Can Telephones

Wash two cans and be sure there are no rough edges. Use a nail to poke a hole in the bottom of each can. Tie a piece of fishing line or twine between the two cans through the holes. Use a bead to hold the string in place if you need to. Pull the line as tight as you can and speak into one can as someone else listens at the other end.

Assess

takes turns listening and speaking


Super Friends

Have the children bring in a picture of their favorite super hero. Sit in small groups and allow each child to talk about why they like that super hero. Then talk about why that super hero would make a super friend. You could write down responses and post on a bulletin board that says "We are Super Friends when we ..."

Assess

expresses feelings verbally

participates in group discussions


What is a Friend?

Sit with a small group of children and discuss what a friend is. Have some magazine cutouts of children. Tell a characteristic of each one and get the children to decide if that child would be a good friend or not. Some characteristics could be someone who lies, someone who shares, someone who tells secrets, someone who likes to ride bikes, etc. Allow the children to problem solve why each one would or would not make a good friend. Younger children may need extra help with this one.

Assess

expresses feelings verbally

talks about personal situations


Buddy Play

Have the children choose one friend to play with today. You could have matching necklaces or bracelets to help you know who is playing with whom. Or you could have 10 minute play times where every ten minutes you have the children choose a new person to play with. Older children should be able to do this on their own, but younger children or a new group of children may need you to draw names of children who will play together. If you have an odd number of children you can either allow one group to have 3 members or you can pair yourself or another teacher with the last child picked. In large group later give the children time to talk about what they did with their friends.

Assess

works and play well with others

negotiates


Group Tower

Sit in a circle in or near the block area. Begin by choosing a large block and laying it in the middle of the circle. Now take turns around the circle having each child choose a block from the shelf and place it on the tower. Continue until everyone gets a few turns or until it falls over. Part of the activity is the responsibility of everyone putting away the blocks at the end.

Assess

works well with others

responds to suggestions of others


Hand Hugs

Have the kids stand in a circle holding hands. The teacher squeezes the hand of the child standing next to her. That child squeezes the next person's hand. Continue passing the 'hand hug' around until it gets back to the teacher. Be sure and talk about how hugs are gentle and not hurtful.

Assess

shows respect for others


Musical Hugs

Dance to music. Periodically stop the music and have the children find a friend to hug. If there is an odd number of children be sure to participate so that everyone has someone to hug. You might want to begin this activity by demonstrating how to hug nicely, rather than just grabbing someone from behind. I like to stress that it is okay if someone does not want to hug you and that we have to repect their space. The key is to offer a hug by opening your arms and then if they want a hug they will open theirs back to you.

Assess

shows respect for others feelings


Pet Show

Have children bring in a stuffed animal pet to play with and sleep with during the time your are talking about pets. Then have one morning where the children sit in a circle and have their pets do tricks for the group. You could even award ribbons at the end. I like to have the children award the ribbons at the end of the event. If you make the rule that they can't give a ribbon to an animal that already has one, or if you put the animals on a shelf after they have won a ribbon, then everyone gets a chance to give a ribbon and get one too. Be sure to have a few stuffed animals handy for children who forget to bring one!

Assess

shows respect for others and their property

pays attention to others who are speaking


What I Like

Staple together 3 or 4 pages to make a small book for each child. Get with the children individually and ask them questions about the things they like. On each page write down what they said their favorites were. Then have them draw pictures of them, or cut pictures out of magazines to glue into the book. Later, the children could read these to the class. Talk about books that are similar to each other and make a point that friends are usually people who have similar likes.

Assess

shows respect for another's opinions


The Lion and the Mouse

Tell a simple version of this Aesop's Fable. Have an open discussion about how the lion didn't want to be friends but then they ended up friends because the mouse helped the lion. Encourage the children to talk about times that someone wouldn't be their friend. Explore feelings. Discuss broad ways that children can be nice to others even if they are not best friends.

Assess

attempts to explain feelings

listens to others who are speaking


Pet Needs

Talk about what a pet is and how a pet's owner has to take care of the needs of the pet because it is not free to take care of them itself. After the discussion decide as a group whether or not you will be able to get a pet. Get the class involved in gathering the materials and setting up the environment before you purchase the new pet.

Assess

predicts what others need or want

sees another perspective


Class Flag

Have your children help design and decorate a flag to represent the class. You could start by looking at flags of different countries or clubs and talk about why they are decorated as they are. Then discuss what should be on the class flag. You might even vote on a class mascot and start with drawing that onto the flag and then decorating around it. When you go on walks or field trips take the flag with you. Your children will be so proud and really feel like a classroom community.

Assess

works as a group member


Cooperative Musical Chairs

Set chairs up in a line just like in regular musical chairs, with one for each child. Play music as the children walk around the chairs. When the music stops they each sit in a chair. Now explain that you will take away a chair. If they can't find a chair to sit in when the music stops have them try to find someone who will share their chair with them. Continue playing until you have each chair with 2 children in them.

