For some children, learning friendship and kindness skills comes easily. For others, it comes with a little more difficulty. Try some of these friendship activities for preschoolers in your friendship preschool theme.
Friendship Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarten
Developing friendships is part of developing healthy and strong social and emotional skills. These skills are an important part of everyday life, and the earlier a child begins to learn these skills, the better. Friendship activities for preschoolers are important for their social growth as well as for learning how to share and get along with others.
As preschool teachers or parents, we have a unique opportunity to help the young children in our lives develop these skills. It’s important that we teach our preschoolers the fundamentals of social activity. This can be done in several ways: by reading picture books, doing arts and crafts, playing cooperative games, and so on.
FAQ About Teaching a Preschool Friendship Theme
One of the best ways to teach preschoolers about how to make and keep friends is by being a model for them during your own interactions with preschoolers. Model appropriate interactions with your preschoolers and what it feels like to have a good friend by first being a friend to them.
Show them how to be kind and caring. When you help your preschoolers swaddle their baby doll, or open a cheese stick, or listen to their stories and answer their questions, your preschoolers will notice your kindness and want to be like you.
Modeling friendship is the first and best way to teach preschoolers about friends. Preschoolers also need to learn how to recognize their feelings and to reach out to an adult if they are feeling lonely or hurt.
Including friendship activities in circle time is also helpful. Teach your preschoolers to be good listeners, to respond to things that are said, and to be helpful. Friendship activities for preschoolers should also include collaborative activities and games and random acts of kindness.
The possibilities for friendship activities are endless. Try playing cooperative games, working together on a single shared art project, doing building activities at the block center, or do a scavenger hunt together. There are countless picture books that teach preschoolers about friendship, too.
This post features six printable friendship activities; each one is designed specifically to be used with preschoolers and toddlers. They are an easy and effective addition to your friendship theme in preschool.
Around the age of 3, children are starting to play more with each other and are forming new friendships. Talk to them about what makes a good friend. Do friendship activities, read friendship stories, and sing friendship songs with them all year long.
Fun Activities to Teach Preschoolers Friendship
Friendship activities for preschoolers are the building blocks of friendships and will strengthen the social skills that children need throughout their lifetime. The following six friendship activities for preschoolers will get you off to a great start.
Friendship Activity – What Does a Friend Do? Pocket Chart Helpers
This friendship activity uses verb cards to help teach preschoolers things that friends do. They say say nice things. They help others. They play a certain way. This pocket chart activity helps teachers teach literacy skills while also teaching preschoolers how to be a good friend.
Also included are a set of image cards featuring kind things children might do for one another, such as playing together on a swing, tying shoes, sharing a reward, and so on. These are designed to give preschoolers real-life examples of what friendship looks like when you’re young.
Don’t Forget Friendship Themed Picture Books
One of the best ways to teach preschoolers about how to make friends and about what it means to be a good friend is to read lots of picture books about friendship. Here are some of my personal favorites.
Friendship Activity – Friends or Not-Friends Sorting Mats
When teaching kids about friendship, preschoolers need a lot of examples. This activity features eighteen examples of what friendship may or may not look like to a preschooler.
There are two sorting mats, each one with a face at the top showing either happiness or sadness. This helps preschoolers identify the things that are friendly and associate friendship with happiness, and identify the things that are mean and associated with sadness.
These friendship sorting mats help teachers demonstrate to preschoolers that being a friend and showing friendship is associated with good feelings, while doing unfriendly things is associated with negative feelings.
Friendship Activity – High-Five Friends Interactive Booklets
These interactive booklets are designed to help preschoolers find ways in which they, personally, can be friends. What can a friend do? They can shake or hold hands, share, take turns, help, etc. The value in this activity is that it encourages preschoolers to find ways in their own lives to do these things, rather than these friendship traits being assigned to them.
Since these booklets feature finger counting to make the “high-five,” they serve as a tool to teach one-to-one correspondence and number identification as well.
Friendship Activity – Friendship Visual Discrimination Cards
Visual discrimination is an important pre-literacy skill. These cards are friendship themed, so they teach preschoolers how to look closely at actions and identify if they are acts of friendship or not. Many preschoolers need a lot of practice in identifying acts of kindness and friendship, and these friendship visual discrimination cards give them that practice.
These cards can be used in circle time or in small group activities. If you have a preschooler who is struggling with managing emotions and showing kindness, these cards are a fantastic tool for teachers to work one-on-one with that student.
Friendship Activity – Friendly Faces Ten Frame Addition Cards
These ten frame addition cards are designed to teach preschoolers multiple number sense skills at once. Focusing on composing ten addition problems, preschoolers follow the addition sequence at the top of each card to complete the math problem.
For example, three smiley faces plus seven yelling faces equals ten faces all together. These cards can also be used to teach preschoolers how our behavior affects those around us.
These cards can also be used to teach preschoolers how our behavior and emotions affects those around us. For example, in the addition problem 9+1=10, you could say nine smiles from a friend can help wash away hurt feelings when someone gets upset and yells. But in the reverse, 1+9=10, you might not be so lucky.
If you yell at your friend nine times, that one smile might not be enough to keep a friendship. It’s an extra chance to practice those friendship skills.
Friendship Activity – Super Star Friends Alphabet Card Game
Letter identification is a primary skill in a preschool and kindergarten setting. In this simple card game, preschoolers get practice in identifying letters of the alphabet as well as becoming more familiar with common feelings and emotions that they might experience in their friendships. This is a friendship activity for preschoolers that has many learning variations and add-ons.
If a super friend card is drawn, the player must share one way in which they can be a friend. This is also a valuable opportunity for teachers or parents to point out to young children ways in which they see the players being kind and being a good friend.
Get Your Friendship Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers Here
Preschool friendship activities are not limited to a particular part of the school year. This pack of friendship building activities is most popularly used at the beginning of a school year or in February as part of a Valentines preschool theme.
But really, these friendship activities for preschoolers can be used any time of year and can even be used in a kindergarten or first grade classroom.
Friendship Activities for Toddlers
These activities are also great friendship activities for toddlers. Add them to your friendship book activities and practice each day of school and your toddler will grow into a wonderful little friend!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.