Back to School Friendship Game for Kids

Going back to school (or starting school for the first time) is a scary thing for many kids.  Most have two main fears:  Will I like my teacher?  and Will I make any friends?  I can’t help with the teacher part, but I can help with making friends!  In order to make it more fun, and to encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, I created a back to school friendship game for kids.

Back to School Friend-Maker Game--7 challenges to help kids make friends at school {} #backtoschool

I’m not sure what to call it: A DIY “Just Do It” game . . . a Be Happy Friend Hunt . . . a Friend Finder . . . a Scavenger Hunt . . . a Service Hunt . . . a School Confidence Builder?  I guess the name doesn’t really matter, as long as it helps the kids make friends and overcome their nerves!

*IMPORTANT! Please do not use a medicine container for candy with kids who are not old enough to know the difference between medicine and candy. Because these containers are also used for medicine, be sure that your kids know that if they find a similar container somewhere, they should definitely not eat what is inside! My kids were old enough to know the difference. Please be sure that yours are, too.

Back to School Friendship Game for Kids

RELATED: 12 Back-to-School Tips for a Fantastic First DayBack-to-School:  How to Make Friends

This is kind of the opposite of a scavenger hunt.  Instead of looking for things to put in the container, kids are taking challenges and then eating the treats!  The goal of the game is to get the kids to be brave at school.  The challenges listed under the lids are:

  • Smile at someone
  • Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  • Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  • Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  • Find someone with the same hobby as you
  • Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you.

For shy kids (like mine), I’m hoping this will be a good reminder for them to be brave and jump out of their comfort zones to make friends at school.  Each morning, the girls pick a challenge and try to complete it that day at school.  After school, they report back to me.  If they did it, they get to open the lid and eat the treat!

After school today, Bear proudly announced that she did almost all of the challenges in one day!  Since she is my shyest child, I was very proud.  (She still only gets one treat a day, though!  She gets to do it again tomorrow!)

RELATED:  Composition Notebook Makeover–From Drab to Fab, DIY Paper Book Cover, Duck Tape Art Portfolio

Pill boxes to use for Friendship Game

Ready to make the game?  Here’s what you will need:

  • A seven-day pill box (can be found at Walmart, the Dollar Store, etc.).   These come in small and large.  I chose small because they were cheaper (and there was only one large one left).
  • Cardstock and/or scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Small foam brush or paint brush
  • If you’re lucky–some type of cutting tool (Cricut, Silhouette, Cuttle Bug, etc)  I borrowed a Cricut from my friend, Ryan.  (Thanks, Ryan!  I really will return it one of these days.  I’m just having so much fun!)  Letter stencils and regular old scissors work too!
  • Treats to fill the individual boxes.
  • Printout of first week of school ideas

Click link below to download

Be Happy–Back to School Friend-Maker Game

Begin by cutting your paper to fit the top of each lid.  Out of a contrasting paper, cut letters to fit on the lids as well.  (You could title it:  Friends, Be Happy, Service . . . whatever.  I chose “Be Happy” because I plan to use the boxes for a few other games.)

Paint Mod Podge onto the lids of each daily box, and top with your first paper.  Paint another layer of Mod Podge on top, so that it covers the paper and the plastic surrounding it.  Now top the lids with your letters and paint Mod Podge on top again.

Open the lids (so that you don’t accidentally glue them down), and allow the containers to dry.

Back to School Friend-Maker Game--7 challenges to help kids make friends at school {} #backtoschool

Print the challenges printable, and cut out the individual boxes.  Glue or tape the tasks inside the lids.  If you don’t use a permanent glue, you can remove the tasks and use the boxes for something new later.  (When I make my new game, I’ll post a new printable.)  Fill the holes with treats, and you’re ready to go!

Now–most important step–gather your kids and talk about ways to make friends at school!  Talk about smiling, saying hello, and how to make friends.  We even like to roll play entering a new classroom and meeting new kids.  (It makes a really fun family night.)  Let your kids pick their first challenge, and they’re ready to start the new school year off right!

Thanks to the Crafty Blog Stalker for giving me the idea to use the pill boxes for a DIY Scavenger Hunt.

Need more ideas?  Check out some of my favorites.  Images below are linked.

Watermelon on a Stick-- All the yummy flavor without the sticky mess! {} #familyreunion

Which Gluten-Free Play Dough Recipe Works the Best? {Recipes and Review from}

Setting Technology Limits for Kids -- Kids spending too much time gaming this summer? Help them choose other options by limiting their time with technology {How-To Tips from} #activeparenting

If you enjoy this idea, please “like,” “Pin,” or “+1” so that others can join the fun! Thanks!



  1. What a great idea!! You have a beautiful blog! Thanks so much for coming out to the party at Clean and Scentsible. I’ll be featuring this on my Facebook page tomorrow. Enjoy your week!
    Jenn ;)

  2. What a fun idea! My kids are starting at a new school this year, so this will be a great thing to do with them! Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. This is a fabulous idea! I was always such a shy kid when I was young, but I probably would have put myself out there a bit more if I had candy waiting at home! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  4. Fantastic! I know this would encourage kids to be more outgoing! Love it! Thanks for linking up this week at Gettin’ Krafty With It!

  5. This is awesome! Thanks for mentioning me at the beginning of the post. I am going to feature this on my facebook page, so stop by and grab a feature button! I love your version!

