Many children with language delays struggle to make true friends in throughout elementary and middle school. Sometimes, children don’t pick up on the social cues or social routines of making a friend. Other times, they lack the confidence to make friends because they don’t have the social skills. This is where a speech therapist can help! We can work on social skills that help children learn how to make friends and keep friends. “The Magic of Friendship Snow” is a great book to teach about friendship. The book is about a little girl, Jojo, who is unable to make friends. Then one day through her frosty window, she sees it! A glimpse of red draws her out of her nice warm house. It’s a snowman named Puddles who agrees to be her friend and teach her how to be a friend.
I love that in this story, Puddles and Jojo do everything together. But it does mention that the two disagree about things and get upset with each other. I took this opportunity in the story to discuss the fact that we will not always be in agreement with our friends. In my social skills group, I pointed out that one boy liked Pokemon but the other did not. They are still best friends. I let one of the boys step on my foot. We talked about how I might get upset with him but that did not mean that I wasn’t his friend anymore. We used many more examples in their daily routines to emphasize this detail.
The book ends with Puddles melting away for spring. Jojo finds a new friend named Ned. Ned moves away when summer is over. He asked to use Puddles to help him find friends at his new house. Jojo goes to Puddles to ask this. Puddles is elated that Jojo has learned the meaning of putting others first! Puddles sends his friend, Sunny, to help Ned make new friends.
Now for the activity to bring it all home! First, make a master list of characteristics that make a good friend. As the therapist, you may have to lead this discussion and give ideas. Put every idea that pops up in conversation on that list!
Your list is done. Hand each child a sheet of blue construction paper and three white circles-small, medium and large. They will be building their own Puddles so the white circles are snowballs. You can also set out crayons/markers, glue, and even some wiggly eyes for extra fun! Instruct the students to make a snowman with the materials. They will need to glue the snowman in the middle of the paper because they will be writing on either side of him.
Once everyone has built and decorated their “Puddles,” explain that they need to pick 3 characteristics from the list that is important to THEM. Emphasize that their 3 may be different from their neighbor’s 3 and that is ok! You may have to go through the list again and discuss them a little more. Write the most important one beside the biggest snowball. The second most important near the medium sized snowball and so on. At the end of the craft, your students have built their own “Puddles” made from friendship snow!
This is great lesson to use anytime in the winter season!