Introduce friendship activities for preschoolers to your children to help them make new friends and have fun simultaneously. It is a known fact that the friendships made during one’s early years last a lifetime. Friendships also make our lives fun and help reduce stress (1).
While some children get along well with their peers, others might need some help in making friends. So, we have compiled a list of friendship activities aimed at helping children make new friends and improving their social skills. Introduce these to them and let them make memories while indulging in fun and frolic.
21 Friendship Activities For Toddlers
Toddlers learn quickly when taught through play. These friendship activities, suitable for playdates or schools for toddlers, can be included as fun activities and games to develop their social and emotional skills. Alongside singing, drawing, coloring, storytelling, and puzzles, you can bring excitement and creativity to your toddler’s routines with these innovative activities. Your little one will thoroughly enjoy participating in them.
1. Match the color blocks
This cooperative game is best played when you have a group of children with you. Give every child a building block in any color. Each child must walk around the room and find the others with the same color block. Children with the same color blocks can break the ice by introducing themselves to each other.
2. Find the friend
Make a grid collage of all the children participating in the game with their names in the picture and get two prints of the page. Cut out each square and place them facing down on the floor. Each child has to overturn two squares and see if they get the same person. Every time a square is placed face up, say the name of the child on the square clearly.
3. You’ve got a friend
Play a friendship-based song or any peppy song that the children can dance to. Stop the music at intervals. When the music stops, the toddlers have to find a new friend and hug them. Start the music again and let them dance. This game brings toddlers together both physically and emotionally.
4. Hand friendship wreath
Trace the hands of the toddlers on sheets of paper. Cut them out. Give the children some crayons and let them color their handshapes in the colors of their choice. Use a thread and needle to connect all the hands together to make a wreath. Display the friendship wreath on a wall or a display board.
Let the children stand in a circle. An adult must tap one of the children on their shoulder. The selected child must make a sound or perform an action. The others have to copy the sound or action. The adult must then tap another child. Continue until every child has had a chance.
In a room safe for children to play, select any one child and blindfold them for this fun game. They have to run around and catch their playmates. The first person they catch will be blindfolded for the next round. While this is a great friendship activity for toddlers, it also helps enhance their senses. Play this game under adult supervision only.
7. Roll the jar
All you need is a cylindrical plastic jar with a lid, paint, and some marbles for this game. You could also use some paints. Put the marbles into the jar and squeeze some paint into it. Close the lid and let the children roll the jar back and forth amongst themselves. They may also pass it to each other in a clockwise motion.
8. Show and tell
A toddler’s version of ‘Show and Tell’ is just like the older children’s version but with cuter words. Every child has to bring their favorite item from home and tell the other children about it. They could select any item. It may be a favorite stuffed toy, a dress, a blanket, a sippy cup, a toy, or a book.
9. Hello, my friends
Let the children sit in a circle with one child sitting in the center. The child in the center must close their eyes. One child from the circle goes up to them and says, “Hello, my friend. Can you guess who I am?” If the child with the closed eyes guesses correctly, the child who asked the question has to take their place; otherwise, the game continues.
10. Friendship banner
Give each child a sheet of paper and some watercolors. Let them paint on the sheet as they wish. Once the paint has dried completely, cut hand shapes or flowers or any simple shapes out of each sheet. Punch a hole in each shape on opposite sides. Use a thread to connect them and display the banner on the wall.
11. The good friend lists
Print out the photographs of all the children on a sheet of paper. Give one such sheet to every child. Ask them individually which child they consider to be a good friend. They might select one or many. This can be a cool bonding exercise for toddlers.
12. Friendship band
Ask the children to get some ribbon or wool to make friendship bands for their friends. They can use glitter, beads, and sequins to decorate these bands. As toddlers love playing with glue, they may enjoy this activity. Now, let them tie these friendship bands on their best friends’ wrist.
13. Scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt may help toddlers make friends quickly. Pair up the children and give them pictures of items that they have to find. You could also give them picture cards as they are easier to handle for toddlers. Scavenger hunt is a game that not only develops friendships but also helps children improve their teamwork and logical thinking skills.
You can also involve your little ones in simple and creative variations of popular outdoor games such as hide-and-seek, freeze tag, and hopscotch with their friends right in your backyard.
14. Who is under the blanket?
Let children walk or dance around the room while you play music. When the music stops, all the children should sit on the floor wherever they are and close their eyes with their hands. No peeking! Cover one child completely with a blanket and tell the other children to open their eyes. The children should guess the name of the child under the blanket.
