Not having any friends can be lonely for a child. Sometimes it is our responsibility as adults to step in and show children how to make friends and how to keep the friends they already have. Bringing a preschool friends unit into the curriculum will teach children how friendships work. Some of these friendship activities require children to have a special friend. You can either pair children together that you think will learn from each other or have them pick their own special friend.
There are many friendship songs that the children can sing together. Have the children sing "The More We Get Together" and "Say, Say, Oh Playmate." The children can also sing "Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar", for this song requires the children to interact with one another. After the children sing these songs play a game of musical chairs for friends. This game works the same as musical chairs does except when the music stops everyone sits in a chair. All the chairs have to be shared, so no one is left out. This is a game where everyone wins as long as they can all remain friends.
Have the children draw a picture of their special friend and have them tell their special friend all the things they like about each other. Give them an example like, maybe they like how nice their special friend is or they like the color of their hair. This exercise will help children’s self esteem.
"Frog and Toad are Friends", by Arnold Label is a great story about friendship. Also "Billy Bully", by Alvaro and Ana Galan is a great story to read to show the children all the things a child can do to loose friends and all the things a child can do to make friends. There are many books that can go with a preschool friends unit.
Provide dress up clothes and have each special friend pick out the dress up clothes they would like their special friend to wear. Have each child put on the dress up clothes chosen. Then invite the children to have a tea party for two. The possibilities are endless when it comes to dramatic play in a preschool friends unit.
Have the children work with their special friend to create shapes and patterns with items such as crayons, blocks, beads, and Popsicle sticks. This activity will help teach children basic math skills as they work together to make the shapes. It might be necessary for you to make a few shapes and patterns yourself as a demonstration.
Listening is Part of Being a Friend
Have each child pick a book and have them try and tell the story to their special friend by looking at the pictures or by memory. Make sure to explain to the children that listening to your friend is part of being a good friend. Sometimes adults can even learn from a preschool friends unit.