16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You) (2024)

Inside: Our favorite friendship activities for preschoolers strengthen social skills, which help kids build healthy relationships. Healthy friendships are critical to kids’ overall happiness. Research shows that people who have strong social skills and positive relationships are happier than those who aren’t. Friendship is an important life skill, one that kids will use throughout their lives.

We were driving a friend to preschool when I heard trouble brewing in the backseat. “Can I try?” our friend asked.


“No, I want it,” he finally replied. This was the third day in a row.

I don’t usually make my kids share, but I will help him think through and make a good decision. After preschool that day, we had a chat about some friendship skills. Unfortunately, making a kind decision usually takes more than just a little chat.

How do you teach friendship?

One of the best ways to teach friendship is to model friendship in your interactions with kids and others. By being kind and modeling friendship skills, kids will learn what it feels like to have a good friend, and then how to be a good friend.

Modeling social-emotional skills such as kindness, thoughtfulness, and empathy with how you treat kids is an excellent way to teach them how to use those skills in their own relationships.

Integrating friendship activities and discussions throughout your day also helps young children learn friendship skills as a way of life. They learn we’re good listeners, we’re caring friends, and we look out for each other.

16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You) (1)

Fun Activities that Teach Toddlers and Preschoolers Friendship Skills

Board Games

Board games are great for teaching social skills. Playing board games gives children an opportunity to practice teamwork, cooperation, strategy, patience, good sportsmanship, and empathy.

You can add in some academic skills as well. Adding a deck of cards to any board game turns it into a fun way to learn academic skills. This is a fun way to practice letter identification, number recognition, rhyming, addition, subtraction, or any memorization skill. If you’re working on letter identification, just write a letter on each card. Before your turn, you must draw a card, and identify the letter. The trick is your kiddo has to check you because you just might get one wrong.

Our favorite games to strengthen social skills are cooperative games.

Kindness Challenge

One of the most important traits of a good friend is kindness. We are drawn to people who are kind, and when kids focus on being kind to others, this helps strengthen their relationships. Grab our free Kindness Adventure Pack for 10 Secret Missions that give acts of kindness to complete and Social Situation cards that’ll get your kiddos excited about showing kindness to others.

Super Kid Adventures

16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You) (3)

Super Kid Adventures is an online course for kids that teaches friendship, empathy, perseverance, responsibility, and wellness. The lessons and activities in this course help kids activate their superpowers of friendship.


Research shows that when you read a book your brain reacts to this story as if you are living in this story, which makes reading a powerful way to practice kindness and empathy. These are our favorite books that highlight the importance of friendship, and model how to be a great friend.

43 Children’s Books about Friendship that Teach How to be a Good Friend

Let Them Practice

Using social stories is a powerful way to help kids think through social situations before they encounter them in real life. A social story is simply a story about a situation they may encounter. Stop the story before you tell the ending to ask your child “What would you do?” This can help build kindness, empathy, perseverance, and strong relationship skills. Grab our free Kindness Adventure Pack that includes social situation stories.

Secret Mission: Perseverance

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Our Secret Mission: Perseverance pack is full of 16 fun activities for kids to strengthen perseverance. Completing challenges together is a great way for kids to strengthen relationship skills. Kids have fun, connect, and have an opportunity to use empathy, friendship, and teamwork.

16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You) (5)

Are you tired of hearing “It’s TOO HARD!” followed by a meltdown?

Using this one simple phrase you’ll get in this powerful lesson, you’ll not only be able to help your kiddo not give up but you’ll:

>Activate their superpower of perseverance so that they can turn around a meltdown and keep trying

>Inspire them to use perseverance…even when it’s hard

>Teach them to recognize the warning signs of giving up, and how to turn it around by taking control of their choices.

Grab your powerful FREE video lesson to teach your kiddo one of the most powerful keys to perseverance.

Role Play

Role play is another powerful way to help kids think through social situations before they encounter them. Playing doctor, grocery store, teacher, house, or any imaginative play is good practice for relating to others, helping other people, and strengthening relationship skills. You can find our favorite things to role-play here.

Art Projects

Working on art projects together is a great way to practice teamwork and celebrate ideas different than your own. Presenting kids with a challenge like creating a leprechaun trap (in March), or making a disguise for a turkey to hide from a hunter (in November) will give them an excellent opportunity to practice cooperation while having fun and using their creativity. For younger children, even drawing a picture or fingerprinting together is a great way to practice teamwork. This is also a great way to practice fine motor skills.

