Teaching a child to be a good friend instils social skills that equip him for life and faith. The Bible has many examples to illustrate friendship--Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, not to mention Peter, James, John and Jesus. Through games and real-life practice in encouraging and praying for friends, friendship activities for Sunday School reinforce the truth of Proverbs 18:24: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
Knock, Knock--It's A Friend
Sit in a circle with all eyes closed. Tap one person to be "it." This child taps one person softly and says, "Knock, knock! It's a friend. Do you know my voice?" Without looking the seated child guesses who tapped her. Another variation is to secretly send one person out of the room. The children must figure out which friend is missing. Talk about how good friends notice details about each other and miss each other when they are apart.
Write each child's name decoratively on the front of a simple card ahead of time. In class, pass the cards around, asking each child to write a compliment for each of the others and sign his name. To save time, break the class into smaller groups and sign group cards only in the group. Return cards to owners and let them read the encouraging words while you discuss how good friends encourage and uplift one another.
Prepare an address slip for each child ahead of time. Ask new parents to jot their info down so no one will be left out. Ask each child to list his prayer requests on the paper. Slip the child's paper in a plain envelope. Place all the envelopes in a large bowl and let each child draw one (check to be sure they don't get their own and record the pairings). They can look at the name but do not tell. Ask the child to pray for the friend this week and send at least one secret care package or encouraging note. Next week, ask them to guess who their secret friend was.
Cut slightly oversized dog-tag shapes out of heavy paper or tag board. Punch a hole in one end. Ask the children to neatly write their full names on one side and a favourite Bible verse or prayer request on the other. Thread a length of yarn or string through the hole and tie the ends together. Place the tags in a pile in the centre and cover lightly so only the strings are showing. Have each child grab the end of a string and pull out the tag. Instruct them to wear their friend's dog-tag this week or hang it in an easily visible place at home as a reminder to pray for her. Bring the tags back the next week and exchange them again to develop a habit of praying for friends.