In 2011, the United Nations (UN) announced the International Friendship Day, which falls on the 30th of July. It is a celebration that focuses on peace and human solidarity.
As educators, we should emphasise the importance of friendship to our students. It is a good way to build up students’ empathy towards their friends from various family backgrounds.
Here, we provide some suggestions on several simple activities that can bring sparks of joy to students during International Friendship Day. But first, a gentle reminder that these activities are more suitable for the enthusiastic young learners.
The Wind Blows: Finding Similar Unseen Traits
Let’s start with a light-hearted game that allows students to look for similarities among their classmates. This game also enables students to make unexpected friends.
What it requires is a big area and a circle of chairs. The seats should accommodate all the children, except one.
The excluded student will stand in the middle of the circle, chanting these words: “The Wind Blows….” Then, everyone should reply: “Who shall be blown away?”
The student will have to decide on a non-physical trait they possess, such as their favourite food or hobbies. Then, they will have to chant, for example: “The wind blows those who like chocolate.”
The seated students with similar traits must scatter around to find a new seat. But, at the same time, the excluded student must seize the opportunity to get themselves a seat.
The remaining student without a seat will start chanting the exact words again. If they fail to get seated three times in a row, the student loses the game.
Online: Although this game works best in an open area, the online version will require students to perform an extra task (e.g., drawing a cloud). The last one to finish the task will become the excluded student.
My Favourite Thing: Sharing Happiness
What is International Friendship Day without sharing the things that bring joy?
Teachers can ask students to take a photo of an item that makes them happy. Then, each student will give 3 minutes to talk about their unique item.
Topics prompt on the presentation:
- The origin of the object.
- The relationship between the student and the object.
- The importance of the item in the student’s life.
- What would happen if they lost the object?
For each presentation, students have to rate on a scale of 5 whether they feel as happy as the presenter. The student who gets the highest score will win a prize.
There might be some shy or nervous students who are reluctant to demonstrate in front of the crowd. When it is their time to present, you can guide them along by asking follow-up questions.
Online: Teachers can perform this activity online as well. Students will have more convenient access to the photos in the video call. The only thing to make sure is they do have a stable connection and a functional speaker.
House of Four: A Game of Role-Playing
A group of four students have to form a family unit. Then, the members have to take on the role of parents and their two children.
Once they have settled their roles, the teacher will give a few scenarios that are similar to everyday household problems.
Ideas on providing scenarios:
- One of the family members is getting sick, but there is no transportation available at the moment.
- The children wish to have a pet dog, but one of the parents is allergic to dander.
- One of the children wants to have a sleepover at a friend’s house, but the parents plan to have a weekend trip to the beach.
- The siblings are having an argument, the parents have to find a solution that the children can compromise.
After a short period of discussion, each group will share their decision with the class. Then, the class will vote for the best answer, and the group that gets the highest score wins.
This activity is beneficial in training the student’s problem-solving skills and the ability to cooperate. Besides, these realistic scenarios also guide students to resolve real-life conflicts and develop empathy towards the people who care for them.
Online: The teacher will assign the students into separate chat rooms of four members. Each group can have their discussion in their rooms before providing the solution in the main video call.
Secret Sender: A Letter of Appreciation
A compliment is the C-word that people find hard to speak of or accept. But, do you know that giving compliments is a sign of awareness and empathy?
After all, it is International Friendship Day. The best day to show appreciation to your friends!
Before the celebration, the teacher has to assign each student to write a postcard letter secretly. Then, students have to describe what they like about the subject and a positive trait they admire.
You can help your students in generating the kind words on paper as a way to demonstrate benevolence in class.
Once the student has finished writing the postcard, they will hand over the letter to the teacher. Afterwards, the teacher will act as the postman and deliver the postcards to their respective receiver.
The students will spend the entire day guessing who their sender is. Before the festivity ends, students will voice out their guesses.
If they guessed correctly, the teacher would give a small reward. If they fail to do so, the teacher will have to guide them to the correct sender.
Online: Students can use Canva to design their personalised postcards and mail the finalised product to their teacher. Then, the teacher will upload the postcards on a Google Drive folder so students can view or download them.
Overall, celebrating International Friendship Day aims to remind students that they should show kindness and cherish their friends and classmates. These activities will help them look past the physical differences and focus on their friends’ inner best qualities.
For more festival and event activity ideas, check out our blog page to make your class livelier.