Although a lot of children manage to make friends easily, some young ones find it difficult to make friends, especially when starting school or moving to a new area. Whatever the circumstances, friendship-building activities can be fun and interactive and, most importantly, can build the vital virtues of trust and care between children. There are a number of activities that can teach children these skills, often without their realising it.
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The Classic Trust Game
Almost everybody is aware of this game: one child stands in front of another and falls backwards, with the second child catching the first. It is so well known because it works, quickly instilling trust in each child as one is caught by the second. But it is best to avoid playing this game on hard surfaces just in case a catch is dropped.
Control Tower Game
As well as team building , this activity also promotes communication and friendship. One child has to direct another, who is blindfolded, around an obstacle course without touching her or physically guiding herin any way. Pairs of children will soon find the best way of communicating with their partner, nurturing friendships as they do so.
A variant of the popular game of Charades, Silent Interviews requires one child to try to communicate three things that he or she likes to the other child through acting alone, with verbal communication forbidden. When the three things have been guessed, bring the pair back into the main group and ask each child to introduce his partner. This game allows children to bond over similar interests and reveals interesting facts.
The Friendship Booklet
Split the children into pairs and give them the necessary materials to design and colour a small booklet. On one page, a child writes interesting facts about herself and on the second page writes corresponding facts about her partner, such as favourite food, hobby, etc. Children are encouraged to illustrate these facts as well as simply writing them. The next two-page spread will have similar contents, but this time written by the second child. This activity promotes interaction between children, who can then, as a pair, show off their booklets to the rest of the group.
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