Use these creative friendship lessons in the classroom to help kids learn to make friends. The fun friendship activities and connections to children’s books help make teaching this important social skill easier.
Friendship Building Lessons for Kids
I think we can all relate to wanting our students to “just get along.” As teachers, we have a lot on our plate, and when relationships aren’t strong within the classroom community, issues can arise.
Yet, we can work with our students to help them build important social skills and friendships with their peers. When relationships in the classroom are solid, great things can happen. Group work flows smoothly. Partner activities bring fun and learning. The classroom community grows and flourishes.
When it comes to helping our students build friendships, we need to get creative. Here are 30 friendship lessons you can use in your classroom to support your students as they develop meaningful relationships at school.
What to Teach Kids About Friendship
It takes practice and life experience to learn how to be a good friend to others. As teachers, we can help kids learn through our experiences in the classroom.
Here are some important topics we can teach children about friendship and being a good friend.
- Remember important things about the other person (such as birthdays, favorite color, food preferences).
- Respect them and their differences.
- Be trustworthy and dependable.
- How to show thoughtfulness, consideration, and kindness.
- Take care to recognize and show empathy when the other person is feeling big feelings, such as sadness, excitement, or fear.
- Listen. Attempt to be present, reflect, and understand when a person shares something. Learn how to offer support.
- Share and take turns.
- Find things they have in common that they like to do together.
- Learn how to communicate and speak effectively.
- Cooperate and practice good teamwork.
Teach the above ten points, and you will cover all the bases!
Below, find some activities and lessons to help teach these ideas.
Friendship Lesson Ideas and Activities
To help drive home the concept of friendship and relationships, you can use a variety of friendship activities to help kids practice. These activities teach the essential social skills and character education that your students need. But furthermore, they are enticing methods for tying in reading, writing, art, and other vital skills.
Have a Classroom Discussion – Talk to kids about what it means to be a friend and ways they can make friends. Brainstorm their ideas on an anchor chart.
Morning Meetings – Include greetings and activities that help kids connect with each other during your morning meetings.
Friendship Hearts – Have kids take an oath to be a kind friend. They can write their idea on a heart and post the hearts around the room.
“I am a friend” Crown – Kids create a fun hat and record and draw important ways to be a good friend.
Role Play Scenarios – Kids need lots of practice handling social situations, and you can help them gain a head stand by acting out possible scenarios with their peers.
“Ways to Make a Friend” Storybook – Kids need reminders! After you have taught them the steps to make a friend, they can read them repeatedly in a storybook.
Dream Friend Vision Board – Like a vision board you would create for the things you wish for in the future, you can also make one for the type of friend you are looking for. Have kids record what they would like to do and share in common with their dream friend.
Children’s Books to Use for Friendship Lessons
Many books can help you teach students how to be a friend. I’ve listed some of my favorite ones below! They make great options for your classroom or home library.
- How to be a Friend by Lauren Krasny Brown and Marc Brown – I’ve loved this book for years upon years. It shows kids lots of ways to be a good friend. After reading, you could have kids sort examples of “good ways to be a friend” and “bad ways to be a friend”
- Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border – this is a cute story about how a lonely peanut butter-smeared piece of bread overcomes challenges and makes friendships. Then, in a writing activity, kids can pick 5 ways to make friends and write about it.
- The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister – A longstanding favorite in classrooms with beautiful illustrations, this book tells a classic story about sharing. After reading the story, kids can write about how it feels to share with others using a Rainbow Fish writing and coloring craftivity.
- My Friend is Sad (An Elephant and Piggie book) by Mo Willems – Kids will enjoy reading about how Piggie helps his friend Elephant when he is feeling sad. After reading, let your kids make a friendship hat to show ways of being a good friend.
- Stick and Stone by Ferry & Lichtenheld – Use this book to teach kids how to stand up for others.
- Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival – Fitting in is a concern that most kids have. So help them find common ground with others, as well as to include those who may be left out.
Friendship Books for Kids
Are you looking for more? Take a look at this list of 15 of my favorite friendship books.
Finally, find more friendship children’s books in our easy-to-navigate lists categorized by topic!
Friendship Videos for Your Lessons
Most kids learn well with audio or visual cues, and therefore, the videos listed below are great ideas for teaching about friendship!
The following are great to show in the classroom or recommend viewing at home.
1. Make New Friends with these 5 Easy Steps – A simple video with clear language for kids explaining how to make friends.
2. Little Voices: What Makes a good friend – Depicting kids’ advice, this short and sweet video helps start classroom discussions on friendship.
3. A Friend is Someone Who… – This delightful book is read aloud to children in a 7-minute video perfect for classroom viewing.
4. SCOOB!: How to Be a Good Friend – favorite kids’ characters from Warner Brothers teach a valuable lesson on friendship in this short clip.
5. Friendship Animation – Delightful digital animation characters express characteristics of friendship.
Are you looking for more videos? I have another list of friendship videos for kids.
Friendship Book Companions
Are you looking for just the right children’s books to help you teach kids essential friendship skills? This friendship book companion resource uses children’s books and connects them with easy-to-teach lesson plans and engaging activities to help you teach important social skills.
Children will participate in classroom discussions and book chats, share their ideas in written form, and participate in fun, engaging activities that build friendship and social skills.
FREE “Ways to Be a Friend” Storybook
Grab a free copy of our “Ways to Be a Friend” storybook to use in your lessons.
Download a free copy of the storybook for kids to color or read or use the version online in Google Slides. Click the image below to sign-up for your free storybook!
We, as teachers, can incorporate friendship lessons and opportunities for practice into our daily activities. I hope some of the above ideas inspired you!
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