Friendship Activities for Kids: in this post, you will find 25 fun activities to use at home or to add to your friendship lesson plan. You will be able to download a free printable friendship activity PDF.
Friendship is one of the most valuable gifts in the world. To have good friends and to be one is one of the most rewarding experiences in human life.
Friendship is also one of our most important needs.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, aside from food, water, and shelter, having a group of people that love and support you is extremely important.
Why Having Friends is Important
Friends are people who know and like each other. Friends spend time together, talk, play, and help each other. True friends make you feel good and trustworthy.
There are so many benefits that support the importance of friendship, it’s hard to list them all!
- Increase your feeling of belonging. A tight circle of friends can become a person’s tribe or community that gives them a place to belong.
- Boost happiness. Close friends have the ability to bring joy in any context.
- Reduce stress. Knowing you have a loyal friend can help calm you as well as provide a non-judgemental sounding board to help brainstorm ideas.
- Provide support through challenges. Whether a person is going through a divorce, a family death, or a global pandemic, friends can provide support to each other in a variety of ways.
In early childhood, establishing friendships is already an important developmental milestone.
“Children who enjoy close friendships are more likely to experience higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and self-esteem and less likely to be lonely, depressed or victimized” (Holder, Mark & Coleman, Ben. (2015))
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What makes a good friend?
What are the qualities of a good friend?
There are many qualities of a good friend. Some of the most valued characteristics in a friend are being:
There are a lot of ways to help kids understand how to be and have amazing friends. Here are a few of my favorite friendship activities…
Fun Friendship Activities for Kids
Let’s explore a list of friendship activities that will help kids navigate social situations and have fun with friends (most of them make great team building activities too)
1. Write a Story Together
Organize kids in small groups or pairs and ask them to cooperate in writing a story together.
2. Make a Video!
Organize the kids in small groups and ask each of them to explain what being friends means to them. Make a video and share it with the class.
3. Friendship Picture Books
I believe children’s books are one of the best ways to teach younger children about values and emotions.
These are some examples of books about friendship :
- Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler Book
Written for children ages 5-10, this book helps guide the conversation with elementary school-age kids on the importance of being kind.
With thousands of positive reviews, this book is an excellent tool for encouraging friendship.
- Teach your dragon to make friends
A book about the importance of friendship and how to make new friends (up to 8 y.o)
4. Ball Toss
This is a warm-up activity to help students explore the qualities of healthy relationships. Have the students stand up behind their desks or in a circle at the front of the room.
Toss the ball to someone in the group, and ask them to call out a word that represents qualities of a healthy relationship (for example; trust, supportive, kind, fun…).
Ask that person to then toss the ball to someone else. Each time a new student catches the ball, ask them to share a new quality… and so on.
If you feel your students may get stuck or run out of ideas, there is also thumball version that includes the conversation prompts on the ball (and wherever your thumb is placed on the ball, that’s the question you need to answer).
5. Friendship Want Ad
Create a fun friendship want ad where the kids write out all of the qualities that they want in a best friend and draw a picture.
6. Friendship Spotlight Game
Let’s put some common behaviors under the friendship spotlight.
In our (free) friendship spotlight worksheet you will find 15 different scenarios. Ask your kids or students to label those situations as:
- unhealthy/bad signs in a friendship (red light)
- warning signs (yellow light)
- healthy/good signs (green light)
You can also create your own list of scenarios and use the blank page for the kids to have their say (red, yellow, or green)
Grab this free friendship worksheet at the end of the post 👍
7. Blindfold Obstacle Game
Create a safe obstacle course. Kids partner up so that one goes through the obstacle course blindfolded and the other leads with their voice. This fun activity is not just a friendship game but it also helps practice good listening skills.
8. Things We Have In Common
This friendship activity is a great activity for breaking down barriers.
Kids are organized in small groups, ideally with a mix of kids that they aren’t already friends with. The group has to find a certain number of things that they all have in common.
Kids not only learn a lot about each other but become aware of how many things they may have in common with kids from different social groups.
9. Face Time / Exploring Emotions
Have the kids cut out pictures from magazines and label what the person is feeling.
Learning to identify other people’s emotions will help them become better friends.
10. Telephone Game
This is a classic game and a perfect activity for circle time.
One of the kids whispers a message to the next person sitting next to them. And the message continues circulating until it reaches the last kid in the circle. The final message often doesn’t have anything to do with the initial one.
How can we put this game to good use?
Let’s think gossip. We have to be very careful with what we say because messages change as each person adds something new to them.
11. Create a Friendship Flower Garden
Ask your child or students to draw a flower with big petals (or use a coloring worksheet, there are lots of them online). Write a characteristic of a good friend onto each petal and color them.
After coloring in their flower, the kids can hang up their flowers to create a ‘friendship garden’. You can also glue them to a popsicle stick and “plant” a friendship garden.
Another option is to use flower foam shapes (like in the picture). Write a child’s name in the middle of the flower and then used the petals to write adjectives that described why that person is a good friend.
12. A Recipe for Friendship
Another fun way to frame a conversation about social skills is to organize a “Recipe for Friendship” activity.
