Back to School: 8 Tips on How To Make Friends and A Game

8 Tips for a Great First Day! How To Make Friends!
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  1. SMILE!  I know that sounds like a small thing, but it’s huge!!!  One little smile goes a long way.  Remember that most of the kids at school are feeling just as nervous as you are, and they are looking for a friendly face!
  2. Hold your head up high and be confident.  I know you might be feeling shy, but staring at the ground will not help you make friends.  When others see you looking down or keeping a big frown or worried look on your face, they won’t realize that you are shy.  They will simply think that you don’t want to be their friend.  Remember, you are a child of God.  You are something special!  People will be as excited to get to know you as you are to get to know them.
  3. Look people in the eye, and say hello.  No one likes to feel invisible (like they are in the room, but no one sees them or cares that they are there).  When you look people in the eye and say hello, you immediately make them feel more comfortable.  Instead of looking away when you catch someone’s eye, look right back at them, smile, and wave or say, “Hello.”  Trust me.  It works!
  4. Introduce yourself.  Did I mention already that you are someone special?  So are the other kids you will meet.  There is no reason to be afraid that they don’t want to meet you.  Be brave.  Think how you feel when someone makes an effort to talk to you.  They’ll feel the same way when you make an effort to talk to them.  Here’s how you do it:  “Hi.  My name is ___________.  What’s your name?”  Easy, peasy.
  5. Ask questions.  If you don’t know what to say, ask your new friend a question.  People love to talk about themselves!  Here are some ideas:  “Are you excited about school?”  “What did you do this summer?”  “What’s your favorite subject?”  “What do you like to do for fun?”
  6. Give a compliment.  Look at your new friend.  Can you think of something nice that you noticed about him or her?  I bet you can!  Don’t you love it when someone says something nice about you?  Your new friend will, too.  How about, “I love your hair!  Did you do it yourself?” or, “Those are really cute shoes.” or, how about, “Thanks for saying hello.  I was really feeling shy, and you made my day.”
  7. Invite someone to sit by you or to play with you.  Are you nervous about who you will sit by at lunch?  Are you afraid you won’t have anyone to play with at recess?  So are the other kids!  Look for someone who doesn’t seem to know anyone.  They’ll be grateful for the invitation to play or to sit together.
  8. Be happy and positive.   No one likes to be around someone that is always grumpy and negative.  Look for the good things about situations and other people.  Choose to be happy, and your happiness will spread.  Kids will want to be around you because of your cheerful attitude and smiling face.
Practice with Role-Playing

Now that you know the techniques, it’s time to practice!  You might feel silly at first, but you’ll be a pro in no time!

  1. Ask your family to pretend to be your classmates.
  2. Hold your head up high as you enter the room, and pretend you are at school.  Practice smiling and starting conversations with your family members.
  3. Take turns.  Practice what to do when someone comes to talk to you and how to start a conversation.
  4. Have fun!  When it’s your turn to be a member of the class, make up fake names and interests to have silly conversations.  (That’s just for practicing.  You’ll want to be sure to tell the truth when you talk to your new friends.)
Motivate Yourself with Back-to-School Games

Want to be sure you don’t chicken out on the first day of school?  Try one or both of these games to reward yourself for setting goals to make friends.

Going back to school (or starting school for the first time) is a scary thing for many kids.  Most have two main fears:  Will I like my teacher?  and Will I make any friends?  I can’t help with the teacher part, but I can help with making friends!  In order to make it more fun, and to encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, I created a back to school friendship game for kids.

Back-to-School-Make-Friends-Game

This is kind of the opposite of a scavenger hunt.  Instead of looking for things to put in the container, kids are taking challenges and then eating the treats!  The goal of the game is to get the kids to be brave at school.  The challenges listed under the lids are:

  • Smile at someone
  • Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  • Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  • Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  • Find someone with the same hobby as you
  • Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you.

For shy kids (like mine), I’m hoping this will be a good reminder for them to be brave and jump out of their comfort zones to make friends at school.  Each morning, the girls pick a challenge and try to complete it that day at school.  After school, they report back to me.  If they did it, they get to open the lid and eat the treat!

Ready to make the game?  Here’s what you will need:

  • A seven-day pill box (can be found at Walmart, the Dollar Store, etc.).   These come in small and large.  I chose small because they were cheaper (and there was only one large one left).
  • Cardstock and/or scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Small foam brush or paint brush
  • If you’re lucky–some type of cutting tool- Letter stencils and regular old scissors work too!
  • Treats to fill the individual boxes.
  • Printout of first week of school ideas

back-to-school-make-friends-game-1

Begin by cutting your paper to fit the top of each lid.  Out of a contrasting paper, cut letters to fit on the lids as well.  (You could title it:  Friends, Be Happy, Service . . . whatever.  I chose “Be Happy” because I plan to use the boxes for a few other games.)

