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Best Friends Forever: Preschool Friendship Activities for Kids

Let’s explore preschool friendship activities and discuss how to foster friendship in your child’s life.

How do you teach friendship to preschoolers?

preschool friendship activities

The best way to teach friendship to a preschooler is by modelling being a good friend to someone. By following their parents’ lead, preschoolers will see the benefit of making friends and learn what it means to be a good friend.

Encourage your child to show love and kindness in the way they play with other children. Make sure you give them plenty of opportunities to form friendships by inviting friends over for playdates or going on excursions together as a family. Helping others is one of the best ways preschoolers can learn how to be a good friend, so make sure they know that kindness is contagious.

Why is friendship important in early childhood?

preschool friendship activities

Young children may not have school friends if they do not go to preschool or daycare. So parents can encourage friendship building and help their child develop social skills by participating in other kinds of small groups and activities. Even kids with school friends benefit from these kind of activities away from school or daycare.

Perhaps you are an at home parent, work at home parent, or a home educator. Maybe you are a preschool teacher, or work with preschoolers in any capacity. Whatever your situation is… as an adult around preschool kids, you have the opportunity to help them develop friendships and foster their social development.

One of the most important things preschoolers need to learn is how to relate with others. Friendships are important because they help preschoolers feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, as well as give them the opportunity to explore their own identity.

Friendship also helps children develop empathy skills which means that your preschooler may be more likely to share or play nice if he has friends around.

Preschoolers need to learn that kindness is contagious.

What are some ways preschoolers can show love and kindness?

There are many ways preschoolers can show love and kindness to their friends. One way is by being compassionate–a preschooler may want a friend to feel better when they’re upset. They may offer a hug or share a toy.

A preschooler may have difficulty sharing, but sharing something with a friend may be the thing that really helps a friend. It’s best if the child knows that it is temporary and the friend won’t keep the toy, but sharing the best one of his favorite toys or a snack really demonstrates love.

preschool friendship activities are fun

Another way preschoolers can show love and kindness is by being respectful of others’ feelings–if one preschooler likes what the other preschooler has, the first preschooler could ask if he/she can borrow it for awhile instead of taking it without permission. This can also be a difficult thing for a child to learn, but it is so beneficial in the long run in developing kindness.

What makes a good friend in the early years?

Preschool friendship activities are dependent upon the stages of play that toddlers progress through. Take a peek into the stages of play that toddlers go through in order to better understand how they form friendships. Toddler play can be divided into four stages that provide opportunities for parents and other caregivers to nurture age-appropriate skills: 

Solitary Play

The first stage of play (from a few months old to about 18 months old) is when one child plays alone. They do not want to interact with other children. They have a preference for toys that involve sound, lights, or things to mouth. They enjoy watching toys fall on the ground when they are playing with containers which have many different pieces in them (blocks, small dolls, toy cars). Babies and toddlers also like to play games where they can put things in containers and take them out again.

Babies first start playing with toys alone.  They do not interact with other children.  They explore toys.

Parallel Play

When a child is 18 to 36 months old, he or she may be able to start playing with other children. They will not know how to play with other younger children very well. This is called parallel play. It can happen when two children are using the same toy or game and do not interact much with each other. When a child starts playing more often with others, he or she learns that it can be fun to pass things back and forth and see it’s a fun way to play together.

Symbolic Play

Symbolic play is when kids pretend that things are other things. For example, they might pretend that a basket of balls is apples from an imaginary tree. Kids this age usually do this around 3 or 4 years old. This way, the child can understand and communicate about the world around them better because of their basic symbolic concepts. Toys that are appropriate for this stage include baby dolls, stuffed animals, doctor kits, and dress-up clothes.

preschool friendship activities

Cooperative Play

Cooperative play is when one or two children work together, and they pretend to do things that adults, family members, and children do in real life. One example of this is when all the children pick a situation to act out. For instance they may dress up in a fire fighter costume, get into a paper box fire engine, drive fast to an emergency, and put out a fire or save a kitten who couldn’t get down from a tree.

