Encouraging young children to have healthy friendships is an important to explore. Often young children want to have friends but don’t know how to treat friends properly or understand what being a friend is. Being a good friend is an important life skill – one that doesn’t come naturally. We’ve compiled a list of friendship games for young children that can encourage positive relationships with friends.
The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CECMHC) also has a great list of daily and weekly Ideas for Teaching Children about Friendship.
Friendship Yarn Web
Have all children sit in a circle, one child starts out holding a ball of yarn. The first person throws the ball of yarn to someone else and says something they like about that person, or why they are a good friend. Then the next person goes, and so on. Pretty soon you end up with a web of yarn connecting everyone.
The Matching Game
Give each child one item (could be a block, marble, crayon, etc.). They then will walk around the room in search of other(s) with the same color item. When they find a friend with the same color itiem, they then link arms and stay together until all groups are complete. This is a fun way to get different kids together and to reinforce the idea that different people can have things in common. It’s also a good way for preschoolers to work on naming colors.
One child stands in front of the other children and shares a fact about themselves, such as their favorite color or favorite animal. Everyone who also shares that favorite thing stands up and yells, “That’s me!” This is a great interactive game, and children get to share their favorite things, while learning who else shares their favorites.
Where is my Friend?
Play music while the children walk freely around the room. When the music stops, they must crouch down where they are and close their eyes (no peeking!) Cover one child with a blanket. Once the child is covered, tell the others to open their eyes and guess which friend is under the blanket.
Friendly Musical Chairs
Play musical chairs, but instead of eliminating a child after each round, eliminate a chair. Children will be forced to sit together on the remaining chairs. At the end of the game, they will all have to find a way to sit on the final chair. This is an excellent way to develop cooperation among the children in your group.
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