills, and building relationships with others like effective communication, active listening, kindness, apologizing, teamwork, fair play, embracing diversity, conflict resolution, and so much more!
In a world where friendships are central to a child’s emotional growth, we believe in arming students with the indispensable tools they need to cultivate and nurture positive relationships.
Games for Friendships
One fun activity to help build relationships is playing board games.
Playing games to build friendships is like mixing different ingredients to create a delicious recipe:
Let’s look at some of the most popular games for building friendships together:
Games for Small Groups:
Board games offer an enjoyable way for kids to bond.
They provide a structured and entertaining environment where kids can work together, laugh, and converse while having a great time.
Board games teach fairness and cooperation, making it easier for kids to communicate and get to know each other.
Plus, whether we win or not, we all have a good time, making playing board games a great way to build new friendships!
Here are some of the most popular co-operative games for younger children:
Other games to play with a small group of 2-6 people (Preschool friendship activities):
1. Duck Duck Goose: Classic Game Fun!
Duck Duck Goose isn’t just any game; it’s a fantastic icebreaker, especially for young kids. It nudges them to step out of their shells and interact in a nonverbal, quirky way. Oh, and expect giggles galore as you chase each other around!
2. Go Fish: Reel in the Fun!
Looking for a card game that’s all about fostering friendships? Look no further than Go Fish. Perfect for a group of 4 players, this game isn’t just about cards; it’s about learning how to ask simple questions and having a whale of a time while you’re at it!
3. The Game of Telephone: Let’s Get Chatty!
Here’s a game that’s a real chatterbox’s delight! The Game of Telephone is all about developing those communication social skills, and it’s bound to have everyone in stitches. See how messages can twist and turn as they’re whispered from one ear to another. Just remember, keep it to 6 or fewer players, or things might get seriously scrambled! 🤪
Fun and Exciting Games for Large Groups of 8 or More Kids!
Have a big bunch of 8 or more kids eager for fantastic fun? Well, look no further! We have a lineup of awesome games that’ll bring your large group closer together in no time.
Team Building Games
Team Building Games: Unite and Conquer!
Team building games are the ultimate way to bring together diverse individuals in larger groups. Check out these thrilling activities:
- Relay races
- Creating a human pyramid
- Two truths and a lie
- Escape room challenge
- Human knot
- Building the tallest marshmallow tower out of spaghetti noodle sticks and marshmallows only
The Question Game: Getting to Know You!
The Question Game: Getting to Know You!
This game is perfect for a classroom setting with a large group, but it can also work wonders in a small group during a counselor’s social skills session. Make it as serious or silly as you like!
In a circle, students take turns answering a question to get better acquainted. Here are some examples:
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What’s your favorite color?
- What sports do you like to play?
- Do you have any siblings?
- If you could choose any name, what would it be?
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
- Pizza or chicken nuggets every day for life?
- What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
Charades – Silent Acting Fun
Charades is a classic game where you act out words or phrases without saying a word. Use your body and facial expressions to convey the message while others guess. It’s like a silent play, with loads of laughter guaranteed!
Musical Chairs – The Ultimate Challenge
In Musical Chairs, players walk around a circle of chairs while music plays. When the music stops, it’s a race to grab a chair.
But watch out, there are fewer chairs than players, so someone might be left standing. It’s an exciting and friendly competition that adds a burst of energy to any gathering!
Scavenger Hunt: The Ultimate Adventure
A scavenger hunt is like an epic treasure hunt game. It’s ideal for breaking large groups into smaller teams but perfect for school, home, or birthday parties.
With a list of things to find or clues to follow, you and your friends become detectives on an adventure, searching for hidden treasures. It’s brain-teasing fun that encourages teamwork and exploration!
What about these free Scavenger Hunt games? Or learn more about Scavenger Hunt fun!
Remember, these games are all about having a blast and encouraging interaction. They offer fantastic opportunities for kids to discover each other’s strengths, interests, and personalities while forming new friendships. 🎉
More Favorite Friendship-Building Activities
1. Boost Self-Confidence
As children grow older, their self-esteem tends to take a sharp drop.
As parents, it’s heartbreaking to hear children say negative things about themselves.
If your child struggles with confidence in themselves, check out the Confidence Kit!
2. Team Up and Make Friends: Join a Sports Team or Activity!
Here’s a nifty idea to help your kids make friends beyond the classroom – encourage them to join an after-school activity like a sport.
First off, it’s a fantastic way for kids to exercise, and second, it provides an opportunity to work with their peers towards a common goal (while doing something they all enjoy together!)
