Establishing friendships is an important developmental goal of early childhood (Buysse, Goldman, & Skinner, 2002). Friendships established during the preschool years create valuable contexts to learn and practice skills essential to children’s social, cognitive, communicative, and emotional development (Guralnick, Neville, Hammond, & Connor, 2007). Friendships also benefit children by creating a sense of belonging and security and by lessening stress (Geisthardt, Brotherson, & Cook, 2002; Overton & Rausch, 2002). In addition, successful friendships in early childhood contribute to children’s quality of life and are considered important to life adjustment (Overton & Rausch, 2002; Richardson, & Schwartz, 1998).
Friends are vital to school-age children's healthy development. 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. In interacting with friends, children learn many social skills, such as how to communicate, cooperate, and solve problems. They practice controlling their emotions and responding to the emotions of others. They develop the ability to think through and negotiate different situations that arise in their relationships. Having friends even affects children's school performance. Children tend to have better attitudes about school and learning when they have friends there.
This is a great ice-breaker for children resulting in fun friendship bands for all to keep! A great summer camp activity :)
String beads (same colour/shape) on a pipe-cleaner. The number of beads used should equal the number of children involved in the activity
Repeat based on number of children doing this activity (Example: Use 11 different color beads to string into 11 pipe cleaners with 11 beads each if 11 children are playing!)
Give each child a pipe-cleaner with beads on it. Each child will approach their 'friends' and say “Hello… my name is ___”. Once introduced, they should swap beads. Take the giveaway bead from the top of the pipe-cleaner, and put the new bead (from the new friend) on the bottom of the pipe-cleaner.
Eventually each child will have a rainbow mix of beads from all of their friends
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.