This is a GREAT activity for a friendship or social skills group that I learned about from my best friend and counseling colleague, Sally. The activity asks students to create an “Ideal Friend” puppet that represents the qualities that they look for in a friend. As the students come to understand the type of friends that they are looking for, they will realize that “in order to HAVE good friends, you need to BE a good friend” and exemplify those qualities yourself. I did this activity with six 1st grade boys, but it could be very effective with any group of elementary-aged students!
For this activity you will need:
- Brown paper bags (lunch sacks)
- Markers or crayons
- White paper strips (5/student)
- Glue sticks
First, have students brainstorm a list of qualities that they look for in a friend. Examples include someone who is funny, nice, caring, generous, thoughtful – you get the picture. As students name these qualities, create a list for them (this will help the younger ones with spelling later!) Then, ask students to choose 5 of the qualities and write them on the white strips of paper. Next, they will glue the white strips of paper onto the back of their paper bags (the side without the flap). The back of the students’ puppets should look something like this…here is Sally’s example!
Once students have glued their five qualities onto the back of their puppets, they will have the chance to draw their ideal friend! Here is Sally’s example…(what a smile, right?!)
And my example…(what long arms, right?!)
As the students are drawing their ideal friends, generate a discussion about the qualities that they look for in a friend. Tie this discussion into the idea that in order to HAVE good friends, we have to BE a good friend. Ask students how they can be better friends and what steps they can take to make good friends here at school.
This activity was fun, educational, AND gave students something tangible to take home from group – hello, positive PR for parents, teachers, and administrators! I’ll definitely use it again in the future – and hope that you will too!