The importance of friendship in children’s lives cannot be underestimated for all children's social, emotional, and intellectual development. Friendship boosts a child’s social competence, self-esteem, and self-confidence. However, about 40 percent of young children with disabilities will enter kindergarten without age-appropriate social relationship skills. EFN's Friendship Connections Program provides activities for children and teens (birth to 19 years old) with special needs in an inclusive environment to guide them in social and communication skills.
EFN hosts over 400 Friendship Connections activities (see our Calendar of Activities for dates & times) held throughout the year for children, teens, and families including:
Children (ages 2 - 12):
- Dance Class: Weekly ongoing fun and inclusive dance program geared towards those who may need extra support while enjoying the universal language of music to exercise, socialize and relax! Each session is monthly and will be held on Saturday's between 2:00 and 7:00 pm in Everett. Open to Ages 2 - Adult in partnership with Inspired Movement Troupe
- Hang Out Hub: Join us for an afternoon of fun while meeting new friends! This is a monthly opportunity for children of all ages to get together with one another and play games while chatting and building friendships. Held at Artful Expressions and registration is free!
- Miss Exceptional Program: The goal of the Miss Exceptional and Exceptional Gentleman program is to build confidence in special needs children through group-centered social classes and give them social opportunities that they might not otherwise access. >>Learn more
- Princess Project: The Princess Project of Washington, formerly Say Yes to the Prom Project, is a group that provides formal dresses to women and girls of any age who need one for any special occasion. If a teen needs a dress for Prom or Homecoming; if a woman needs a dress for a party; if a little girl needs a dress for a father daughter dance - The Princess Project can help them! The Princess Project of Washington's mission is to help anyone in need of items to make them feel like a princess for their event, no matter their financial status.
- Special Needs Play Day at Tacoma Children's Museum: Each Tuesday, the Children's Museum of Tacoma opens their doors for a special hour and a half of sensory friendly play for our children. Come join the fun!!
- Special Morning of Play at the Hands On Children's Museum (Olympia): Dates vary, please check our calendar of events for upcoming dates.
- Taekwondo Class: Ongoing fun and inclusive instruction from Sensei Eric geared towards those who may need extra support. Sessions held either Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, dependent on participant's level. Ages 2-15. Registration required and fee based.
- Tea with a Princess: Join your favorite princesses while we design and wear our crowns while enjoying tea, snacks, and dancing!
- Yoga: Help your child to gain confidence, and strength through children’s yoga! These classes are fun, and engaging, and build a solid foundation for future yoga classes, as well as for other sports. Yoga for children not only strengthens the body, but enables children to learn to relax, reduce stress, and deal with big emotions. Mats provided.
Teens (ages 13 - 19):
- Collectible Card Games: Join us for the Collectible Card Game Tournament Club! This is a group for all Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh fans to gather and show their skills. Grab your cards and come on in for an afternoon of fun. We meet the first Sunday of each month.
- Teen Social Groups
- Yoga: Help your teen gain confidence and strength through yoga! These classes are fun, and engaging, and build a solid foundation for future yoga classes, as well as for other sports. Yoga not only strengthens the body, but enables teens to learn to relax, reduce stress, and deal with big emotions. Mats provided.
- Annual Picnic
- Beading Club: Come one; come all! Bring your beads, string and looms and join us as we create new projects! It is okay if you don't have supplies - we do and are happy to share! All ages welcome.
- Camp Prime Time
- Curiosity Club: Join us for our Curiosity Club. This is a club to inspire our children to trust their curiosity and nurture their confidence. Monthly projects announced on EFNs Facebook page.
- Family Game and Movie Night: Come join us for an evening of fun! The children will have an opportunity to create a craft while the movie is on and the parents are enjoying games and conversation.
- Nature Walks: Enjoy the outdoors while exploring Snake Lake with other EFN families. Discover amazing plants and animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Some portions of the paths are not stroller friendly. https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/tacomanaturecenter/
- Sensational Santa: Each year we hold opportunities for a positive and calm experience for your family to capture a high quality portrait with Santa. Your child will meet Santa in a supported environment at their own designated time. Registration will open in October.
- Sensory Family Swim
- Sensory Friendly Movies: Lakewood Towne Center AMC has partnered with the Autism Society to bring us unique showings where we can all feel free to be ourselves! The lights are turned up and the sound turned down...we can get up, dance, walk, sing or shout. Sensory Friendly movies are shown the 2nd and 4th Tuesday and Saturday each month. EFN has chosen to attend the 4th Saturday of each month for their 10 am showing.
- Getting Loopy Yarn Club: Bring your needles and yarn (if you have any...otherwise our great instructors will have some available)! Learn how to knit and crochet or improve your craft. All ages welcome.
Activities are held throughout the year. Please visit our calendar of events page for more information or check out our Quarterly Flyer for upcoming events and activities.