We Speak Playground

Helping Children Make Friends at the Playground

Posted by May Recreation Content Team on April 8, 2022

Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or teacher, it’s only natural to want all of the children in your life to have plenty of friends and fun growing up. As an adult, it’s likely you’ve seen kids struggle to make friends—even in a playground or group setting. However, with a bit of guidance, compassion and knowledge, you can assist youngsters with making new friends and getting along with others, which are skills that serve them for a lifetime.

Take Time to Observe Children at Play

A lot can be learned about a child’s specific needs when it comes to engaging with others. Some are eager to make new friends, others may be shy and some can be downright leery of engaging with unfamiliar faces at the playground. By observing kids during playtime, it’s possible to tailor a more effective approach in your conversations concerning their socializing style.

However, some kids naturally gravitate to each other and engage in cooperative play with little or no adult involvement. Those that don’t seem to pair up with anyone may feel left out and need adult encouragement. Ask the child whether they have asked others to play, if not, help them approach others.

Often, directing them to a group participating in a game can get things moving in the right direction. Another option to promote engagement between peers is to direct them towards the playground equipment. They’ll likely find several implements and accessories that involve two-person interaction that can help young ones to cooperatively play with each other.

Communicate With Kids Before Heading to the Playground

It is imperative to speak with children at an age-appropriate level and to give them ample time to respond. Especially for younger kids, using examples and methods they can understand can prove highly effective. Consider using picture books for toddlers and role-playing scenarios with older youth offers them a clear way to understand and offer feedback.

When discussing ways to make friends, take time to listen to any of their concerns. Some kids may feel intimidated by introducing themselves, have been bullied or ignored on the playground. Should things not go as planned, don’t try to force the issue. Rather, spend some time engaging with the child until they connect with someone else.

Once arriving at the playground, adults may be asked to get involved and settle disputes between those present. These incidences present remarkable opportunities to discuss with them the importance of calmly setting boundaries and finding a resolution. If they are old enough, ask the children to see things from each other’s perspective. This can teach them empathy and problem solving skills.

Offer Kids a Playground Environment Where They Can Make Friends

Whether you are looking for playground equipment for the backyard, a local playground or for a school environment, make sure it’s safe but also fun. Having plenty of interactive options that encourage one or more kids to be involved, is sure to make it easier for them to make friends in cooperative play. Contact May Recreation today or search our catalogs to create a playground setup where children will remember having hours of fun playing with their peers.


Topics: Childhood Unplugged Pediatric Health & Wellness outdoor learning

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