February is International Friendship Month, which means it’s the perfect time to read any of James Marshall’s wonderful “George and Martha” books to your children.
If you’re unfamiliar with this dynamic duo, let me introduce you! George and Martha are hippos. They’re the best of friends, and they have all sorts of adventures together. I’m lucky enough to have “George and Martha, the Complete Stories of Two Best Friends,” but any of the books by themselves are wonderful. I especially like the fact that the stories are ideal for beginning readers without being overly simplistic. I also appreciate the fact that each book contains five stories, and each story is very short. At only a few pages each, you can get through several adventures without losing your voice.
George and Martha have a great friendship because no matter what, they learn from the mistakes they make and they always forgive each other. The lessons these stories teach are to be patient and kind, and to keep your sense of humor.
Here are some terrific ways to celebrate friendship this month!
What makes a friend: Talk to your child about what kinds of traits a friend should have. Use examples from George and Martha to highlight the way they treat each other (the way Martha cheers George up, or the way George is honest with Martha). Talk about ways friends can show each other that they care.
A nearby pen pal: Even if your child doesn’t have a pen pal, they can still send their friend a letter (after all, who doesn’t like getting mail?). Encourage your child to write their best friend a letter, some jokes, or just draw them a picture. Include a sheet of stickers or temporary tattoos. Drop the letter in the mailbox (or walk it over to their friend’s mailbox yourself). It’s always wonderful to get a surprise from a friend!
Have a friend party: Invite your children’s friends over and get ready to do some fun friendship crafts and activities! Make paper dolls that represent each person in attendance, create beaded friendship bracelets, make a puzzle necklace, buy t-shirts and have each child draw a picture and sign their name on them. Set up a photo booth with funny props for your child and their friends to use – and then snap some silly shots. There’s nothing quite like moustaches and costume jewelry to bring on a case of the giggles!
Make a scrapbook: This is an especially good birthday gift for a best friend, or gift for a friend who is moving away. Have your child put together drawings, photographs and pictures in a scrapbook. Add stickers, glitter –whatever they like. Have your child make to keep as well!
No matter what you do this month, have a great time celebrating friendship!
Our family absolutely loves George and Martha. So glad to see your story on them. Hope a lot more people will now know, and get to enjoy all their wonderful adventures. Thanks.