K, 1, 2

How can playing together foster friendships and build community? The student will discover and explore the key elements of friendship and how friends add to a community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify characteristics of a friend.
  • display good friendship skills through play.
  • Brown, Laurie Krasny. How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them. Massachusetts: Little, Brown, 2001. ISBN: 0316111538

  • Carle, Eric. Do You Want to Be My Friend? New York: Harper Trophy, 1987. ISBN: 0064431274

  • Henkes, Kevin. Chrysanthemum. New York: Harper Trophy, 1996. ISBN: 0688147321

  • Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. New York: Harper Collins, 1979. ISBN: 0064440206

  • Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish. New York: North – South Books, 1992. ISBN: 1558580093

  • Physical Games for Cooperative Play


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Begin class by singing Friendship Song (Handout One). Sing through the song twice to draw student interest and attention. Then invite students to join in as you sing another time or two.

  2. Tell the class that the theme for this lesson is something very familiar: "our friends." Draw on prior knowledge by challenging students to name characteristics of friends. Use Handout Two: Friendship Is . . . for organizing the brainstorming. Use an overhead or transfer the chart to chart paper.

  3. Tell the students to close their eyes and picture a good friend. Record their responses to the following prompts on the chart in the appropriate columns.

    1. Ask them to describe what that friend looks like (nice, smiling, kind, pretty, etc.).
    2. Ask them to describe what the friend sounds like (cheerful, funny, loud, etc.).
    3. Ask them to describe what the friend acts like (shares, plays, laughs, etc.).
  4. Introduce The Rainbow Fish. Tell students that you are going to read them a story about a lonely little fish that learns how to make friends. Tell them to keep in mind what a friend looks like, sounds like and acts like while they listen to the story.

  5. Read the story aloud. After reading, encourage the students to add ideas to the chart. How did Rainbow fish look, sound and act after he made friends?

  6. Guide the students to recognize that the rainbow fish was lonely until he acted like a friend and became part of a community. Ask the students to describe what acting like a friend looks like, sounds like and feels like.

  7. Explain that friends and family are a part of our community. A community is a group that lives, works or plays together. A community shares a common purpose or works for the common good.

  8. Day Two

  9. Discuss the characteristics of friends by reviewing the chart (Handout Two) from Day One. Ask the students to explain how they can look, sound and act like friends while they play a game of kickball together. Encourage them to be specific about what they might say and do to practice friendship skills while they play.

  10. Introduce and explain the teacher chosen cooperative game(s).

  11. Play the game together using the learned friendship skills.

  12. Ask the students to reflect on evidence of use of friendship skills during the game.


Assess student comprehension of friendship skills in their responses to Handout Two as well as how they behave toward each other in the game.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson. Please refer to Lesson Six: Make-It, Take-It Family Night.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.7 Describe why the classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community governed by fundamental democratic principles.