Paint Mod Podge onto the lids of each daily box, and top with your first paper.  Paint another layer of Mod Podge on top, so that it covers the paper and the plastic surrounding it.  Now top the lids with your letters and paint Mod Podge on top again.

Open the lids (so that you don’t accidentally glue them down), and allow the containers to dry.

This game contains seven challenges to help you make friends during the first week of school.  After school, you can get a treat for the challenges you tried!

be-happy-hunt-friendship-game

Print the challenges printable, and cut out the individual boxes.  Glue or tape the tasks inside the lids.  If you don’t use a permanent glue, you can remove the tasks and use the boxes for something new later.  Fill the holes with treats, and you’re ready to go!

Now–most important step–gather your kids and talk about ways to make friends at school!  Talk about smiling, saying hello, and how to make friends.  We even like to roll play entering a new classroom and meeting new kids.  (It makes a really fun family night.)  Let your kids pick their first challenge, and they’re ready to start the new school year off right!

Back-to-School Conversation Starters for Kids {Free Printable}

back-to-school-conversation-game

I changed the rules a little bit this week.  They can do more than one activity a day, and (as long as they do five things during the week) they can eat the rest of the candy on the weekend.  There was no way that candy in their two uncompleted slots was going to survive until today!  Also, they don’t have to do exactly what’s written.  If they can tell me something they did to go out of their comfort zone and/or make a friend, they earn the treat.

If you aren’t into giving your kids candy, small toys and stickers will fit, too.  Those are Squinkies in the picture.

Here is the download to the second Conversation Stater List: Be-Happy-Conversation-Starter-Game

Here is the Text to the second download of Conversation Starters:

  1. How was your weekend?
  2. Did you do anything fun yesterday?
  3.  What do you want to play at recess?
  4. Smile and introduce yourself
  5. What are you going to do this weekend?
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you

Here is the Text to the First Download Friend Maker Hunt:

  1. Smile at someone
  2. Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  3.  Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  4. Say hello to someone you don’t know
  5. Find someone with the same hobby as you
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you
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Silky and stretchy play dough using 2 ingredients

Silky and stretchy play dough using 2 ingredients

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To make this silky and stretchy play dough you will need

  • 1 cup conditioner (cheaper the better)
  • 2  cups cornflour/cornstarch (or 2 ¼ cups)
  • Glitter (optional)

Yep, that’s it!
Obviously cornflour can vary from country to country. If you find your dough crumbly then add a teaspoon more conditioner. If it’s too damp, add a teaspoon more cornflour. You may need to tweak the recipe slightly.

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Storing play dough
This lovely play dough can be kept for a number of weeks/months, depending on how well it is stored. I recommend, like with any play dough, wrap it very tightly with a few layers of cling wrap and store it in an air-tight container out of direct light.

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For something a little more interesting you might like to add coloured glitter to your child’s play dough experience.

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Some common recipes can make quite stiff play dough, however, this is lovely and soft, leaving a gorgeous fragrance from the conditioner.

Tattling Vs. Reporting Worksheet (free printable)

This freebie download will help your students learn to tell the difference between tattling and reporting.

Students learn that they tattle to get others in trouble, but they report to get people out of trouble.

T Vs. R

Free download here (Answer Key): Tattling vs. Reporting Thank You

Free download here (Worksheet): Tattling Vs. Reporting

Worksheet with scenarios and kids need to figure out if it is reporting or tattling:

Am I Tattling or Reporting?

Tattling is when I get someone in trouble.

Reporting is when I get someone out of trouble.

Answer Key

Tattling

Michael keeps making faces at me.

Mr. Cobb, Jason isn’t getting in line.

Jerome is drawing in his notebook when he’s supposed to be doing his math.

Ms. Long, Devin isn’t reading the right story.

Meghan isn’t walking on the right sight of the hallway, Mrs. Jones!

Reporting

Heather scratched me when I didn’t do what she said.

During recess, Callie pushed Dana down on purpose.

Brandon picks on Kayla everyday during lunch.

Some boys are bullying Joshua in the bathroom.

Cooper said he’s going to punch Conner after school.

Incorporate into This Lesson The THINK before You Speak 

Such wise advice….for kids and adults alike! 
 