Assess

works as a group member


Stone Soup

Have the children bring in a fresh or canned vegetable. Tell a version of Stone Soup and as you say each vegetable, have the children who have that one come up and place it in the pot. During centers, allow the children to come and help wash and cut up the vegetables or open the cans. Cook the soup while they are sleeping and serve it for snack. Be sure to talk about how the story is about working together to make things better.

Assess

works as a member of the group


Who's Tapping?

Place a chair in the center of group. Have one child sit in the chair blindfolded. Secretly choose one child to sneak up behind the one in the middle and tap him on the shoulder. The child in the chair says "Who's tapping?" The other child tries to disguise his voice as he says, "It's me!" Give the child a few guesses to see if he knows who it is. Then let the child who tapped be the next blindfolded child. Some children will not want to sit in the chair. If the next child does not want to be blindfolded have them pick another person to take their turn.

Assess

adjusts well to new situations

tries new things


Leading the Blind

Have each child take a turn to be blindfolded and led around the room by a friend. Allow children to choose the person they want to lead them. Make a note of who gets picked most often, least often, and talk about how people feel about this activity. This is a true test of who you trust!

Assess

follows routines and rules

demonstrates self control


Friend Favorites

Make a chart of each child's favorite things. Include things like favorite food, favorite game, favorite color, etc. As you work with each group point out when two children have the same favorite thing and teach that our friends are usually people that like some of the same things that we do.

Assess

expresses own interests


Portrait Gallery

Have each child draw a portrait of themselves playing with a friend. Write down what they are doing in the picture. Then set up a gallery of portraits either in a hallway or on a large wall in your room. Be sure to "frame" the art by taping each paper to a piece of colored construction paper so that there is a border around it. These look great and the children enjoy looking at themselves in someone else's picture.

Assess

creates original work

draws representations


Friendship Freeze Dance

Play music just like in The Freeze. Except, when the music stops have the children find someone to give a hug to instead of just freezing. You could have them hug and then freeze to keep them from getting too rough. Make a rule that you can't hug the same person twice in a row, so that kids don't just hug one person over and over. Be sure to participate if you have an odd number of children.

Assess

participates in movement activities


Mirror Image Tag

Pair up and give each child a strip of about 6 stickers. Call out a body part. Each child tries to put a sticker on their partner's body before they get one put on theirs. This is best in smaller groups and with plenty of room to move around.

Assess

knows body part names

moves in different ways


The Enormous Carrot

Tell a simple version of this story to the children. The teacher sits on the floor as the carrot. Have one child plant a seed (that's you!) and water it so that it grows. (Grow from a ball but continue sitting on the floor.) Continue the story that the first child tried to pull the carrot out of the ground. (Have the first child try to pull you off the floor while you resist). Then have another child come up. The second child pulls on the first child, the first child pulls on the carrot. But the carrot was stuck, it wouldn't come out. Continue going through each child until the last child. Have everyone pull on each other as they pull on you. Then let them pull you up! My kids LOVE this story because of how involved I get!

Assess

follows oral directions


Friends' Voices

Use a tape recorder during group time as you have a simple discussion, or as the children are playing in centers. Later, make the tape available during centers for the children to listen to and try to figure out who is talking.

Assess

discriminates between sounds


Rhyming Names

Sit in a small group of children and make up silly rhymes with their names. Be sensitive, as some children may feel like they are being teased or their name is being made fun of. Those children can simply choose another word to make up rhymes about. Do one name at a time and have each child try to come up with a rhyme for that name, then make all the rhymes into a poem or story for fun. You may want to use a tape recorder during this activity so that you can write down the rhymes later to post for the parents to read or put in each child's memory book. Younger children may have a hard time thinking up a rhyme. Give them help by saying the name without the beginning sound on it (like ary instead of Mary) and then having them make a letter sound for the beginning (Puh - ary, Pary!) Remember that this activity is about hearing rhyming sounds, not about being accurate. Encourage the children to be silly with their words -- the sillier the better!

Assess

identifies rhyming words

recognizes letter sounds


Roll a Name

Sit in a circle. Say a friend's name and then roll the ball to them. Then that person says another friend's name and rolls the ball to them. Continue until everyone has a turn. It is okay for kids to have multiple turns as long as you have time. It will help if you make a rule that you may not roll the ball to the person who rolled it to you. For older groups who know each other very well try doing last names.

Assess

says new words (names)


Measure Up

Have children measure each other to see how tall they are. You can secure a tape measure to the wall and have them stand next to it while another friend looks at the number and writes it down. Or you can have them measure each other with string.

Assess

measures

number recognition


How Many Friends Have...?

Name a characteristic, such as 'blue eyes' and ask the children to stand if they match what you say. Count how many children stand up. Encourage the group to work together to figure out who needs to stand and who does not. You could chart the results as you go. Older children can help come up with different characteristics to look at.

Assess

describes similarities and differences

assists in creating and using graphs