Each child is unique and their age will dictate the type of fun activities they engage in. In addition to considering your toddler’s temperaments, it’s important that you also spend time playing with them because this teaches skills such as sharing and turn-taking which are integral for a successful social life later on.

How do you nurture friendships for children?

Model how to take turns and play with toys that build cooperation in preschoolers.

Toddlers are in their own little world. Their social skills can be lacking and it is important for them to not only have an understanding of the way society works, but also make friends as they grow up. To help toddlers enjoy each other’s company more than just playing together or fighting over toys, parents can promote preschool friendship activities with a few steps that will improve toddler relationships with others: 

-Find activities both kids like. Does your child’s friend play with legos or trains or mermaids? Find preschool activities that will help them develop into being good friends.

-Give children the opportunity to make friends by taking your kids to places other children are. Story time at a local library or community family events are great places to meet people. You can set up play dates with potential playmates. If you see a child that your preschooler gets along with well, ask if they want to be friends!

In order to nurture preschool friendships, it’s important that preschoolers are given plenty of opportunities to form friendships. Parents should remain positive and supportive of preschool friendships, while ensuring that preschoolers know the importance of being a good friend to others. I have to admit, my best friend from Kindergarten is still a good friend today. So these friendships may last a lifetime.

Preschool friendship activities improve these social skills

preschool friendship activities


At the age of two, children might be willing to share a snack with their friends. However, by the time they’re three or four years old and have better grasp on how things work in society, many kids are not ready to part with what little resources they possess such as half a chocolate chip cookie because it means that there’s less for them. Kids might readily give up something like an outgrown toy but refuse when it’s something they really want for themselves. But if you take away one toy which they’re no longer interested in playing with and ask them about sharing again–they’ll likely agree!


Cooperation is an important skill that young children can start developing by as early as three and a half years old. This allows them to work with peers on common goals, such the building of towers or playing games where everyone has to participate. Cooperation empowers kids in two ways: it gives some leadership opportunities while other feel more comfortable following instructions from someone else’s lead – all depending on their personality type. This can be an opportunity for self-discovery!


Manners matter. Whether you’re at the dinner table, in a classroom full of kids and teachers, or just playing with friends. One of the most important things you can do for your child is teach them to say please and thank you when they ask for something. This will help them be polite and respectful, so that adults are happy to give them what they want.

Practice manners by using stuffed animals to act out stories where one character is kind towards another. Keep it fun so that your children remember this lesson! If you see your child use a magic word like “thank you” then make sure to reward their good behavior by acknowledging them.

Personal Space

Some kids do not like to be close to other people. Other kids crawl into the laps of strangers. It is important to teach children about personal space. This is so they do not make other people feel uncomfortable.

Create rules for the house that teach kids to respect other people’s personal space. If your child grabs things out of people’s hands or pushes when impatient, establish consequences. If your child climbs into the laps of acquaintances or stands too close to people while talking, use it as a teachable moment. Take your child aside and provide some coaching about personal space issues.

toys that encourage friendship

What are some preschool friendship activities that can improve social skills?

-The preschool “show and tell” is a great activity to introduce kids to social skills.

-Use a single toy and have preschoolers take turns playing with it.

-Read friendship stories.

-Encourage kids to help each other complete tasks, such as building towers out of blocks or putting away toys while teaching them about the process: “You put one block on top.”

-Pretend play, which often involves cooperation or sharing resources with peers in the game can teach preschoolers valuable lessons about expressing feelings of empathy for others as well.

-Encourage time together outside of school hours for preschool friends to do an extra curricular or hobby that you know both kids enjoy. For example, if two children love playing soccer together, plan a playdate at the nearby park and bring their gear!

-Discuss the importance of kindness, empathy and manners with preschoolers.

