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Help Students Make New Friends with a Buddy Binder

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 to help them make new friends 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 complete sentences like “At recess, I like to…” and “If I could have one thing in the whole world as a present, it would be…” (You should fill out the survey, too!) You can choose to have students draw a picture of themselves, or cover that spot on the printable with a photograph.

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

buddy binder

Download the Buddy Binder printable here.

There are several different ways you could use this Buddy Binder to help students initiate friendships 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. (A former colleague called this “Secret Lunch Club.” A fun name makes it even more special for the kids.) 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.

Do you have another idea for using the Buddy Binder to facilitate friendships?


making friends activity for any time of the school year. Great resource for both elementary classroom teachers and elementary counselors


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