4 Ways to Celebrate Friendship
Do you teach your kids to celebrate friendship. I don’t know about you, but my friendships are some of the most important things in my life! This past week at Little Sprouts we have been celebrating Friendship week. Its fun to do special events with kids to break up the everyday ho hums of long days at daycare.
I like to come up with special celebrations that don’t cost an arm and a leg and don’t kill me with a million extra things to add in to our day. This week was fun and fairly easy and I didn’t spend any extra money. If you are a daycare provider, you know those pennies are hard to come by.
Celebrating friendship in daycare and preschool
- On Monday we got a new student, so we spent the day getting to know him and showing him the ropes around here. There is a lot to learn for a new person that has not been on our schedule before and is used to doing things in a different way. The first week with him was a smashing success and he seems to like it here.
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2. On Tuesday we had a teddy bear picnic. Click here to see a teddy bear picnic we’ve had in the past. I text all the parents to let the kids bring their favorite stuffed animal, and if they forget, I have plenty here for them to borrow, so everyone has a special friend to sit with. I changed the menu days around so we would have something easy to eat and easy to transport outside with us for the picnic. No need in taking spaghetti or something outside for a picnic.
We had pigs in a blanket with a variety of garden produce for fruits and vegetables, plus our cups of milk. The kids carried their cups and bears outside, and I stacked all the food and dishes on a big cookie sheet so I could carry it all outside at once. I threw some table cloths on some small tables we have outside. The kids had a ball eating outside. They were all smiles.
3. On Wednesday, we worked on a friendship quilt. Everyone worked on a piece of art to add to the quilt. They could do whatever they wanted. I had 8 kids making “squares” (one had made hers the day before). I needed one more to make a square quilt, so I drew one as well. We punched holes in the four corners of the squares and then we laced small pieces of yard through the adjoining holes. I tied each piece of yarn in a bow so they would stay together. There you have it, a “quilt” that brings us all together.
Each day we talked about what friendship means and how when we all work together we get jobs done. We talked about treating each other with kindness and how much our friends mean to us.
4. Thursday was the last day of the celebration and we made a collaborative soup to share for lunch. I had each family bring a vegetable to share. I told them it could be whatever they wanted to bring. I also told them it could be raw, canned, or frozen, anything was fine. I did give them about a week’s notice so they’d have time to go to the store, and then I reminded them the day before not to forget. Texting is a life saver for daycare. I don’t know what we did without it in the early years. I sent home lots of notes, that’s for sure! (you can also do this with “Stone Soup” and use the book)
Anyway, back to the friendship soup. I make sure I have some veggies on hand in case anyone forgets or if we get 7 cans of corn or something like that. One child forgot, so when we went outside in the morning, I let her chose something from the garden to put in the soup. She chose carrots so we picked a handful of carrots and another child wanted to add onions to the soup, so I let them pick some onions as well. Click here to see what we’re doing in the garden at Little Sprouts.
We ended up with the onions and carrots, two cans of corn, a can of green beans, a can of mixed veggies, potatoes, and a big zucchini. I had thawed out some chicken the night before, so I cut it into small pieces and sautéed it in the soup pot until it was done. I took it out and put it in a container and set it in the refrigerator. Then I chopped up the onion (my kids hate chopping onions because they burn their eyes) and sautéed that until soft in the same oil in the pan. Then I cut the carrots, potatoes, and zucchini into long strips so they would be manageable for the kid’s little hands and not so sharp butter knives.
I gave the kids the veggies on some cutting boards and their little butter knives and let them chop away. The kids LOVE to cook and cut. They love eating what they cook as well, so this is a great way to get more veggies in the kids. Click here to see more about cooking with kids and here to see more about getting kids to eat healthy foods.
After the kids get the veggies into small chunks, we added them to the pan with the cooked onions. I sautéed them for a few minutes to get a little color on them, and then added salt, pepper, a little sage from the garden, and some chicken stock I had in the freezer. I cooked the soup for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes were done. Then I opened all the canned veggies and took the kids to the bathroom to wash their hands again, and back up to the table to cook some more.
I let each child add what they brought, so I gave the opened cans to the kids who brought them and let them dump them into the soup. We used the juice and all. It adds a lot of flavor and nutrients to the soup. It’s all good! One child dropped her can and juice went everywhere. Most of it landed on another child so we had to clean up the juice and the kid. You know what though, the only way they will learn is through trying and failing. It was a lot to clean up, but it was worth it for someone to learn how to do something next time. Most of the beans stayed in the can because after the juice went flying, it landed right side up, so we still had green beans in the soup.
I set the soup back on the stove and added the chicken and some more salt and pepper. I cooked it for about 5 more minutes and then took it off the burner to cool down some before lunch. I served it to the kids with crackers and milk. They LOVED it.
One of the kids brought friendship goodies bags with veggies in them and some friendship muffins for snack. Everyone had a great time and we have our beautiful friendship quilt to look at for a while. I didn’t buy anything special or do anything super difficult, but we learned a lot and had fun.
Things don’t need to be complicated or super expensive for them to be very effective. Give a simple but meaningful idea like this a try! Doing collaborative things like the friendship soup is a great way to get families involved as well. The parents were excited to be part of the project. I have done the same soup with the story “Stone Soup” many times before. If you’re not doing friendship week, “Stone Soup” is a great story stretcher idea. It’s always a big hit here. Click here for some more parent involvement ideas.
Think about some great themed weeks you can do with your kids. It’s so much fun for them!
Don’t forget to pin for later!