Me Too

Friendship is strengthened when we find things we have in common with others. To play “Me Too,” have everyone sit in a circle. One at a time, have a student stand in the middle of the circle and say something they love. It could be their favorite animal, favorite activity, favorite food, or color. Maybe a fact about their family. After they’ve said their fact, anyone who has that thing in common with the person in the middle will raise their hand. This gives kids a chance to see how much they have in common with their friends.

This is a great activity for a new school year because it helps young children learn classmates’ names, and will create connections between new friends that’ll get your year off to a great start.

Friendship Fingerprints

To make friendship fingerprints all you need is an ink pad and a piece of paper. Go around the room and have everyone put a fingerprint on the paper. To make a picture out of the fingerprints, such as a flower, use some fingerprints for the flower, the stem, the leaf, and even the sun. After you’re done making the picture, look at it and have a discussion about how all of the fingerprints are different. Just like kids, everyone is different and unique, but important and special.

Work Together

Open-ended games that have kids using teamwork are a great opportunity to practice friendship skills. Activities like building blocks, playing dolls, or even working together on a challenge like which team can build the tallest tower, all provide kids with opportunities to strengthen their relationship skills.

Friendship Chain

Gather everyone around and brainstorm ideas on how you can be kind to your friends. Once you have a list, write each idea on a piece of paper and make a paper chain. Every day tear one loop off the chain and do the activity. To get you started with ideas, grab our free kindness adventure pack and write each mission idea on a loop.

Make A List

First, you’ll want to decide on the characteristics of a good friend. Talk with your kiddo about the characteristics of their friends. Why does your kiddo want to be friends with this person? What makes this person so special? They will probably list things like they’re fun, kind, and silly.

Dive deeper into those questions and ask what do they do that’s kind? How are they fun? What makes them thoughtful? Once you have a list of things you like about your friends, it’s easier to come up with a list of how to be a good friend.

Sharing Kind Words

Kids LOVE it when others give them compliments. Kids need to learn how to say (and appreciate) the good things about others, but hearing what others appreciate about them is also life-giving. If you’re in a large group, you can draw names and give a compliment to the person you drew a name to, or if it’s just your family, each person gives a compliment to each member of the family. We do this weekly during our family meetings.

Don’t forget to teach how to give a meaningful compliment. The compliment should be something meaningful that the receiver of the compliment has worked hard on. Not something they didn’t do anything for such as “I like your shirt”, but something that recognizes how hard the person worked that week such as “I noticed you worked really hard on your reading homework this week.”

Scavenger Hunts

Going on a scavenger hunt together will give young children an opportunity to use teamwork, patience, and problem-solving together. Scavenger hunts are simple games to set up, and kids love finding treasures. You can do a scavenger hunt with one child or a whole class.

Obstacle Course

Kids love obstacle courses and will have a great time cheering for each other as they complete the tasks in front of them. You can set up obstacles outdoors or make an obstacle course indoors with painter’s tape on the floor. Watching and encouraging others is a simple way to help children practice empathy and encouragement.

Teaching friendship (and any skill) takes intentionality. It takes more than just matching two picture cards that go together or making friendship bracelets. Teaching friendship takes intentional teaching and the practice of several social skills. I’m thankful you’re willing to put in the effort, your kids will benefit from it for their entire lives.

Oh, and back to the car ride to preschool. The next time we took our friend to preschool, (and every day since) he was actually excited to share with her because he feels proud to be a good friend.

Want More?

25 Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

15 Powerful Problem-Solving Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

43 Children’s Books about Friendship that Teach How to be a Good Friend

Your Turn:

How do you teach your kids the important skill of friendship?

16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You) (2024)


16 Meaningful Friendship Activities Preschoolers Love (That are Simple for You)? ›

How preschoolers make friends. In their preschool years, the most common way of finding friends is through play. Playing together allows children to develop key skills that will serve them into adulthood – skills like sharing, listening to others, cooperating, communicating and taking turns.

How do you teach pre K about friendship? ›

Ways to Teach Kids about Friendship
  • Talk about What Friends Are. ...
  • Read Books about Friends. ...
  • Practice Friendly Character Traits. ...
  • Tell Stories about Friendship for Kids. ...
  • Don't Overreact to Age-Appropriate Behavior. ...
  • Celebrate Your Own Friendships. ...
  • Start with Small Groups. ...
  • Make Gifts for Friends.
May 22, 2023

How do you build friendship in preschool? ›

How preschoolers make friends. In their preschool years, the most common way of finding friends is through play. Playing together allows children to develop key skills that will serve them into adulthood – skills like sharing, listening to others, cooperating, communicating and taking turns.

