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.
In fact, 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 birth - 12):
- American Sign Language Class
- Birthday Buddy
- Chess and Checkers Class
- 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. A 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 of special needs children through group-centered social classes and give them social opportunities that they might not otherwise have access to. >>Learn more
- Photography Class: Come join Crystal during the summer and learn some photography hints and skills. Please bring your own camera. Open to the first 10 who register.
- 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 - we 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.
- Reading Mania Book Club: This is a monthly book club for children of all ages and is held prior to Family Game & Movie night. Our children have the opportunity to set their own goals (books have to be age appropriate), log the book(s) they have read; share a short summary of what they have read in the last month (if they are comfortable) and choose a new one from the book table. Our goal is to read 1000 minutes for a Pizza Party.
- 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. Each session is monthly and will be held either Friday evening, or Saturday afternoon, dependent on participants 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. All ages welcome. We meet the first Sunday of each month.
- Dungeon & Dragons Club: Join us for our twice monthly Dungeon & Dragons adventure lead by our DM, Cole. Grab your imagination and come on over for an afternoon of storytelling in the world of swords and sorcery. Open to ages 8+. We meet the first and third Sunday of each month.
- Teen Social Groups
- Yoga: Help your teen to 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.
- EFN Rocks
- 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.
- 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.
- Sensory Friendly Swim
- Sensory Friendly Movies: Lakewood Towne Center AMC has partnered with the Autism Society to bring us unique showings were 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.
- Summer Bowling
- Summer Picnic
- 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.