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Fall is for Friends!

My middle started Kinder this year... which is just crazy to type.

When I asked her what her favorite part of school was, can you guess what she said? "Playing with my friends!"

I just love how quickly she calls her brand new buddies, "friends." It really is a sweet thing about the start of a new school year! Making new friends.

Then there's my oldest. Going to school isn't as easy for her, and it takes a minute for her to warm up! But, finding old friends again after a summer away is a huge comfort to her at school!

Isn't that the way it is with some of the kids we work with? Some just jump right into interaction; some it takes a little longer. And that's ok!!

Here are some ways to foster friendships in your classes or groups!

3 Ways to Foster Friendships

1. Use a Hello Song!

Create opportunities for interaction with a "hello" song to start each session or circle time! Starting in a consistent way helps ease the transition, and also provides space to stop and say hello to each other!

Say, Hi, (check it out on youtube, or listen on Spotify or wherever you stream!) is a hello

song that encourages kindness, gives suggestions for how we can say hello, and is a great reminder that we can all say hello in our own way!

Say Hi! Wave hello!

Bump your fists, or tap elbows!

It's not so hard, you will find,

if you choose to be kind.

Be kind. Lend a hand.

Say something nice, and make a friend!

It's not so hard, you will find,

if you choose to be kind.

Tell a joke. Make em smile.

Give a hug, or stay a while.

You will find it's not too hard!

Share the love that's in your heart.

If you want to take it a step further, you can re-write the song with your own ways to say hi or spread kindness!

This printable is part of the Friends and Feelings Bundle (a collection of 10 songs + a 98-page pdf packed with the chord sheets, songwriting sheets, and printable visuals and books!).

2. Talk About Ways to Be a Friend!

While making friends is intuitive to some, for most young children and many older children (and even up to adults, honestly!), requires a degree of learning! What are some ways to make a friend? How can I BE a friend?

In the video above, I share a song To Make a Friend (find it on streaming services, too!) and talk about some of the struggles!

To make a friend, here's what you do

...wave hello! ...ask to play!

...share your toys ...share your heart!

when you want to make a friend

being kind is where to start

you will find it's fun to share

when you learn to share your heart.

Psst this one's in the Friends and Feelings Bundle, too!

3. Leave time to PLAY!

Whether it's structured or unstructured, create space for play to happen!

  • Spread out instruments and wait! Nod as they reach toward the instruments to encourage them. Listen to the sounds they make! Ask them questions about what they hear or what they like! Allow them to work through sharing and listening to each other's music!

  • Listen to a favorite song and take turns as you listen! FREEZE the music when it's time to pass to a friend!

  • Or play a song and dance together! I'm Feeling Silly is a fun one that gets kids moving! And there's something about HUMOR that connects us! Laugh together! Move together! Be silly together! And when you're done (*BONUS*) breathe together, so you're calm and ready to learn!

I'm feeling silly! I've got a giggle.

My hands a busy. My legs have got a wiggle!

My body's feeling tingly,

I don't know what to do!

Oh wait! If i feel silly it helps to....

JUMP!... STOMP!... CLAP!.... breathe.

I'm feeling calm.

I've cured my giggle.

My hands are quiet.

My legs no longer wiggle.

My body's feeling better. I'm ready to go.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

And don't forget your FREE Say, Hi chord sheet and printable!

Have fun making friends and playing together!

Spread JOY! <3, Patina Joy

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