How to Make Friends at School Activities

No matter the time of year, there may be some students still feeling left out, not sure how to become part of the group. Maybe they’re new to the class or school, or just slower to make connections with peers. Here’s an idea for how to make friends at school, and not just in the beginning, but throughout the year.

Using our printable template, have each student fill out a survey about their interests. Students will draw or write about their favorite activities or what they would want as a gift if they could have anything.

Place all of these sheets in the transparent plastic sleeves of a binder so they’re easy to flip through.

Place all of these sheets in the transparent plastic sleeves of a binder so they’re easy to flip through.

There are several different ways you could use this Buddy Binder to help students make new friends with their classmates, but here’s one: Once a week, or on a schedule that works for you, invite one student to join you for a special lunch in your classroom. That student will then choose a classmate from the Buddy Binder to eat with you both.

You could look through the binder with your student and talk through their choices, looking for someone with whom they share a common interest. Students shouldn’t be picking a classmate that they already spend time with at recess or after school. This is an opportunity to get to know someone new.

For example, a student may say, “I didn’t know that Olivia liked koalas, too! That’s my favorite animal!”

Eating in your classroom will give both students a more relaxed space to chat than the busy cafeteria, and you’ll be there to facilitate the conversation if needed. It’s also an opportunity for you to build a more personal relationship with your students.

how to make friends at school

Want to know how to make friends in middle school?

This printable is a superhero twist on a getting-to-know-you survey that will help in building relationships with middle school students.

While our Buddy Binder sheets could also be used with older students, they’re really more for facilitating students’ making new friends.

The questions on this survey will be particularly helpful for counselors and teachers to gain insight into their new or returning students’ views of themselves. Categories like “Special Tools,” asking students what they need to be successful, and “Mission,” asking students their goals and who they want to be this year, will give you an idea of how to best help your students succeed.

The “Justice League/Avengers” category will give you a chance to see who students consider their allies and friends. Is there a student who doesn’t list anyone in their family? Is there a student who doesn’t list anyone at school? Do any students not have anyone to list at all?

This activity can be used at any time of year, not just the first couple weeks of getting-to-know-yous and introductions to rules. Consider having students complete this at the beginning and again at the end of the year and comparing/contrasting their responses. Or if you’re just finding this activity later in the year, it’s of course never too late to do this kind of check-in with middle school students.

This printable will teach students how to make friends at school by choosing appropriate phrases for inviting someone to play.

In a previous Buddy Binder activity, we talked about making new friends based on common interests. But once you know you both like four-square, what’s a good way to ask them to play the game with you? Normally, forcing someone to be your friend doesn’t work. Kids need to learn how to make friends at school, starting with using appropriate phrases for asking someone to play with them.

Telling a peer “My teacher said you have to play with me,” or “You probably don’t want to play with me, but…” are not the strongest starts for a lasting friendship. But kids who struggle with initiation truly don’t know where to begin. This worksheet is a great jumping off point for that discussion.

See our other social initiation lessons and activities to help students maintain these friendships!