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Friendship Builders, Friendship Bracelets

Remember that song you used to sing as a kid?

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”. . . or bead-colored!

We have many friends who have chosen a variety of different schooling options for this unusual “back-to-school” season. While we lament the difficult decisions COVID has presented, we are thankful families had choices in how to educate their children. Some families chose homeschooling, others opted for virtual schooling, some found learning pods, and others went the brick-and-mortar option (some with masks, some without) -- all for good reasons.

As an adult, I know it’s hard to be separated from my friends, and it’s even more challenging for little ones. In my home, my kids experienced isolation from many classmates and playmates. Then when they started a new school, they were thrown into a sea of new friends. While of course I want them to build friendships in person, I want them to know there are lots of ways they can build -- and sustain -- friendships.

All of this is very confusing for little hearts and minds. I use my words to talk through emotions with them as best I can, but sometimes doing something with the hands can help internalize a verbal message in the heart.

Enter: making friendship bracelets!

We made these over the last couple of weekends (let's be real -- attention spans are not long at these young ages). We then mailed them to friends we haven’t seen in awhile (just two USPS Forever Stamps will take your friendship bracelets to any U.S. destination!). We’re also making one for a new friend who has a birthday next week.

There are lots of ways to make friendship bracelets. I love this version with stretchy string, letter beads, and colorful beads because it exercises the following skills:

- fine motor skills

- letter recognition

- letter sounds

- sequencing

- pattern recognition and creating

To do this Treehouse craft, you'll need the following supplies:

*Whichever beads you choose, just make sure the diameter of your string is smaller than the diameter of the bead hole you select.

Little tip: Before those little fingers start digging around the beads, ask what word/name they want to string on the bracelet. Then on a sheet of paper, write that out in capital letters. Ask your kids to repeat to you each of those letters (and if they’re of age, practice its corresponding sound). Then, let them hunt for the letters from the pack. They'll rejoice with each one they find! Before they begin adding them to the string, place each letter bead on top of the corresponding letter on the paper.

Medium tip: Sometimes the string can fray at the end when putting on beads. Just snip it up after a few beads, and voila, you've got a fresh start!

Big tip: little beads can easily go rolling, dropping, and into the dog’s or crawling baby’s mouth (I had to be careful to avoid both!). To avert a clean-up disaster, ask your kids what colors or letters they want to use (I limited it to three) and give them an individual tray or dish from which to work.

Fun fact: this Treehouse craft was inspired by another Primerrily co-founder Rachel Gerli when she sent me my own friendship bracelet -- I loved it! When I did this Treehouse craft with my kids, I wanted to model the behavior and pass on the love, so I made one for another friend of mine. So Neighbor, while your kids are making bracelets for their friends, why don’t you make one for one for yours? I’m so glad Rachel did (and yes, the mom bun is real).


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