-Model these behaviors by being thoughtful about how your own words or actions might affect others. For example, if you want to talk on a phone call while grocery shopping but there is someone waiting for an aisle so they can buy their groceries, apologize that you need to continue your call and step aside so that they can move forward, or tell them you’ll be done in a moment.

What are some creative toys that encourage preschooler friendship?

Toddlers need ways to express themselves creatively. Creative activities like building with blocks or drawing can help toddlers develop social skills such as turn taking and sharing. Parents can encourage preschooler creativity by introducing new and different toys to their child’s play space like a shape sorter, small doll house or art supplies.

Some toys that I recommend that you can use to create friendship themed activities to help preschoolers learn with a friend:

Musical Instrument Sets

Duplo Blocks

Basic Wooden Blocks


Stuffed Animals

friendship activities that promote sharing

Ideas for preschool friendship activities

There are lots of fun things preschool children can do together. These are just a few ideas to get you going:

Pretend Play

Provide opportunities for pretending with puppets, dress up clothes, boxes that can become rocket ships, trucks, rooms, and more.


Sing, dance or play musical instruments together. Find ways to help one another and be a good friend

Show and Tell

Each child gets to show the other children something. This is a chance for each child to practice good social skills. Be sure and have enough things for everyone so no one will feel left out if they forget their favorite toy or book.

Arts & Crafts

Make art projects together like finger paint, coloring and drawing, and other messy and fun activities.

Tea Party

Share snacks or meals in the same chair so that you’re sitting side by side.

Indoor Picnic

Invite friends over for an indoor picnic. Pack sandwiches in a picnic basket and set the table ware on a blanket.

Cooperative Games

Play cooperative games like tag, hide and seek, patty cake, scavenger hunt, and musical chairs.

Fun ways to celebrate friendship and plan a friendship theme party at home

If you plan a friendship preschool theme party you can let children decorate and plan the preschool friendship activities for the party. Ideas to include:

friendship bracelets

Let children cut and color squares to make a friendship quilt. This can be done with construction paper and papers can be taped to the wall.

Sing favorite songs and use fun songs with actions to dance and have fun!

Literacy activities include reading friendship stories and picture books like:

Encourage play that requires cooperation like building blocks, racing through an obstacle course, or a scavenger hunt.

What happens if preschool friends argue with one another?

If your preschool friend is mad at you, it’s important to understand that preschoolers are still developing their understanding of feelings. The best way to deal with this is by listening and trying not to interrupt or argue back.

– make up games like “let’s forget about the argument”

– brainstorm ways they could be friends again

– say sorry first so your preschool friend knows you’re sorry too

– take turns and be the first to say something nice

– try a hug again when preschool friends are mad at each other.

These don’t always work, but they can help.

What if preschoolers feel lonely?

Feeling lonely is very normal for preschool children, so it’s important that we help them know they’re not alone. Reassure preschoolers that they are loved and cared for, by making time to be with them or doing a special activity just the two of you can do together.

What happens when a child loses a friend because families move or a loved one dies?

This can be a very difficult time for friends, and it may take them a while to adjust. Encourage your child by being sensitive about their feelings. Kids might not always want to talk about these feelings. Offer support when needed. Make sure you’re there for the child if he or she needs someone to listen to them.

I recently had a young friend move. He was four years old. He had been in my early childhood preschool music classes since he was a baby. We were both sad (and happy) and his move. So I wrote this song about friendship and moving. I find music is the universal language and speaks that to which there are no words. I hope this song helps you if you ever find yourself in this position too.


A preschooler’s friendships will grow and change throughout their preschool years. It is important for a preschooler to have friends. Help them get friends by being a good friend too – be kind, helpful, generous, and forgiving of others. Have fun together as much as you can! What your friends should know is that they are growing and changing with time.

Resource for Parents

I love finding resources to help me in my parenting journey. This book may be helpful if you are looking for ideas in raising kids who are kind and respectful to others.

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through the link, I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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