Free Printable Poster to Laminate and keep on your fridge: 61772754-Before-You-Speak-Think

6 Self Regulation Games for Children

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Free Printable PDF on Self Regulation and why it is important http://www.yourtherapysource.com/files/What_Why_How_Series_3_Freebie.pdf

Self Regulation as a Prediction of Academic Success

Self Regulation is the ability of a person to tolerate sensations, situations and distress and form appropriate responses to that sensory input. Simply stated it is the ability to control behavior. In Children self regulation matures just like other developmental processes. Children get older and learn to think before they act. Research continues to develop in this area of self regulation and how much it effects other aspects of development.

regulation in the beginning of the school year achieved higher scores in reading, vocabulary and math at the end of the
school year. The researchers concluded that improving self regulation in children can improve academic achievement and
behavioral responses.

Now, for any therapist, teacher or parent who has knowledge of sensory integration knows how much deficits in self regulation
effect behaviours, social skills and motor responses. We need to continue to educate school staff on the importance of this
skill be developed in all children. Per-kindergarten and kindergarten curriculum has changed it’s focus to reading, writing and
math skills at an earlier age. There is not enough practice time to learn self regulation during these early formative years. Now
it appears as if this hard core academic curriculum in the early years needs to slow down. This study provides significant
evidence to support teaching self regulation skills.

References:
Ponitz, Claire Cameron; McClelland, Megan M.; Matthews, J. S.; Morrison, Frederick J. A structured observation of behavioral
self-regulation and its contribution to kindergarten outcomes. Developmental Psychology. Vol 45(3), May 2009, 605-619.

Oregon State University (2009, June 9). Self-regulation Game Predicts Kindergarten Achievement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved
June 9, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/06/090608162547.htm

Self Regulation Activities
The researchers, Megan McClelland, Ph.D., Associate Professor Human Development and Family Sciences, and her student,
Shauna Tominey, have allowed us to share the activities that they are working on developing to facilitate self regulation skills.
The activities are still being developed and are currently being tested for their effectiveness in improving self-regulation.
Thus, there are not any definitive claims about the effectiveness of the games in improving self-regulation at this point.
 Thank
you very much to Dr. Megan McClelland and Shauna Tominey for sharing this resource!

Kindergarten Readiness Study Games

Here is a description of the games played in our study. These games were designed to help children practice paying
attention, following directions, remembering rules, and demonstrating self-control.

Red Light, Purple Light. Like Red Light, Green Light, a teacher acted as a “stop light” by standing at the opposite end of
the room from the children. The “stop light” held up different colors to represent stop and go. We used different colors, such
as purple for “go” and orange for “stop” and then did the opposite. We also used different shapes to represent stop and go.
For example a yellow square for “go,” but a yellow triangle was “stop.” Children also had a turn being the stop light!

The Freeze Game. Children and teachers danced to music. When the teacher stopped the music, everyone froze. We used
slow and fast songs and had children dance slowly to slow songs and quickly to fast songs. Once children mastered these
skills, children tried moving to opposite cues: children tried to remember to dance quickly to the slow songs and slowly to the
fast songs!

Cooperative Freeze. Related to the Freeze Game, when the music stopped, children found a mat to stand on and froze.
Teachers removed mats so that children had to cooperate with one another to find a space for everyone on fewer mats. We
also taped different colored paper to each mat. When the music stopped, a teacher held up a specific color and children
stood on the mat with the matching color.

Sleeping, Sleeping, All the Children are Sleeping. Children pretended to sleep when the circle leader sang, “Sleeping,
sleeping, all the children are sleeping.” Once children were pretending to sleep, the circle leader said, “And when they woke
up… they were [monkeys]!” Children woke up and pretended to act like monkeys. The circle leader then repeated the song
and suggested other animals. Children who were pretending to sleep were called on to give suggestions for other animals.
We made this more complicated by showing 3 different colored circles (ex: red, blue, purple). On the red circle was a picture
of a snake, on the blue circle was a picture of a butterfly and there was no animal on the purple circle. When it was time to
wake up, the circle leader pointed to one of the circles and the children acted out the animal on that circle. Pointing to the
purple circle (the circle with no picture) allowed the leader to choose any animal. After a few rounds, we removed the pictures
and children had to remember what animal was on each circle.

Conducting an Orchestra. Every child used a musical instrument. The circle leader used a drum stick as a conducting
baton. When the conductor waved the baton, children played their instruments. When the conductor put the baton down,
children stopped. Children played their instruments quickly when the baton moved quickly and slowly when the baton moved
slowly. Children were also asked to respond to opposite cues. For example, when the conductor waved the baton, children
stopped playing their instruments and when the conductor set the baton down, children played their instruments.