What makes a good friend activity? ›

Play a game

Ask everyone what it means to be a good friend. They may have ideas like sharing, helping people who are struggling, and being kind and helpful. Everyone should stand in a line in the middle of the space. Read out one of the 'Friendship scenarios'.

Why are friendship activities important? ›

Friendship is an important concept for preschoolers to learn and one that will continue to play a big role in their lives as they grow. By incorporating friendship activities into your lessons, you will help children develop crucial social skills like relating to others, sharing, listening, and taking turns.

How can a teacher promote children's developing friendships? ›

7 ways to help your students make friends
  1. Get to know your students. ...
  2. Create a strong classroom culture. ...
  3. Pair students strategically. ...
  4. Give students responsibilities. ...
  5. Use sharing activities. ...
  6. Find out about social skills groups. ...
  7. Praise the positive.

How do I teach my 4 year old to make friends? ›

It's a good idea to start with playdates with 1-2 friends rather than a lot of children. Just one friend can work well if your child is shy or slow to warm up in social situations. You can start by talking with your child about who they play with, why they like playing with them and what they like to play.

How do you help children learn about friendship? ›

Explain to them that being a good friend involves caring and sharing, as well as being kind and being a good listener. You can also talk about how friends make you feel happy and how they can help you when you're feeling sad or upset. As a parent, you're one of the most important role models in your child's life.

What are the three stages children develop ideas of friendship? ›

Children usually have one to several close friendships and these are the friends they spend the most amount of time and have the most things in common. There is a three-stage sequence in which children develop ideas of friendship. These stages are friendship understanding, friendship skills, and friendship valuing.

How can I make friendship easy? ›

How to Start a Friendship
  1. Start the conversation. When you're with someone you'd like to know better, start a conversation. ...
  2. Show interest. Even if you're just meeting someone, you can make them feel comfortable by asking the right questions and being a good listener. ...
  3. Smile. ...
  4. Share. ...
  5. Do a small favor. ...
  6. Keep it going.
Feb 6, 2024

How to make friends game for kids? ›

5 Friendship Games for Young Children
  1. The Matching Game. Give each child one item (could be a block, marble, crayon, etc.). ...
  2. That's Me! One child stands in front of the other children and shares a fact about themselves, such as their favorite color or favorite animal. ...
  3. Where is my Friend? ...
  4. Friendly Musical Chairs.

How to be a good friend lesson plan kindergarten? ›

Class Instructions:

Once students have thought about it, ask them to share how they know they are good friends. After a few examples have been given, tell students, “Today, we are going to discuss the qualities of a good friend.” 2. Ask students to share what they feel are the qualities of good friends.

What is friendship in simple words? ›

What is friendship in simple words? Friendship is a close relationship between two or more people who care about and support each other. It is built on trust, honesty, and mutual respect. Friends often share common interests and experiences, and enjoy spending time together.

Why is friendship important for kids? ›

Friends are vital to school-age children's healthy develop- ment. Research has found that children who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties later in life. Friendships provide children with more than just fun playmates. Friendships help children develop emotionally and morally.

How to build positive friendships? ›

8 Habits to Keep Your Friendships Strong
  1. Touch Base Weekly. ...
  2. Schedule Regular Hangouts. ...
  3. Experience Something New Together. ...
  4. Embrace Their Interests. ...
  5. Be Vulnerable With Them. ...
  6. Do Something Special “Just Because” ...
  7. Tackle a Health Challenge Together. ...
  8. Send Them Snail Mail.

How would a typical preschooler define a friend? ›

The words fun, nice, and play are often used when describing our companions. For younger children, instead of “mutual or shared interests,” try “someone who likes the same stuff we do” or “enjoys the same things.” However, it's not only words that young ones understand; it's their parent's tone as well.

How do children's concepts of friendship develop? ›

Similarly, young children view friends as playmates whom they like and spend time around; later, they begin to describe the admirable qualities of their friends; finally, children emphasize the importance of acceptance, loyalty, intimacy, and common interests to friendship (Bigelow, 1977; Bigelow & LaGaipa, 1975).

What questions should I ask my preschooler about friendship? ›

Open-ended questions about friendship

Try to get your kids to open up to you, by asking them the easy questions first. -What makes someone a good friend? (Or, a bad friend?) -Who at your school would you like to get to know better? -Tell me about someone who made you feel special today.


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