Tips for making friends

Year level: Pre-primary


Students develop an understanding that having friends makes us feel happy and that personal and social skills are required to build and maintain friendships. 

Learning focus

Communicating and listening are important skills required to interact effectively with others and to build friendships.

Key understandings

  • Getting along with others and having friends can make us feel happier.

  • Friends are people we share things with – time, play, toys, interests.

  • If we want to have a friend we need to be a friend.

  • Our friends can be just like us or very different from us.

  • Listening well when others talk, playing fairly, sharing and taking turns are some ways to get along with others.

  • People can have as many friends as they choose.


  • 5-6 hula hoops
  • Music
  • Paper plates [one per student]
  • Large leaf-shaped piece of paper [one per student]

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Relationships and sexuality

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items


Before you get started

  • Be sensitive to the students who have difficulty making friends and keeping friends. Help these students to identify the personal strengths they possess and the attributes required when being a friend.

  • It is important to read and understand the Guides: Resilience and life skills and Establishing ground rules in order to create a safe environment for all students to feel supported and trusting.

Learning activities

Whole Class

Students experience qualities of friendship that are necessary for effective positive relationships.

  1. Place 5 or 6 hoops on the ground in a small area. Have students dance around the hoops to some music. When the music stops call out a number between 1 and 5. Students need to cluster in a hoop in groups of this number, or less, and hug or hold hands until the music starts again.

    • There may be children left out of a hoop during the game. Be mindful that the same children are not left out each time. 

  1. Discuss how the students felt when playing with their each other in this activity and ask the following questions:

    • How do you feel when you are having fun with your friends?

    • Why is it good to have friends?

    • Was anyone left out of a hula hoop during the game? What did you do when you were the 'odd one out'? How did it feel to not be in a hoop?

    • What is a friend?

    • What are some of the good things about your friends?

  1. Draw a Y-chart and label it 'having a friend looks like'; 'having a friend sounds like'; and 'having a friend feels like'. Have the class identify and list responses for each section of the Y-chart.  

    • Consider attributes of loyalty, kindness, thoughtfulness, fairness; sharing feelings; listening to problems; keeping secrets; and being helpful and optimistic. 

Independent or Small Group

Students identify strategies or 'tips' to assist with making friends and choose one strategy to focus on in a practical activity. 

  1. Ask the class:

    • What are some ‘making friends tips’ you can use to get to know someone you don’t know very well? (smile; say hello and tell them your name; ask them if you can join in their game; tell them something interesting but don’t talk too much; talk about something you think is good fun to do; ask them a question about their pet or what they like to do; listen to them carefully)

  1. Draw pictures to represent these suggestions on the whiteboard.

  2. Give each student a paper plate and fold it in half then unfold. Ask them to draw a picture of their face on one half of the plate. Have students draw one of the whiteboarded ‘making friends tips’ that they would like to practise at school or home, on the other half of their paper plate. Hang the plates at the front of the class so students can be reminded to use the skill. 

  3. Write the names of each student on a strip of paper and place in a container.

    • Have students select one strip (redraw if they select their own name). Explain that for the following week they need to practise some of these skills with this secret friend without telling them they have drawn their name. Suggest that students may need to be friendly to other students as well, so their selected friend does not ‘guess’ too quickly.

    • At the end of the week, have students try to guess who their secret friend was and the words and actions that led them to this conclusion.


  1. Stress to students that it’s normal to sometimes feel lonely and shy or disappointed with our friends. We can also feel 'left out' like when some people were left out of the hula hoop game. Discuss why some people may have difficulty being friendly or making friends (e.g. feeling shy or sad, can't speak the language). Explain what it means to be patient and tolerant of people. Ask:

    • What words worked best for you when you were practising being a good friend?

    • What actions worked best for you when you were practising being a good friend?

    • Can you have more than one friend?

    • Do your friends have to like the same things as you?

    • What does it feel like when someone is not being friendly?

    • What does it feel like to be left out of a game? What can you do to get back into the game? (e.g. run faster during the hula hoop game)

  1. On a leaf-shaped piece of paper, have each student complete and illustrate:

"One way to be a good friend is…"

  • Display the leaves on a ‘friendship tree’.