  6. We did something similar when we moved. For my kids it was getting them to talk more than just smile or say hi. So they had to ask a question to start a conversation. Like – ‘Did you do anything cool this weekend?’
    I gave them a quarter if they could do this. But I love, love, love the idea of the 7 day challenge. It’s so rewarding as a parent when they come home and say, “Guess what?! It worked!”

    • Thanks for you kind comment. I think I’ll try some conversation starters for the next challenge! I just visited your site. I love that you have your kids help post. The animal hospital is awesome! Following you via Facebook.

      I’ll hope you’ll come back and visit again.

  7. I love this idea! My son is starting Kindergarten, and he gets a overwhelmed by big groups. This would be a fun icebreaker.
    I host a link party with two other blogs. When you add your link, your project will show up on all three blogs. I’d love to have you drop in and link up!

  8. Great idea! I hope you will link this up over at The CSI Project. the challenge of the week is back to school. Come on over each week for a new challenge, new tutorials and giveaway. You can link up now thru Friday!

  9. This is a great idea. I hope you will come over to The CSI Project and link it up. The challenge this week is back to school. Each week is a new challenge, new tutrials and a giveaway. Come on over!

  10. That seems like a really neat idea. How great that they are trying some of them and I’m sure you love hearing about your kid’s stepping out and being brave.

    • Thanks for visiting! The game is working pretty well. The girls are really enjoying coming home and telling me what they did–and eating the treats!

  11. this is such a clever idea! I’m thinking of duplicating it but with chore or rewarding friendly behavior at home. Even though I was a shy child, somehow all four of my kids are very outgoing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks! (I’m thinking of doing the same thing once we’re done with this game. Some sort of family service game.) We’re opposites. I am not shy at all, but my kids are. Hmmm.

  12. Love this! Thanks so much for sharing at the Pomp Party! Pinning to our Pomp Party board!

  13. What a great idea! I’m glad it is working for your children.

    I would love it if you would share this at the Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    Have a great day!

  14. Ok. BRILLIANT!!! This is a fabulous back-to-school idea. We can all use help moving outside our comfort zone and this is a fun way to encourage that.

    I will be featuring you on facebook today ~and on the blog on Wednesday when the new party link up is posted!

    Thanks so much for linking up at I Gotta Create!
    <3 Christina

  15. What a great idea for kids who are a little more reserved. Thank you for sharing at All my Bloggy Friends this week! I hope to see you again Tuesday! :)

  16. It’s party time over at Debt Free Mommy Blog and you’re invited! Please come by and link up any post(s) related to making your home a better space. I hope you’ll join us for Making Space Mondays. Hope to see you there! -Tabitha

  17. That is a wonderful idea!!

  18. Cute idea!
    You’ve been featured on DIY Thrifty Thursday at
    Hope to see you again this week!


  19. I like the idea but I am clearly missing something. Do they look at the challenge, try to do it in the course of the day and then get to have the treats when they get home, if they tell you they did the challenge?

    • Yep. That’s exactly how it works. Before school, we talk about what they will try to do, and then they tell me about it when they get home. If they didn’t do the exact challenge, but they can tell me about something else they did, they still get the treat. Thanks for visiting. I’m headed to your site.

  20. Fun idea, so creative!! Thanks for linking up to Tasty Thursdays at The Mandatory Mooch. Hope you will link up again this week. The party will be live tonight.

    Thanks, Nichi

  21. This is such a cute idea – so sweet! Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  22. You’ve been featured at Wednesday Whatsits. Thanks for linking up!

  23. I featured you in my round up of Back to School projects this week on A Crafty Soiree. Please come by and check out your feature, it will be up tonight after midnight EST.

  24. This is such a wonderful idea!! I would love it if you would share this at my current linky party for back to school ideas! :)

  25. Great idea. I have a link party on Wednesdays, and I would love it if you would link this and any other posts. It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party. It runs from Wednesday to Sundays.
    I hope to see you there. I am your newest follower, and I would love for your to follow me also. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  26. Thanks for sharing this on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you’ll be back again this week with some more great ideas!

  27. Great idea!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  28. This is such a cute idea! My husband may be starting a new job soon and it will be stressful. I think I may tweak your idea to be a “good luck” pill box – with a treat to make each day easier!

  29. Hey Heidi,
    This is such a cute way for kids to make friends. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  30. What a wonderful idea!! I love it!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  31. Hi, I want to subscribe for this website to take latest
    updates, thus where can i do it please help out.

  32. Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website
    with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be
    tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and outstanding design and

  33. What a wonderful idea for encouraging kids to do something new! I love it. We homeschool, but I’ve already got some ideas for how to use this in our day. Thanks so much!

  34. This is a fabulous idea! My kids are starting at a new school this year, I hope you’ll be back again this week with some more great ideas!

  35. Regarding your disclaimer, the fact that your children don’t know the container is used for medication is even more dangerous. What if they came across on left on a bench in the park with interesting ‘sweets’ inside? Medication packs, bottles and cases should never be repurposed for children. Children need a clear message that if they find something like this they always go and give it to an adult, and never play with, or eat, the contents. I love the sentiment behind your post, but please redo using a different sort of container.

    • Thanks, Nicola. You’re right. I did this when my kids were old enough to know the difference, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else would. I’ll have to see if I can find another container that will work.

Comments make me happy!