Drum Beats. Teachers used drum beats to represent different actions that children can do while sitting (e.g., clapping or
stomping) or while moving around the room (e.g., walking or dancing). For example, children walked quickly to fast drumming,
slowly to slow drumming, and froze when the drumming stopped. Teachers also asked children to respond to opposite cues
(walk slowly to fast drum beats and quickly to slow drum beats). Teachers also associated different actions with specific drum
cues. For example, slow drumming meant stomping feet and fast drumming meant jumping jacks.

References:

Tominey, S. & McClelland, M. (2009). Red light, purple light: Initial findings from an intervention to improve self-regulation over
the pre-kindergarten year. Manuscript in preparation.

Tominey, S. & McClelland, M. (April, 2008). “And when they woke up, they were monkeys!” Using classroom games to
promote preschooler’s self-regulation and school readiness. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development in
Indianapolis, Indiana.

previous article discussed recent research on self regulation in children as a predictor of academic abilities. The researchers, Megan McClelland, Ph.D., Associate Professor Human Development and Family Sciences, and her student, Shauna Tominey, have allowed us to share the activities that they are working on developing to facilitate self regulation skills. The activities are still being developed and are currently being tested for their effectiveness in improving self-regulation. Thus, there are not any definitive claims about the effectiveness of the games in improving self-regulation at this point. Thank you very much to Dr. Megan McClelland and Shauna Tominey for sharing this resource!

Kindergarten Readiness Study Games

Here is a description of the games played in our study. These games were designed to help children practice paying attention, following directions, remembering rules, and demonstrating self-control.

Red Light, Purple Light. Like Red Light, Green Light, a teacher acted as a “stop light” by standing at the opposite end of the room from the children. The “stop light” held up different colors to represent stop and go. We used different colors, such as purple for “go” and orange for “stop” and then did the opposite. We also used different shapes to represent stop and go. For example a yellow square for “go,” but a yellow triangle was “stop.” Children also had a turn being the stop light!

The Freeze Game. Children and teachers danced to music. When the teacher stopped the music, everyone froze. We used slow and fast songs and had children dance slowly to slow songs and quickly to fast songs. Once children mastered these skills, children tried moving to opposite cues: children tried to remember to dance quickly to the slow songs and slowly to the fast songs!

Cooperative Freeze. Related to the Freeze Game, when the music stopped, children found a mat to stand on and froze. Teachers removed mats so that children had to cooperate with one another to find a space for everyone on fewer mats. We also taped different colored paper to each mat. When the music stopped, a teacher held up a specific color and children stood on the mat with the matching color.

Sleeping, Sleeping, All the Children are Sleeping. Children pretended to sleep when the circle leader sang, “Sleeping, sleeping, all the children are sleeping.” Once children were pretending to sleep, the circle leader said, “And when they woke up… they were [monkeys]!” Children woke up and pretended to act like monkeys. The circle leader then repeated the song and suggested other animals. Children who were pretending to sleep were called on to give suggestions for other animals. We made this more complicated by showing 3 different colored circles (ex: red, blue, purple). On the red circle was a picture of a snake, on the blue circle was a picture of a butterfly and there was no animal on the purple circle. When it was time to wake up, the circle leader pointed to one of the circles and the children acted out the animal on that circle. Pointing to the purple circle (the circle with no picture) allowed the leader to choose any animal. After a few rounds, we removed the pictures and children had to remember what animal was on each circle.

Conducting an Orchestra. Every child used a musical instrument. The circle leader used a drum stick as a conducting baton. When the conductor waved the baton, children played their instruments. When the conductor put the baton down, children stopped. Children played their instruments quickly when the baton moved quickly and slowly when the baton moved slowly. Children were also asked to respond to opposite cues. For example, when the conductor waved the baton, children stopped playing their instruments and when the conductor set the baton down, children played their instruments.

Drum Beats. Teachers used drum beats to represent different actions that children can do while sitting (e.g., clapping or stomping) or while moving around the room (e.g., walking or dancing). For example, children walked quickly to fast drumming, slowly to slow drumming, and froze when the drumming stopped. Teachers also asked children to respond to opposite cues (walk slowly to fast drum beats and quickly to slow drum beats). Teachers also associated different actions with specific drum cues. For example, slow drumming meant stomping feet and fast drumming meant jumping jacks.

References:

Tominey, S. & McClelland, M. (2009). Red light, purple light: Initial findings from an intervention to improve self-regulation over the pre-kindergarten year. Manuscript in preparation.

Tominey, S. & McClelland, M. (April, 2008). “And when they woke up, they were monkeys!” Using classroom games to promote preschooler’s self-regulation and school readiness. Poster presented at the Conference on Human Development in Indianapolis, Indiana.