LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 33

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 33. The book is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, booklets and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 33 – Special Friendships

Please note: We have selected just five activities for this section on sexuality. Contact us for the latest resources and recommendations on materials for sexuality and life skills education for adolescents. Visit the AIDS Alliance website to download their outstanding three-part ‘Our Future’ series for adolescents (grades 4-9) and their educators.

Purpose of Activity: To understand what early sexual feelings are and that they are normal. To begin to talk about sexual feelings.

Life Skills: Self-awareness, Creative Thinking, Interpersonal Relationships

Steps

  1. Explain that the first special feelings we get for other children are sometimes described as a ‘crush’ on the person, ‘fancying’ the person or of a feeling of being ‘in love’ with that person. The feelings may last a short time or for many weeks. Girls can have special feelings for another girl, boys for another boy or girls and boys may start to have special feelings for one another. All of these are normal.
  2. Read out this letter from Felix to a newspaper column which he writes about his feelings for Fatima:

Dear Auntie,
My friend Fatima and I really like each other. We are 11 years old and we have been going around together since last term. We have lots of other friends who like us both. We can talk about everything and we relax and laugh together. We like to tell each other our problems and we do our school work together. At weekends we go to the same singing group. A few weeks ago, I began to feel very warm inside every time I thought of Fatima. She is in my mind all the time. I bring her mangoes from our garden. I want to hold her hand and kiss her. I think I have fallen in love with my friend! Shall I tell her about my feelings?
Felix

  1. Divide children into pairs or threes. Ask them to discuss then make a list of the signs that the friendship between Felix and Fatima was turning into something more, a special friendship. Ask the children to think of more signs. Here are some ideas:
    • daydreaming
    • writing the loved one’s name
    • feeling that the loved one is handsome or pretty
    • feeling dreamy
    • listening to love songs
    • giving the loved one gifts
    • feeling shy when you are with the loved one
    • wanting to see the loved one all the time
  2. Ask the children to share their ideas.
  3. Explain that these special feelings are a normal part of growing up and happen to most children. For some of them, it happens when they are young and for others it happens later. Sometimes children who have special feelings for someone else may want to tell this person. Sometimes they may want to keep their feelings secret or talk about their feelings with a good friend.
  4. Show the children a box with a slot in it. Explain that this box is place where the children can put any questions they have and they do not have to write their name. The anonymous box will be there for all the activities to do with sexual health (and other activities if needed). Answering the children’s questions can become a regular part of the sessions.
  5. In the same pairs or threes, children discuss this question: What do you think are the best kinds of friendships for children of your age?
    • To have one special boyfriend or girlfriend
    • To be friends with many boys and/or girls
    • To have a mixed group and leave special friendships for later
  6. In pairs or on your own, write a letter to reply to Felix.
  7. (If time). Ask children to act out a scene in which a child is talking with a friend about their feelings for someone. The friend advises them. The example of Felix or Fatima can be used.

Final Discussion:

Is it normal for children to start having special feelings for other children at our age? What is good advice to someone who has started to have special feelings for another person?

Follow-up
What do parents, older siblings or friends think about starting special friendships? The same as you or different? Tell them about the letter from Felix. How would they reply?

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