“One of the most beautiful qualities of a true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
Growing up it was difficult for me to make friends. Some of the key phrases I was told included: “it is a natural process,” “the sky is full of many stars, but having one friend is larger than the universe,” and “smile to everyone you walk past.”
As an adult, however, I realize that, despite these struggles, establishing a friendship is important to celebrate the good times and to have support during the difficult times. My article this month focuses on friendship by providing activity ideas, books, and links to articles. All activities can be done virtually.
Activity #1: The Friendship Mural
The purpose of a friendship mural is to offer an artistic opportunity to express your friendship. To do this, each friend chooses an artistic format such as a painting or drawing, and then creates something that represents their friendship. Some ideas include a favorite memory, a special phrase, a special message, and attributes each person brings to the friendship. Here is a list of suggested materials for this activity:
- Painting supplies (watercolor, tempera, and paint brushes)
- Cardstock or construction paper
- Canvas (optional)
- Copies of photos of past experiences
- Any other material you would like to use to artistically express your friendship
Children can meet together online as they work on the mural. Once the mural is complete, each child can take a photo of their part of the mural. With the help of a grownup, the photos will need to be copied and pasted into in a document that can be shared electronically. If possible, show the individual projects side by side so the children can see their mural as one large picture.
Activity #2: The Friendship Plant
The friendship plant is a symbol of growth in a friendship — and a little time spent getting dirty is fun. For this activity, you will need the following materials:
- Plastic cup (to hold dirt and water)
- Small bag of potting soil
- Bean seeds
Here are directions for completing this activity.
You can decorate the plastic cup with stickers, stick on jewels, or just write the name of the friend. Children can write a special note to their friend. During these difficult times, it may be difficult for friends to be together. I suggest that you arrange a time to drop the plant off at their home. Next, wait a week or two and chat online to see what your plants look like.
Articles on Friendship
- “Children and the Benefits of Friendship,” Life Education, not dated
- “Why It Is Important for Our Children to Have Friends,” Bob Livingstone, LCSW, MentalHelp.net, not dated
- “Early Friendships Profoundly Affect Child’s Development,” Dr. Paul Schwartz, Hudson Valley Parent, not dated
- “Kids Who Need a Little Help to Make Friends,” Child Mind Institute, not dated
- “How Kids Make and Keep Friends,” Vincent Ianelli, MD, Verywell Family, 21 Aug 2020