Joni’s Blog with Friendship Frog

Why Characters?

Characters of Character was first developed by preschool teacher Joni Downey in 2005 while working in a classroom compiled entirely of learning disorder and behavior disorder students. The students helped Joni to develop characters that would help students of all ages, all backgrounds, all ethnicities, and all learning abilities t be able to comprehend, fully understand, and internalize the ability to choose good choices, differentiate right and wrong, and treat others as they would like to be treated themselves.

Just prior to this, Joni worked in an elementary school as an Inclusion Aide where the school had little if any funds for art, so, she volunteered on Fridays to do art projects with the kids. If you look closely, you’ll notice a similar pattern in the characters! Behavior Bear, Friendship Frog, Healthy Hippo and Warm-Hearted Walrus are the same! The others are very basic with a few added details. This got us a two for one on paper!

In 2005 the Characters were piloted in a Public K-4 School where they earned a National Promising Practice Award! Today, Characters of Character share their materials nationally.

Meet Friendship Frog!

Friendship Frog teaches children that honesty is part of creating and maintaining a friendship. This character teaches children about making new friends, friendships at home, friendships with respectable community members, friends are honest, accepting friends and what friends do together.

Friendly discussion:

One way to engage children, students and family members about what friends can do together is to create a visual chart:

What friends can do together….

  1. Friends can play together.
  2. Friends can sing together.
  3. Friends can read together.
  4. Friends can paint together.
  5. Friends can walk together.

Be sure to emphasize that you can have more than one friend. If there is a new student or family member, etc. be sure to include them with your friends. Friendship Frog would be so proud of you!

Now get creative! Have children make a mini friendship book. They can write about what they do with their friends, they can draw about what they do with their friends and they can share with you who their friends are and what makes them a good friend. Make an autograph page for all the friends to sign and you have a keepsake!

Joni’s Recipe for making Friends!

Do an art project together!

This is a simple recipe that I’ve used many times with the children to make play dough.

After you’ve made this play dough, then allow your children to be creative!  Mold and fold and scoop and score, measure and weigh and press some more!

This activity is great for motor skills, imagination, science, math and literacy. After the children have completed their creations, have them name it, and write about it, too! Did your child make a monster or cake or their favorite character?

Play dough Recipe:

1 cup plain flour

½ cup of salt

2 tablespoons of cream of tartar

1 teaspoon cooking oil

Food coloring, I use tempera paint

Glitter (optional)

1 cup HOT water (Be careful)


Five ways to be friendly:


Make a new friend, one silver, one gold.


Take turns.


Wait your turn.


Thank a friend for being there for you.


Find a way to include a new friend with what you and your friend are doing.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, March 17th at 9:30 a MOMMY & ME PAINTING CLASS

Friday, March 24th at 9:30 a MOMMY & ME PAINTING CLASS

Friday, March 31st at 9:30 a MOMMY & ME PAINTING CLASS

You must register for this class on line, there is a $10.00 fee and space is limited. Ages 2-5 visit our website or email me at with any questions. This is at the McHenry, Illinois only location.

Sunday, April 23rd The Human Race, located at McHenry County College, we need runners for this 5K and volunteers, again, please visit on line at our website at or email me at

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Characters of Character is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Our mission is to provide a firm foundation for our children to establish strong civic values. Your support is appreciated and valued. Recently, we were able to donate our resources to a Chicago School, this is what they have to say about them:

Oglesby Elementary is a school located in Chicago, IL in a neighborhood in Englewood- one of the top 10 dangerous neighborhoods in the city. We were gifted with this wonderful resource that my Pre-k teachers have been using with our youngest scholars daily! Character education has not been taught in schools for many years but we thought this was an amazing way to bring it back but in a way that our kids could relate to and enjoy. They love the characters that go with each trait and remember the lessons long after they end! We plan to expand to kindergarten classes next year!
Principal Kim Henderson

We hope you’ll visit our website to meet all of the Characters of Character! Our books can be found online at:

And other outlets. Many times the above locations offer coupons.

Thanks for making it to the end of our FIRST BLOG WITH FRIENDSHIP FROG!


Behavior Bear, Do’er Duck, Friendship Frog, Healthy Hippo, Manners Monkey, Respectful Rabbit, Responsible Rabbit, Self-Esteem Elephant and Warm-Hearted Walrus

See you soon!