Many children need help learning how to make new friends or knowing what to do with new friends. Learn what you can do to plan activities and teach lessons that will help your children build lasting friendships.
Activities and Lessons You Can Use to Help Your Children Make Friends
Children need to learn how to make friends, and they need to feel confident around new people. This is a skill that all children should develop early on. It helps them to get along with other people as they get older.
It can be difficult for parents who have had years of experience meeting and interacting with new people to remember how challenging it was for them as kids to talk to people they didn’t know. Adults may not think twice about walking into a new situation, meeting new people, or navigating life without having their best friend by their side. To a child, this can be devastating. Here are some practical activities that can help kids make new friends.
1. Learn a Few Jokes
When a child has a good sense of humor, it makes it easier for them to break the tension and to make other people feel comfortable around them. You could teach your child a few age-appropriate jokes. And you might encourage them to ask new kids they meet if they know any jokes. Your child can share a couple of their jokes with a new friend in New Jersey.
2. Learn Simple Games
Kids sometimes want to have fun with other kids, but they are terrified because they don’t know how to play with them. Take a few minutes to sit down with your child. On a piece of paper, write out ten games or so that your child could play with someone else they meet. Teach them the rules of these simple games. When they meet a new kid, they can go up to the new kid and ask them to play one of the games they have learned. If a new kid comes up to them, they are prepared with some ideas for what to do.
3. Catch Me If You Can
This is an excellent activity for a group of kids to get to know each other for the first time. Divide the group of kids into two sections. Line them all up facing each other.
Give the group approximately 90 seconds to look at the kids in the line in front of them. Next, have the kids turn facing away from the opposite team. Each line of kids will now have their backs to each other. Set the timer for one minute, and each group of kids needs to change several things about their appearance. For example, they could put their shirt on backward, move their watch from one wrist to another, untie their shoes, etc. The changes should be noticeable but discrete.
The players should turn and face each other. Each team should take note of the changes that have been made. The team that identifies the most changes wins. This is a great way to help kids see everyone in the group and identify people they can make friends with.
4. Team Scavenger Hunt
This works best when two groups of kids have never met each other before. It could be two families getting together for an outing, two classes meeting for the first time, or two teams that will need to work cooperatively in the future.
Make teams of two that are comprised of one kid from each group. Give each group picture cards or a list, depending on their age, and then have them search as a team for these items. You get the best results if you have different teams looking for mostly different items. However, one or two items should be the same on all lists.
A scavenger hunt is an excellent way for kids to get to know each other. It allows them to exercise team-building skills and build lasting friendships.
5. Play “That’s Me”
For this game, have all the kids sit in a circle. The first kid stands up and says something about themselves. They might say that their favorite food is pizza, their favorite color is red, or their favorite animal is a cat.
Everyone who has the same likes as a kid who just shared should all stand up and say, “That’s me!” The person who just started the fact about themselves will choose someone else to share a fact about themselves to start the next round.
This is a great game to help children make friends because children can feel different or isolated from others. However, when they see that other children in the group have the same likes or dislikes as they do, they have a basis for building friendships.
6. Show Children How to Play
Parents can pretend that they are part of a group of kids playing with their children. The parent can encourage their child to join in the fun. Teach the child to say things like, “What are you playing?” or “How do I join the game?” This is better than simply asking, “Can I play with you?” If a child asks a group of children if they can play with them, the group can say no. The child will walk away feeling discouraged and afraid to try to reach out again.
Take the time to explain to your child what body language means. Some children are more intuitive than others. Ask your child questions like, did you smile, how can you tell if someone is upset, and how can you tell if someone wants to talk to you? Role-playing activities like these are a great way to help children learn to develop social skills that are conducive to making friends.
7. Go to a Summer Day Camp
Summer day camp is an excellent way for children to learn the social skills needed to make and keep friends. Most children, after they have gone to a safe kids camp one time, can’t wait for camp to come around again.
A safe kids camp promotes independence. It helps children make time for play. Activities promote teamwork and resiliency. These two skills are essential to help children push ahead when there is a setback. Summer camp in New Jersey gives children the opportunity to enjoy screen-free activities while connecting with nature and building self-esteem.
Kids get to meet other kids with similar interests in a relaxed camp setting. They are able to bond over their shared camp experience and challenges. They are in a media-free and distraction-free environment and will build genuine friendships that last.
Chartwell’s Happy Day Camp is a summer camp for families living in Marlton and the surrounding areas. Located at Chartwell Family Oasis, our camp provides children with the tools they need to enjoy life, make friends, and build their self-esteem. Contact us today to learn more about the beautiful activities Chartwell’s Happy Day Camp has in store for your children.
Phone number: 1-865-983-8827
Address: 136 Paragon Ave., Suite A, Marlton, NJ 08053