15. Friend fishing
Print out the pictures of the children on a sheet of paper and cut them out. Attach a couple of paper clips to each picture. Take a long stick and tie a string to one end. On the other end of the string, attach a magnet. Ask the children to sit in a circle and put the pictures with paper clips in the center. Each child must use the stick to ‘fish’ for friends. Pass the stick around in the circle.
16. Will you be a friend of mine?
All the children sit in a circle, and one child walks around them singing a rhyme (in the tune of ‘Mary had a little lamb’)
Will you be a friend of mine?
Friend of mine?
Friend of mine?
Will you be a friend of mine?
___________ (name of the child walking around the circle)
When the song ends, the child has to tap on the head of the child closest to them. The child who was tapped, repeats the rhyme in the same manner.
17. Musical chairs
Place chairs in the room, one less than the number of children playing. Place the chairs in a line alternatively facing forward and backward. Play some music and let the children walk in a circle around the chairs. When the music stops, the children have to sit on the chairs. The child who fails to sit on a chair goes out of the game. Keep removing one chair after each round until there is only one chair remaining for the rest of the players.
18. Friendship necklace
Making a friendship necklace is a great way to make new friends for toddlers. Friendship necklace kits are a great idea for party favors too. Put some uncooked macaroni or penne pasta in containers of food colors and mix well. Thread them through a string or twine.
19. That’s me!
Stand in front of the children and share a fact about yourself. You could tell them something you like or dislike. When any child shares your likes or dislikes, they shout, “That’s me!” As this game is interactive, children might love playing it.
20. Red rover
Red Rover is a classic game for preschoolers. This is also a good icebreaker activity. Divide the children into two teams. Each team joins hands with its teammates and stands facing the other team. Then each team takes turns calling a player of the other team. When the player comes over, they have to hold hands to stop the player from crossing over.
21. Scavenger hunt
To play a scavenger hunt, start by making a list of items or clues. These items can be anything that can be found in the household. Hide these items or clues in different places in small boxes. Divide the children into different teams depending on the number of players and give each team a copy of the list or clues. Set a deadline to finish the game, and let the search begin. The teams work together to find all the items or solve the clues before time runs out. The team that finds everything or solves all the clues first is the winner. The scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep your children engaged. The game helps improve children’s problem-solving skills, communication skills, and teamwork.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are friendships important during preschool years?
Childhood friendships are important for children as they help develop a sense of belonging and reduce the risks of stress. It has also been said that such friendships help improve children’s quality of life (1).
2. How can a teacher promote toddlers developing friendships?
Teachers can help children in developing friendships in the following ways:
- Set the foreground
- Use puppet models for role play about friendship
- Arrange for peer partners
- Reinforce friendly behavior
3. What should a child do if they accidentally hurt their friend during an activity?
It is crucial to stop the activity immediately if anyone is hurt and check on their condition to assess the extent of the discomfort or injury. The child should seek help from a responsible adult or call medical assistance if necessary. Teach your child that accidents do occur, and how we respond to them is what counts. One must take immediate responsibility, empathize, and make sincere efforts to make amends to deal with the accident and build the friendship further.
4. How can children show appreciation to their friends during an activity?
The child can thank their friends during an activity by saying the magic phrase ‘Thank You’. It lets others know your child’s sincere feelings about them. Also, encourage your child to listen attentively and offer assistance with the activity to show their support and friendship.
True friends can inspire you to strive hard and be relentless during challenges. So encourage your child to bond with their friends through the above friendship activities for preschoolers. These activities will help your child extend their circle in a fun way. Games like Blindfold and Scavenger Hunt can help build trust among friends. Meanwhile, games like Show And Tell and You’ve Got A Friend will help your child discover their friends’ hidden potential and appreciate their talents. So try these activities at your child’s next birthday party and get their friends to join in for a good time.
Infographic: Friendship Activities For Toddlers
Friends cheer us up, help us when we are low, and also help build social confidence and moral values. So, let your children find their forever buddies in their peers through play that can bring them together in shared interests and laughter. Scroll through this infographic to learn how.
- Children begin to learn new things and vital life skills when making friends.
- Introducing your child to some fun friendship activities might help them bond with their peers while indulging in a joyous playtime.
- Whether the traditional blind-folding or the engaging color blocks activity, pick one for your preschooler and watch them have a great time with their friends.
- The Benefits of Early Childhood Friendships and 3 Tips for Helping Your Child Establish Meaningful Friendships, Exchange Family Center