It was one of those days. I anguished over social issues with one of my kids. It felt like nothing was improving.
But then, a most amazing thing happened.
Janine Halloran, blogger at Encourage Play and licensed mental health counselor, reached out to me based on a comment I made on a group thread in FB. I didn’t even know her at the time, but her words of encouragement and ideas were exactly what I needed. Her wisdom helped me gain perspective (I might have been catastrophizing?!) and relax about the situation.
She sent me one of her Encourage Play Kits which I loved it so much that I wanted to tell you about it.
Building Social Skills Kits
Janine’s philosophy, similar to my own, is that children learn through play and that social skills can’t be taught in isolation. For kids with ADHD, on the Autism Spectrum, with Social Anxiety or with Sensory Processing issues, these skills often take a bit longer to learn. Because kids need our support with social skills, Janine created structured play date kits that facilitate engagement and practice.
The Building Friendship Play Date Kit got us started with 3 play date activities for 2 people, a recommended book, and 2 family activities.
Getting To Know You Blocks Game
This blocks game is such a blast to play! Answer the questions as you build a tower. It’s a great opportunity for learning about the other person and to practice listening skills.
20 Questions Box
One of the family activities was the 20 questions box. We did this when we had friends over for dinner.
Each kid picked out a question to read to the group and we took turns answering.
Janine sent us one of her favorite books, How to Make and Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges by Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea. It’s a guide of top ten lists for 50 social situations such as how to join a group, personal space, sharing vs. bragging, and when friendships change.
We haven’t started reading it yet because we’re finishing another book as a family. This will be next! It looks really helpful.
More Play Date Activities
Also included in this kit is instructions for making an origami plane twirly flyer thing. See below. As well as a duct tape wallet. All the supplies were included with a lot extra.
We love the paper and duct tape and have other ideas for play date projects already.
The kit also includes directions for interviewing an adult — which we haven’t yet done.
Building Friendship Play Kits
I love Janine’s monthly play kits whose theme changes each month. Not only that, she has ideas for running a lunch group and sells other building friendship kits, some of which have the activities mentioned above.
Don’t you think this is so cool? I hope you check out Janine’s website and try one of the kits for yourself!
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!