Learning how to build friendships is such an important part of growing up. The thought of approaching other children and trying to develop new friendships may be scary for your little ones. These ideas for friendship activities for kids can help prepare your children and help ease some of the nervousness.
You’ll want to start by teaching your children how to introduce themselves to other children. A simple smile, eye contact and a “Hi, My name is ___” is a great way to start. Your child can also ask an ice breaker question about the new friend like what his/her favorite sport is or what his/her favorite TV show is. Finding something in common is a great way to start a conversation.
You can teach your children about how to be observant of others. For example, if your child loves a certain TV show and he notices that another child has a backpack of a character from that show, that would be a great topic to chat with the new friend about.
Some other helpful tips to consider when making a new friend are:
- be a good listener and don’t interrupt
- be polite
- compliment the new friend on something you’ve noticed about them
You can practice these new friendship activities for kids in a role playing game with your children. You can both take turns being in each role. Make it fun by developing fun & quirky characters for your role playing.
In a group setting, here are some fun ideas for friendship activities for kids:
- Show & Tell: Invite each of the kids to bring something special to them that they want to tell the other kids about. It’s a great conversation starter.
- Friendship “Speed Dating”: Have the children stand in 2 different circles (an inner circle and an outer circle, facing each other). The children will have a few seconds to chat to each person in the group (introduce themselves, share something about themselves that makes them unique) before a parent/teacher rings a bell and the circles rotate to introduce 2 new friends. Continue ringing the bell and rotating until all of the children have had a chance to meet.
- Matching Game: Choose a topic and have the children race around to find another person in the group that matches their answer. For example, ask the children to find someone that shares their birth date, has the same favorite sports team, or has the same favorite movie. You could also do this with a deck of cards where each child is given one card and they have to find the other kids with the same matching card.
If you are the party planning type, you could plan a fun back to school party with your children’s classmates or the neighborhood children. This would be a great place to meet new friends.
Once your child starts to make new friends, be sure to remind them to include others into the group. If your child notices another child sitting alone at lunch or at recess, let them know that the friendly thing to do is to invite that other child to play with your group. The more the merrier!
Were you shy or did you have difficulties making new friends growing up? What are your best tips for friendship activities for kids?