The characteristics of a good friend can form the ingredients. Then you may like to ask your students what a good friendship looks like, and encourage students to use their descriptions in their recipe instructions.
13. Build a Tower
Teamwork activities are a great way to help kids develop their interpersonal and friendship skills.
In this case, we are proposing building a tower. And, there are several “build a tower” activity ideas that we could implement:
- the classic wooden blocks stack games
- suspend family game
- magnetic building tiles (I find this one works well with young children because the magnetic tiles help their tower’s stability)
- card tower-> with a twist: the tower of self-esteem
The first three options are great options not just as a team activity, but they also help develop creative thinking and imagination, as well as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
The last one (the tower of self-esteem) ticks the same boxes as the rest of the tower games, but it provides children with an opportunity to work on self-esteem, social skills, conversation skills, and emotional intelligence.
14. Friendship Bracelets
Friendship bracelets are (usually) handmade bracelets given to a person as a symbol of friendship.
There are plenty of friendship bracelet kits available in the market like this one.
15. Friendship Word Search
We love word games so we had to include a friendship theme word search in our activity list.
Take this opportunity to teach kids some common strategies:
- go from right to left to see if you spot any word, and then continue with other directions (right-left, top-down, down-top, diagonal)
- choose the first letter from a word and scan to see if you can find the word
Find all the hidden friendship words in this friendship word search. We have provided a list of the hidden words, but you can hide it for the older kids (free download at the end of this post – solution included)
16. Friendship Letter
Ask your kids or students to write a letter to a friend to say what they appreciate about them.
17. Act it out: Friendship Role Play
Acting out is a fun activity that will help kids reflect on appropriate interactions with others and how our actions affect others.
- Have two kids stand in front of the group or in the middle of the circle during circle time.
- Ask them to act out different scenarios that display good friendship or even bad friendship behaviors
- Take turns with different kids so that they all have a chance to practice their friendship skills
18. Friendship Yarn Circle
This friendship game is a great idea to help kids visualize how friendship interconnects us.
It is a fun and simple activity for all ages and works even for a large group.
- Have everyone stand in a circle with the first person holding a ball of yarn.
- When a kid tosses the ball to someone else, they have to say something that they like about the catcher (every kid holds onto their yarn piece)
- It continues until all the kids have got a chance to toss the yarn and got chosen.
In the end, you will have a beautiful visual display of how friendship connects everyone.
19. Play Friendship Board Games
Board games encourage turn-taking and cheering each other on.
Most board games will make great friendship activities, but if you are looking for a game that explores specifically friendship skills, this is a good option:
This game is comprised of six different boards, and one of them deals with “What Makes a Good Friend”. This is a great game to encourage children’s conflict resolution, group work, and develop strong social skills.
20. Give them a Challenge
Sometimes, the best activity to help develop a friendship is to complete a challenge together.
Whether it is building some furniture flatpack, solving a riddle, or doing a puzzle together, there are plenty of ways to help kids develop friendships through problem-solving.
21. Kindness Challenge
This challenge is slightly different to the previous one.
Choose a month and set a Kindness Challenge so that kids are motivated to random acts of kindness.
In our post about empathy activities for kids, you will be able to explore fun activities for your kids or students and download a fun kindness challenge.
22. Friendship Rocks
Paint a gratitude rock and give it to someone special as a token of friendship.
Related: How to prepare gratitude rocks (and 8 fun ideas on how to use them)
23. Friendship Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is another all-time favorite with kids (and adults!), so we just had to include it in our list.
Prepare a list of nice friendship qualities like:
- best smile
- awesome helper
- good listener
- great friend
- new friendship
Write down as many items as kids in your classroom. The rule is that names can’t be repeated in each item, so everybody gets a kind word.
24. Friendship Songs
Adding music to a message makes it more “sticky”. I often find myself humming songs when a word that is part of the lyrics comes to my mind.
So, let’s add a couple of friendship songs examples to our list.
For young children you may try:
- You’ve got a friend in me (Toy Story)
- That’s what friends are for (The Vulture Song-From “The Jungle Book”/Sing-Along)
Older kids may prefer these ones:
- Count on Me (Bruno Mars)
- True Friends (Hannah Montana)
25. Friendship Videos
There are great resources online to teach kids about friendship.
These are some of my favorites
- For younger children, Elmo and Rosita teach friendship values (sharing, doing funny things together and the fact that we can be friends and we don’t need to like the same things):
- For older children, I love the ScoobyDoo video on how to be a good friend.
This video highlights some friendship values and how to spot good friends. Friends…
- Do things together
- Care about each other
- Have fun doing silly things
- Make you feel good
- Stand up for each other
We used this video one as part of a friendship activity at my son’s school and we loved it.
Other Social Skills Resources
- I-Statement Worksheets
- Self-Introduction for Kids (Worksheets)
- Social Skills Activities for Kids
- Conversation Starters for Kids
- Listening Games and Activities
- Apology Worksheets and Activities
- Conflict Resolution Activities for Kids
- How to Teach Kids to Take Turns
Friendship Worksheets (Printable PDF)
Did you enjoy these friendship activities for kids?
Don’t forget to download your worksheets⇓
Your printable friendship worksheet includes the following friendship activities:
- Friendship spotlight
- Friendship search work