Has there ever been a better time to help our children learn the values of respect, kindness, generosity, empathy, and the magnificence of working together? We can provide kids with opportunities to experience important values, build awareness of themselves and others, and learn life skills that will help them stop bullying and other negative behavior they’re sure to encounter at school and out in the “real world.”
Here are some teaching tips for activities that encourage and support friendship, belonging, and yes, togetherness:
The fill-in-the-blank example game
After talking to the group about a value, such as “being a good friend,” divide the class into groups. Invite each child to share an example of a time when they were a good friend. Next, ask them for an example of something they can do in the next week to be a good friend.
Ask the kids for activity ideas
Sure, this qualifies as an activity! Again, after you’re having a discussion with kids about what it means to be caring and sharing, for example, ask them how they would like to demonstrate what they’ve learned. This is a process that involves everyone and sends the message that each voice counts. And then, the group can vote on one or two activities from the list. Democracy in action.
Create a togetherness mural
Give the children a stack of magazines and scissors and have them cut out pictures of individuals, families, animals, or other images that make them think about friendship and togetherness. Put them up and talk about how their cut-outs show that people can work together, take care of each other, and help one another with just about anything.
Make friendship bracelets
This is a wonderful activity to do while telling children stories about friendship. Supply yarn and a variety of beads and have them make a bracelet to give to someone—anyone they like—to show them they’re a valued friend.
Get to know each other
Talk about ways people can be different and still be friends. Encourage them to ask each other questions. They can identify the ways they’re the same and the ways they’re different.
Do a “cooperative craft”
Place children at tables in groups, providing each group with paper and the amount of colored markers or crayons of children in the group (i.e. 3 children, 3 colors). Ask the kids to draw anything they’d like—as long as they use more than one color. Make sure they share the materials and take turns. After, ask them to explain to the class how they shared the markers/crayons. Was it easy or difficult? Why?
Do you have any other ideas about how to inspire togetherness in your classroom? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org