Building friendships is essential to having a positive classroom environment.  When classmates get along and work well together everyone wins!  Kids feel comfortable and supported.  Students can resolve conflict. Kids look forward to coming to school most days because they will be spending time with peers they like being around. But, sometimes these friendships can be difficult to manage. Bringing in games about friendship can always help!

 Keep reading for some great friendship building activities for the classroom.  When you carve out time to build relationships with your students your class will have a welcoming experience to learn in all day long.

Friendship Building Activities

Not all games about friendship have to be obvious and in your face. Here are 8 ideas I came up with to help you build friendships in your classroom.

Get To Know You Ideas

The first step to building friendships is getting to know one another.  It’s a great way to build connections!  Here are some get to know you ideas to try:

Brown Bag Show And Tell

  • Send a brown bag home with each student.
  • Instruct students to collect 5 things that show information about who they are and put them in the bag.
  • Ideas to share include special objects, favorite items, photos, souvenirs, or items from activities they do.
  • When brown bags are returned, invite students to share their brown bag items with the class.
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All About Me Billboard

  • Instruct students to create an advertisement that showcases all things about themselves.
  • Pass out large sheets of paper for kids to create their billboard.
  • Instruct students to include the following: create a slogan that describes them, a self portrait, top 5 things that make them great, 3 things they like or do, and other extras like use favorite colors or draw pictures of their interests or family.
  • Hang billboards up around room and have a gallery walk where half the class looks at the billboards and the other half stands by their advertisement to share with onlookers.

Working Together Ideas

Learning how to work together is a great friendship booster. Giving students tasks to work on brings them together to learn valuable communication skills and team building experiences. Although these activities do not scream  “games about friendship”. Students are working together, learning new things about each other and hopefully forming friendships. Having a classroom reward system works well. But, try out these ideas to get your class to work together.

Make A Puzzle

  • To prep draw out simple puzzle shapes on 8×10 pieces of paper (can draw 2 or 4 shapes for each piece of paper) and cut out.
  • Mix up the puzzle pieces and pass out to students.
  • Instruct class to find their puzzle pieces amongst classmates by matching up their pieces with one another.
  • When students find their matching pieces instruct the small groups to attach the pieces together and color and design their own puzzle together.

Friendship Bridge

  • Using a selection of blocks, Keva planks, popsicle sticks or something similar small groups will build a bridge and test out its strength using a weighted item of choice.
  • Divide class up into small groups and pass out building items.
  • Allow groups time to design and build their groups as they wish.
  • When bridges are built, test their strength with the weighted item.
  • Optional, groups can go back and make changes to bridge and retest strength.
  • Process the experience as a whole group to talk about how working together felt, things learned, what worked and what was challenging.

Conflict Resolution Ideas

Problems can pop-up from time to time. When that happens do your students know how to resolve them?  Prep them ahead of time with these conflict resolution ideas:

Rock Paper Scissors

  • This activity explores the common conflict of some kids getting to do something and other kinds not getting a chance.
  • Instruct students to pair up and to listen to some scenarios.
  • After reading a scenario instruct the class to play “Rock Paper Scissors” with their partner. Whoever wins gets to do the thing in the scenario (hypothetically.)
  • Scenarios to read: gets to be the line leader, gets to pass out papers, gets to clean up supplies, gets to pick the first book, gets to run an errand to the office.
  • Discuss with class how it felt to win or lose and things students could do when students aren’t chosen.

What Would You Do

  • As a whole class read simple scenarios involving conflicts and ask “what would you do?”
  • Invite students to share their responses of what they would do.
  • Write responses on the board.
  • Create a conflict resolution poster with ideas shared in class and hang up in the classroom to refer back to when conflicts arise.
  • Scenarios to read: two kids want the same seat, classmate budded in line,  student used up all the glue, two friends want to play with the only basketball, classmate doesn’t help clean up.

Building Allies Ideas

Coming to school and knowing people have your back is vital to a student’s mental wellness in the classroom.  Create a respectful and supportive environment with these ideas that will build allies amongst peers and prevent bullying:

Friendship Soup

  • To prepare for this activity, print out images of different vegetables and cut out a large pot or bowl out of butcher block paper to hang up on the wall.
  • Read the story “Stone Soup” to class.
  • Ask students questions about how strangers were treated and what happened when characters started sharing.
  • Explain to class that everyone has something special to share and contribute to the class. Talk about how many vegetables go into making a soup and when cooked together it tastes really good. Explain to class they will make their own friendship soup that will include something special from each person to make a delicious friendship soup.
  • Ask the class to create a list with characteristics like kind, helpful, friendly and write responses on the board.
  • Tell the class that each student will pick a characteristic that they think best describes them. Pass out a vegetable to each student and instruct them to write their name and the characteristics on their vegetable.
  • One by one invite students to bring up their vegetable, share what they put and tape onto the pot/bowl.

Filler-Up Cup Kindness Challenge

  • On a piece of butcher-block paper draw a large cup and hang it up on the wall.
  • Explain to class that the idea of the cup is to fill it up with random acts of kindness.
  • When students experience a random act of kindness from a friend students should share with the teacher.
  • Each act of kindness will get written in the cup (can write on a post it to put in cup or simple write words in the cup.)
  • When the cup gets filled up the class will get a special reward like an extra recess, popcorn and movie, or pajama day.

Friendship building activities is the key to creating a close-knit learning community.  Try one of these friendship builders to get your students to feel good about coming to school everyday. Another great way to get students engaging and talking to each other is the creation of friendship bracelets. I have a lot of fun bracelets you can make with your classroom over in my TPT shop

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