If your preschool doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, a great alternative theme is friendship. Add these sixteen friendship activities to your preschool lesson plans. Be sure to grab the download from the end of the post as well.
Friendship Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Kids seem to be naturals at finding playmates and making friends. But learning how to be a good friend takes practice. These preschool friendship activities will help your little ones make and keep friends by showing kindness and respect for others.
FAQ About a Friendship Preschool Theme
Friendship can be a little abstract when it comes to preschoolers and toddlers. Here are some frequently asked questions about how to teach your preschooler about friendship.
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. Show your preschoolers appropriate interactions 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 doing 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. We talk about what makes a good friend, we do friendship activities, we read friendship stories, and we sing friendship songs. All year long.
Meaningful Activities for Teaching Kindness and Friendship
These friendship activities are designed to help preschoolers understand what makes a good friend. They are centered around concepts of kindness, open-mindedness, and respect.
Literacy Activities for a Friendship Theme
Friendship Social Story – Social stories are great for young children because they are personalized and focus on one skill or behavior. Grab some photos of your preschooler or draw scenes that show being a good friend. Invite your preschooler to come up with a storybook that models friendship. Using simple sentences, help your preschooler come up with a short repetitive sentence that can be changed for each new page. For example, “When I _____, I am being a good friend.” Or maybe “I am a great friend because ______.” Add illustrations or pictures of your preschooler and read together frequently.
Name Recognition with Playdough – Helping your preschooler learn the letters in their name is a great start to preschool. Another way to model friendship and the ABCs is to practice other children’s names. Write the names of friends or family members on a piece of paper. Using playdough, form or stamp the letters to create names. Encourage your preschooler to say a kind word about each person as they work, or have them tell you all the reasons why that person is their friend.
Don’t Forget Picture Books About Friendship
I love elevating my lesson plans with great literature. Below is a friendship themed book list of some of my favorite picture books I read to my preschoolers.
Math and Science Activities for a Friendship Theme
Friendship Bracelet Counting – Using beads and pipe cleaners, encourage your preschooler to make friendship bracelets for friends and family. Count how many beads there are of each color or add a pattern. You can kick the activity up a notch by inviting your preschooler to say kind things for every bead. Sometimes, it’s good to just practice saying nice things, even if it’s to no one in particular.
Friendship Math Quilt – Cut up some colored paper into squares and glue them into a patterned “quilt” on another sheet of paper. Invite your preschooler to draw their friends and family on each square, along with their names. Then hang this quilt where your preschooler can see it and remember how much they are loved.
Friendship Fingerprints – Using a stamp pad, invite your preschooler to stamp their fingers onto the ink and press down on a piece of paper. Invite friends and family members to do the same, and write each person’s name under their fingerprint. How special! Talk to your preschooler about how everyones fingerprints are different, but sometimes it’s the things that make us different that can make us the best friends.
Playful Learning Activities for a Friendship Theme
Animal Charades – Animals can be our friends, too! Print off a page of animal pictures. Place each animal card in a bucket. Choose an animal from the bucket. Invite your preschooler to act out the animal silently, while others are guessing. Take some time to discuss how animals can be friends and how we can be kind to animals in return.
War Card Game – Games are a fun way to spend time with a friend, but sometimes it’s hard to lose. Grab a set of cards and remove the royal cards and joker. Then cut the deck in half. Face your preschooler and tell them to draw a card quickly. Whoever gets the highest-valued card, keeps the card. Pretend to act sad or upset when you draw the losing card, and have your preschooler practice saying uplifting things to make you feel better. Play until there are no cards left.
Race the Timer – Grab a partner for this one! How many jumping jacks can you do in 30 seconds? Can you do better in the second round? Challenge your preschooler and a sibling or friend to do better at whatever they choose. Keep that growth mindset and practice being an encouraging friend.
Social-Emotional Activities for a Friendship Preschool Theme
Learn to be a Good Friend – Go to YouTube and listen to the story Leonardo The Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. After reading, make a monster friend craft using coffee filters, plastic forks, and paint. Dip the forks in the paint and press the paint onto the flattened coffee filter. Add googly monster eyes! Make as many monster friends as you like. After they’re dry, invite your preschooler to imagine that each monster is a friend. What kind of things would these monsters do to show they’re a good friend?
Friends Show Kindness – Use this printable random acts of kindness challenge to encourage your preschooler to find ways to be kind to others. For each kind act your preschooler completes, have him or her add a heart to the calendar. Encourage your preschooler to think of other ways to show kindness and friendship that are not listed on the challenge. How could this challenge extend to family members and daily home life? Invite everyone in the family to join in on this challenge together!
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Friendship Theme
Emotions Playdough – Friends have feelings and emotions, too! Start by making a circle out of playdough and then adding expressions on the circle to show emotions. Ask your preschooler why might your friend feel mad or shy? How can you help your friend be happy?
Friendship Dramatic Play – Grab dolls or action figures and role-play difficult friendship scenarios like taking turns, pushing or shoving, yelling, and saying mean words. Using the dolls or figures, model how to react in that kind of situation and encourage your preschooler to be a part of the solution. Remind him or her that they can do these exact things in real life with a real problem.
Safe Online Activities for a Friendship Preschool Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. After listening, ask your preschooler why Rainbow Fish felt happy at the end when he gave away all but one of his scales. How is that an example of friendship?
Be a Super Hero – Sing along with the infamous Jack Hartmann and his friendship superhero song. This video models examples of being a great friend, too!
Fox and Penguins Take Turns – This video models taking turns and being a caring friend. Learning strategies to manage social conflicts is a valuable tool.
Get Your Free Friendship Lesson Plans Here
Think these friendship activities will make a great addition to your other friendship themed activities? Go ahead and print them off! Click the box below and a PDF will be sent to your email.
Then keep reading for some friendship theme printables for preschoolers!
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.