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.
I’m not sure what to call it: A DIY “Just Do It” game . . . a Be Happy Friend Hunt . . . a Friend Finder . . . a Scavenger Hunt . . . a Service Hunt . . . a School Confidence Builder? I guess the name doesn’t really matter, as long as it helps the kids make friends and overcome their nerves!
*Before I start, I have to add a little disclaimer. We don’t use pill boxes like this at my house, nor are the kids likely to run into them at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. If you use containers like this for medicine, you might want to choose something different for your game box. I would hate for a child to mistake medicine for candy. (Or, use the pill boxes, but fill them with small toys instead.)
Back to School Friendship Game for Kids
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!
After school today, Bear proudly announced that she did almost all of the challenges in one day! Since she is my shyest child, I was very proud. (She still only gets one treat a day, though! She gets to do it again tomorrow!)
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 (Cricut, Silhouette, Cuttle Bug, etc) I borrowed a Cricut from my friend, Ryan. (Thanks, Ryan! I really will return it one of these days. I’m just having so much fun!) Letter stencils and regular old scissors work too!
- Treats to fill the individual boxes.
- Printout of first week of school ideas
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.
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. (When I make my new game, I’ll post a new printable.) 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!
Thanks to the Crafty Blog Stalker for giving me the idea to use the pill boxes for a DIY Scavenger Hunt.
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