I am going to be bold and say, friendship skills are the MOST important skills our preschoolers will develop the year they are in your classroom! Not numbers. Not reading or phonics but friendship skills! Learning to be a good friend requires so much from our young learners. It requires the ability to know how to be a good friend, know what we can say or do. It requires communication skills, empathy, kindness, problem-solving, collaborative skills, sharing, conflict resolution and so much more.
When preschoolers step foot into our classroom for the first time, they are just beginning to navigate that whole world of friendship. Some may have had minimal contact with other children their age, whilst others may have a sibling or two, been in a playgroup, or attended daycare.
Our preschool classrooms are the perfect environment to develop these vital friendship skills, and we as preschool educators have an important role in helping our children learn and develop these skills! It is a fantastic experience to watch these friendships blossom and even more fun to help teach children how to navigate this world of friendships!
Before I jump into talking about activities about friendship for preschool, are you looking for ideas on how to encourage discussions around kindness? Don’t forget to grab this Kindness Freebie from me. Just click on the image below to download them now!
Activities about friendship for preschool
When it comes to teaching friendship skills, there are different areas you should make sure to cover: ways to be a good friend, empathy, kindness, conflict resolution, having more than one friend, problem-solving, and being able to work collaboratively with others. You can include many preschool friendship activities in your lesson plans, circle time, and other times during the day!
Here are 7 Fun and Engaging Activities About Friendship for Preschool Classrooms
It is always important to discuss ways to be a good friend in the classroom. You can easily use engaging activities that focus on the three main areas of friendship (ways to be a good friend, empathy, kindness). Reading stories that center around friendship is always a great way to introduce the concept of being a good friend and help kiddos start to relate to the idea.
Letting students discuss what makes a good friend or not is also very important. Listening skills are still being developed in preschool, and having them work and listen to their peers will help this! Using a sorting activity so students can hear and see different scenarios will help them identify the differences between a good friend and a not-so-good friend.
Creating a friendship-themed challenge in the classroom is another great way to help students practice the behavior of being a good friend. Give each child a Friendship-themed Challenge Board, and when a child completes one of these challenges, they color in the square. Each child has until the end of the week to complete as many friendship challenges as possible.
There are many ways to help your little learners become good friends and learn what it takes to be a good friend! Don’t be afraid to award those you see being good friends and give some encouraging words to others who may need a little help!
Empathy, by definition, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It means that someone can relate to someone else’s hardships, happiness, and other emotions. Preschoolers are just starting to develop these skills, and they all play a role in friendship! It is essential to help students develop empathy and learn what it means to be empathetic towards their peers, teachers, and others.
An easy way to help teach empathy is to use read alouds that focus on students’ skills to understand empathy and show empathy. These books often focus on friendship and how people can often be different from us, which is ok!
Another way to help your littles understand empathy is to use empathy task cards. Create task cards with different common scenarios they may encounter to help students identify the feelings of others and think about ways to respond with empathy.
There are so many definitions, ideas, and ways to describe it. Kindness is defined as not just a feeling but the way people behave towards others. These behaviors are compassionate, genuine, and the person’s behaviors can also show empathy. Meaning the person can recognize and understand the other person’s emotional needs.
One kindness activity that my preschoolers love is the kindness chain. Students earn a link of the chain every time they are seen being kind to a teacher, student, or other people inside the classroom or school. The classroom loves to see the paper chain grow longer and longer as more and more students are “caught being kind.”
Conflict resolution is critical to teach in the preschool classroom. It allows young children to learn how to listen and cooperate with others. It also teaches them how to communicate their thoughts and feelings, become more aware of their needs, and creatively solve problems.
Dramatic play is always a great way to help students understand conflicts and resolve them. Using conflict resolution scenarios, have your preschoolers act out different scenes and discuss how the conflict could be resolved as a class. These scenarios will get students moving, thinking, and having fun!
I do have a free conflict resolution resource to help you get your children talking about ways to solve minor conflicts. Just download them on my FREEBIE page!
Friendship conflicts are bound to happen in any classroom. With our young learners, there is always this conflict about having more than one friend. It often helps to have this topic as an intentional teaching area so that children see that it is not only ok to have more than one friend, the world is much more colorful when we open up our friendship circle.
Developing the social-emotional skills of preschoolers is so important and will benefit them for years to come. It can seem like something that may take care of itself, but there are plenty of ways to add your friendship lesson into your day without adding too much to your ever-growing list of things to do and teach.
Team building and teamwork activities are great preschool activities to help students learn about friendship, being a good friend, how to work together, and how to share friends when in groups. When students learn about teamwork, they are also learning many valuable skills they can transfer over when trying to make new friends!
If you want to increase teamwork in your classroom, try team-building activities. These activities will get your preschoolers to work together and practice teamwork qualities.
Creating team challenges are a fun way to get your preschoolers to practice their teamwork skills. Set a challenge for your children to work in pairs or in small groups to solve. Use those challenges to reinforce the skills needed for teamwork.
Solving friendship problems is maybe one of the biggest things you deal with at the preschool level. They are still learning to effectively solve issues between peers without teacher or adult intervention, and these skills are essential in the friendship process.
You’ll want to discuss the different types of problems in the classroom. I call them “little” problems and “big” problems. Working through this information will help your young learners differentiate between small, medium, and big problems. This is a great first step in helping our young learners deal with problems that occur in school/daycare. Your young learners will soon see that not all problems are the same; therefore, our reactions will defer according to the size of a problem.
Spend time talking about different scenarios you notice in your day. If you notice a child being left out of a game, bring it to group time and use it as a catalyst for discussion. What would you do if… questions are a great place to start. Get children thinking and talking about ways to be a good friend every day.
Don’t Forget to Include Families!
As you can easily see, there are a lot of activities you can include throughout your school year to help you teach friendship inside your preschool classroom. It is also essential to have family members involved in this process. Send home letters about the different topics you are learning about. Families love to support their children and it’s important they know what you are focusing on in class so that they may continue that learning at home too!
Final Thought 💖
If you love all of the activities mentioned in this blog post, you can grab them individually in my shop; and if you want to save money and time, check out my friendship activities bundle which comes with all the activities mentioned above and detailed preschool lesson plans for each topic! With over 400 pages of activities, your students will surely love learning about friendship!