Earlier this month my son and I started a Friendship Club at his elementary school. He has experienced bullying and had trouble making friends and I thought building a safe and creative space within his school would help him, and other children with similar issues, foster friendships and have some fun during their school day.
The school was kind enough to allow me to use a room on campus during lunch recess for the club one day a week. The first day of the club I arrived about 30 minutes before lunch recess and they gave me the key and I set up the little room by clearing off tables and setting out my homemade printable sheets and crayons and other writing utensils for the kids. The club hadn’t yet been “advertised” to the students by the school or PTA and I was a little nervous that no one but my son would show up. I had printed 30 of my little projects just in case and when the lunch recess bell rang I started getting pretty excited.
Lunch recess was between 11 am and 1 pm for all 7 grades (k-6) and within that time period I had roughly 50 kids come through the room and it felt like a whirlwind of excitement. My son showed up about 45 minutes into it as he is in 3rd grade and brought his own posse of kids from his classroom. I literally ran out of supplies and had to break out lined paper and had kids make me a list of some things they’d like to do during friendship club in the future. I was blown away by how kind and creative these kids were and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them interact.
We came up with one rule that first meeting, “Always be a friend to everyone.”
The second week came and I had gone to the dollar store and stocked up on supplies in preparation. This week’s project would be making bookmarks. I pre-cut 100 bookmarks from a rainbow of card stock and had more coloring utensils and hundreds of stickers.
I am happy to say that I ran out of supplies again during the second meeting of Friendship Club. There were so many kids I could hardly hear through the friendly banter. No one argued, and every single kid had a smile on their face. What really helped was the very kind donation for the club from my son’s teacher; she gave us a gigantic tub of legos. So the kids who couldn’t make bookmarks were able to hunker down on the carpet and play legos together. It was phenomenal.
I am truly excited to continue Friendship Club throughout the school year. I have a goal to get at least one other adult volunteer to help oversee the kids with me. Some of the kids have expressed a desire to have a board game day and possibly make friendship bracelets. I think that will be something we can do during January.
I am including some downloads of the printables I have made if you’d like to use them with your kids. If you decide to start a friendship club at your school let me know! I’d love to share my ideas with you.