Teach friendship activities and improve social emotional skills in the classroom with these ideas, such as sharing, taking turns, listening, teamwork, & cooperation.
Friendship Activities and Lessons for K-2
We build relationships with our family, friends, and colleagues every day, and it’s a very natural process for many of us. But for our students, solidifying these skills requires direct instruction.
Teaching friendship skills in the classroom requires making time in our day for thoughtful discussions and community-building activities. Below are various lesson ideas and activity ideas to help build friendship skills in your classroom.
Table of Contents
- Friendship Activities and Lessons for K-2
- Friendship Activities and Lessons
- Friendship Resources
- More Teaching Ideas to Build Social Skills
Why Include Friendship Activities?
For those children in your class who may not have the necessary skills to make and nurture friendships, you will need to help build those skills and provide opportunities to practice them daily.
You should teach children about healthy and friendly relationships for many good reasons. The atmosphere of your classroom will improve when you include friendship activities in your lessons. The relationships between you and your students will flourish. And, looking at the bigger picture, you will make a positive difference in the world.
- Spread kindness in a harsh world – Some children you are entrusted with have come from complex backgrounds. Show and teach them kindness, generosity, loyalty, trust, selflessness, and other traits of friendship. By doing so, you are showing them that your classroom (and other places outside their home life) can be a nice place to be. They will learn that they can be part of growing and spreading love and kindness to others even if their private world isn’t like that.
- The atmosphere of your classroom community – The attitudes and perceptions of the children in your care will gradually improve as each child learns new skills and begins to try them out. You’ll see new friendships between your students begin to grow, and you’ll relate better to your students in return. The friendship activities you use to teach them will have an effect on each person within your class.
Friendship Activities and Lessons
Friendships and good relationships are built on several key concepts and skills. It’s important to address each one in your purposeful lessons on friendship and relationship skills.
Here are some friendship lessons, activities, and ideas of what social skills and character traits to focus on:
Listening and Speaking
Good listening and speaking skills are important for children to learn in healthy relationships. Have children practice these things through role-playing, discussion time (learning not to interrupt, speaking respectfully when it’s your turn), and group projects in which everyone must participate equally.
Sharing and Taking Turns
The ability and willingness to share and take turns are necessary skills for young children to adopt. These skills take practice and time for children to understand, especially in the younger grades (Kindergarten and first grade). They don’t use them naturally due to their stage in emotional development. So help them by repeating and practicing often with friendship activities!
Sharing with friends and peers is important in helping students get along with others unselfishly. Help them by giving them scripts for practicing this important skill. Sometimes, just providing them the words and sentences they can use in a situation requiring them to share is all it takes to empower them to do so.
Read the book Rainbow Fish for an excellent example of how sharing is important when making and keeping friends. Add this to your list of friendship activities!
How to Be a Good Friend
Children should be able to describe what a friend is. They should be able to demonstrate how to be a good friend through words and actions. Give them the vocabulary and the understanding they need to apply to their own relationships with others.
You can do this by brainstorming ways to be a good friend, sorting good and bad ways to be a friend, and giving them concrete descriptions of ways they can be a good friend.
Sometimes, the act of just trying to make a friend can be intimidating for students. You can teach them that it’s not so scary with friendship activities! By doing so, you give them the tools they need to overcome their anxiety in meeting new people.
Interviews can help them get to know others. So can friendship activities that require them to find people with things in common, such as having kids find things in common during a scavenger hunt (Grab free ones below).
As a class, students can brainstorm ways to make new friends or share about the new friends they’ve met over a holiday break or just over the weekend. Read the book Peanut Butter and Cupcake for great examples of ways to make friends and write about it. Find more friendship children’s books to add to your classroom bookshelf.
Including Others & Empathy Activities
Emotional cues and behaviors can show whether someone feels included. Good friends try to pay attention to that. Explain to students how to recognize when they can make another child feel welcome as a friend.
Cooperation and Teamwork
Students must learn the necessary life skills of working with others. This is true whether working with friends or peers in teamwork activities. This skill is important in the classroom and life, so give them plenty of opportunities to practice friendship activities.
FREE Making Friends Scavenger Hunts
To start, check out this FREE resource – “Making Friends” scavenger hunts. Two versions are included that work great for helping kids make new friends and get to know others better.
Download a free copy of the scavenger hunts for your lessons by clicking the image below!
Friendship & Relationships Curriculum
Through various thought-provoking lessons, discussions, community-building ideas, and engaging activities…
- Children will learn how to communicate, listen, and speak effectively.
- Children will learn what sharing and taking turns is.
- Children will learn what a friend is and demonstrate how to be a good friend.
- Children will learn how to make friends and make new friends.
- Children will learn how to cooperate and demonstrate teamwork.
Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum
The mind + heart Social Emotional Learning Curriculum includes 8 units. They include 5+ detailed, character education, research-based lessons filled with hands-on, fun activities. Use the curriculum to encourage children to express themselves and build important emotional and social skills.
More Teaching Ideas to Build Social Skills
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