Back-to-School is a time of anticipation and excitement. It’s also a time for friendships to be renewed, continued, or begun. This week, we’ll look at activities that have to do with friends and friendship.
Pre-K Crowd: It’s likely your pre-K child has experience with friendship through playgroups, classes, and nursery school. Even the youngest get it that some kids smile back and some do not. They also get it that playing on the playground can be more fun with a few other kids. For this week, ask your little guy to tell you about his/her friend. Ask what it is that makes that person special. What makes it more fun to be with that person than another? What things do they do that he/she might not do with another kid? Then make a book with pictures and words that tell the tale of that friendship. It’s okay if your child has more than one friend to include. Some kids–like my youngest–consider any child he/she’s ever met to be a friend. To do this exercise, we’d need to set a limit on the number of friends to include! Other kids may have trouble coming up with even one friend. In that case, ask about a sibling, a cartoon character, or a favorite stuffed animal that they like to hang out with. The main thing is to talk about what makes a friendship and then to write about that.
Grades K-1: This is a social group. You child will have a friend. Maybe even a very best friend. Ask your child to describe that friend in a picture or in words, or in both. Then ask your child to describe what makes that person special to him/her. It might take a while for that to make sense, so in the meantime, ask your child to tell you about some of the best fun they’ve had together. If your child is still stuck, start him/her off with a prompt like: I love to ____________ with __________ because, or I had the best time ever when I __________ with _____________. Write it up in a little book you can make out of paper or on looseleaf paper that you keep in a binder or a folder of his/her work. Don’t forget to use the journal for ideas about fun if your child gets stuck.
Grade 2: I’m a huge fan of all kids, but kids in the 2nd grade are true characters. They’re funny like younger kids and confident like other kids, but they’re also not really sure about most things. They spend a lot of time trying to look wise. So let’s give them a break and be clear about what we want. Let’s give them a prompt like, I have lots of friends. Some of them are ___________________, or I love to _________________ with my friends because, or One time I _____________ with ____________. With kids younger than this, you might need to help them along. With 2nd graders, once they know what you want, they’ll be off and running to show you that of course they can do this. Please don’t dive right in and correct spelling and grammar. Just read the story or, better yet, ask your child to read it to you and enjoy the shared moment. Have your child save the paper in a binder or folder for his/her work.
Grades 3-5: These kids know how to write a simple answer. They also have a lot of experience with friends. We can ask them a more general question about friendship and expect an interesting answer. How about asking your child to write to this prompt: Friends are important to me because _________. Ask them to give you three examples to go with the reason. Again, don’t jump in to correct anything. Have your child read you the answer and then take a few moments to talk about what your child has written.
The more comfortable you are when do this activity, the more your child is going to look forward to these times with you. Personally, I’d break out the milk and cookies.