3. Discover Hidden Talents: Try a Club or After School Activity
If sports aren’t their jam, no worries! Explore other activities that tickle their fancy.
Whether it’s dance, gymnastics, Lego club, cheerleading, art club, Scouts, or karate, there’s an activity for everyone!
4. Encourage Lunchtime Conversations
Eating together is a great way to become friends and learn about each other.
Empower your child to strike up conversations during lunch with their seatmate (while enjoying their meal, of course!)
Sharing a meal is a wonderful way to foster friendship and learn about each other. Need some conversation starters?
How about discussing funny dreams, favorite movies, cracking jokes, sports, pets, delectable foods, recent adventures, beloved animals, board games, TV shows, sweet treats, post-school plans, or even siblings?
5. Host Playdates: A World of Fun At Home
As a parent, you might not have control over the school day, but you can certainly take matters into your own hands. Arrange playdates at your home, focusing on activities your child adores. Having a game or two ready can ease interaction if they struggle.
6. Attend a Birthday Party to Meet New Friends (Birthday Bashes)
Birthday parties provide a relaxed setting for kids to mingle and bond outside the classroom. If your child receives an invitation, make every effort to let them attend. And teachers consider encouraging whole-class invitations to ensure no one feels left out.
7. Library and School Events: Where Friends Gather
Did you know that your local library hosts numerous free activities for kids to meet and greet?
Check their website and explore events that pique your child’s interest. You never know who they might befriend in the process! 📚✨
8. Teach Kids Listening Skills
Let’s talk about something super important: listening skills. Imagine friendship-building as a quest in your favorite adventure game. To level up, you need to master listening.
Being a good listener means giving your friends your full attention when they talk.
These are crucial lessons in how to be a good friend! It’s like tuning in to a crucial part of the game’s story.
9. Teach Kids About Social Cues
Social cues are like secret codes in your favorite spy movie – they help us understand what others feel or need.
Pay attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. They’re like clues guiding us through the tricky world of friendships.
You can get fun social cues and listening lessons in our Heartsmart Curriculum.
Favorite Children’s Books About Making New Friends
Through relatable friendship books, kids can learn the qualities of what makes a good friend and how to navigate different relationships.
Reading stories about friendship makes the lessons more relatable to young kids because they can see themselves in the characters.
It helps them understand that they’re not alone.
Think of it like having a wise coach on the sidelines during a game, offering valuable tips and guidance to help you succeed.
These stories show kids that they’re not alone in their experiences and provide valuable insights into navigating different relationships.
Reading about the adventures and challenges of fictional friends can inspire children to practice empathy, kindness, and effective communication in their own friendships.
📖 Let’s look at some awesome picture books about making new friends:
- The Not So Friendly Friend by: Christina Furnival
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today by: Carol McCloud
- Making Friends is an Art by: Julia Cook
- My Way to Making Friends by: Elizabeth Cole
- How to Be a Friend by: Laurie Krasny Brown
Help Kids Recognize Unsafe Friends
Our goal here is to understand the concept of friendship safety. It’s important to remember that not all friends are alike. Some are trustworthy and kind, like reliable characters in a story, while others may not have good intentions.
Our mission is to identify the pals who genuinely care about us, the ones who are respectful and supportive. But we must also be aware of the not-so-great friends who may not always play fair. Think of it as distinguishing between a story’s good and not-so-good characters.
So, let’s get down to business and learn how to recognize the friends who truly have our best interests at heart and those who might not. Here are some signs to watch out for:
Unsafe Friends May:
- Say hurtful things or make fun of you.
- Try to control your decisions or actions.
- Disregard your feelings when you talk to them.
- Pressure you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.
- Spread rumors or gossip about you.
- Not be there for you when you need them the most.
Stay sharp, friendship experts! 🚀
Final Thoughts on Teaching Kids to Build New Friendships:
Building new friendships is like planting seeds in a garden.
It takes time, care, and patience.
Remember to teach kids to be kind, open, and genuine; you’ll watch those friendships grow and bloom.
Just like a puzzle, each person brings something unique and important to the group.
Remind children to embrace the differences and cherish the moments you share together!!!!
Having a good friend is hard to find, and being a good friend requires effort and care!
Remember, these friendship activities are perfect for:
- friendship activities for preschoolers
- friendship activities for kindergarteners
- friendship activities for elementary kids
- friendship day activities
Get all the help you need in developing your kid’s social-emotional skills with our HeartSmart Curriculum!