Hands-on, creative crafts can help your little one get to know new friends in the neighborhood or in her playgroup. These allow the kids to create more long-lasting images, focusing on themselves -- perfect for those little ones who are still pretty much the center of their own universe. Trace around their bodies on large sheets of paper and let them color themselves, or give them small notebooks to personalize with their names and favorite artwork. Display their artwork in the playroom, and they're guaranteed to light up each time they see their masterpieces.
All About Me
Even adults sometimes muse, "If I were queen for a day, I would ...". Self-focused preschoolers are no different. Give your little one and her playmates some crayons, markers and poster paper to make an "All About Me" poster that shows their favorite things. Encourage the kids to draw representations of their favorite activities, their family or a picture of themselves, then print their names -- you may have to help younger kids with this part. As an alternative, grab that old stack of kid-friendly magazines, give them safety scissors, and instruct them to find and cut out images of their favorite foods, toys, TV characters or activities. Help them paste the pictures to their posters.
Give each child in your youngster's playgroup a white paper lunch sack or a small plain box. Help them write their names on their containers, then let them personalize the treasure bag (or box) with stickers, crayon drawings or foam shapes. Tell the kids to take their special treasure container home and put in five things that are important to them. Suggest ideas, such as a special rock, a picture of their family, a small stuffed animal or a toy airplane. Ask the kids' parents to help their little ones gather their treasures. Next time the playgroup meets, let the little friends show each other their treasures and talk about them.
Gather a collection of dress-up and costume items and let your little girl and playmates have a costume day. Explain that they should pick out some clothes and accessory items to dress up like their favorite character. Or you can help them make paper plate masks or brown lunch sack puppets of the characters. When each little one is in character, ask her to tell her friend three things about herself.
Pictures of Me
With their parents' permission, take a picture of the friends playing together and one of each playgroup member. Tell the kids they get to make a special frame for their pictures, using glue, craft sticks and art supplies. Help them glue four large craft sticks into a frame, then let them get creative. Some will just scribble a couple marks on their frames, while others may want to paint theirs or glue on rocks, seashells or faux jewels. If you don't mind finding it in your clothes and hair for weeks, let them use glitter or colored sand. Then tape the pictures into the frames and display them in the play area for a day -- you can even invite the other parents to view your mini-museum.