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How to Make a Friendship Salad: Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Robin is a former third-grade teacher, has a Masters in Education, and has three children of her own.

Our daughter, Julia, eating her salad

Our daughter, Julia, eating her salad

Friendship Salad Activity for Elementary Students

I recently went into my daughter's kindergarten classroom to assist in a friendship salad lesson. It was such a fun experience for all of the kids and a great bonding experience; plus, it doubled as an easy cooking lesson. Below are my notes as well as the lesson plan for the activity.

Grade Level: Pre-K - 3rd Grade

Time: About 1 hour

Objective: For kids to realize that every single child has a part in making the classroom a great place to be and to understand that friendship is the key ingredient.

Materials for Friendship Fruit Salad Activity

  • Prepared fruit (strawberries, grapes, melon, pears, apples, cantaloupe) There should be one fruit per group. Bananas are not recommended.
  • Fruit should be washed, stems cut off strawberries, rinds cut off melons, and the rest of the fruit should be pre-cut in large chunks. Students should be able to cut fruit easily with a plastic knife.
  • Disposable or plastic plates that can be washed at home (we have a class set of Ikea plates for all the events)
  • Plastic knives for kids to cut
  • Water cups for salad
  • Adult knife
  • Compost bin for scraps
  • Dishtowel for each table
  • Hand wipes
  • Large Salad bowl, possibly two
  • Salad servers, possible two sets
  • Napkins
  • Table cleaner (409, etc.)

A Few Days Before

The following can be sent out before the lesson to let students know what they need to bring to school.

Our class is making a friendship salad! I need to bring one __________ to school on Wednesday.

Anticipatory Set: Before the Lesson Begins

Read: That’s What a Friend Is by P.K. Hallinan (Or use any other friendship book that you have on hand)

Questions to ask before and during reading:

  • What makes a good friend?
  • Raise your hand if you have made friends in our classroom. What are some of the things that make them your friend?

Making the Friendship Salad

After you have finished reading your friendship book, explain to the class the activity.

  • Announce to the class that they will be making a friendship salad at their group desk.
  • A parent at each desk will provide pieces of fruit to cut up and add to the salad.
  • Each table will have one type of fruit that is ready to be cut, e.g., apples, grapes, strawberries, melon, or cantaloupe. (Parents should have two bowls on every table. One for uncut fruit and one for the children to put the fruit once it is cut. There should also be plates, plastic knives, and napkins for each student.)
  • Parents or teachers should model how to cut the fruit before the students begin. How to properly hold a knife and knife safety.
  • Excuse students to their desks. Make sure parents have their handouts to ask pertinent questions.
Students listening to instructions before cutting begins.

Students listening to instructions before cutting begins.

Fruit is ready to make the salad

Fruit is ready to make the salad

Yummy pears ready to add to the salad

Yummy pears ready to add to the salad

Parent Guide for Each Table

This is a guide for parents as they help at their table. One sheet can be given to each parent if they have any questions while guiding kids through the lesson.

Friendship Fruit Salad Parent Guidance

The teacher will give instructions on making the friendship salad, but if there are any questions go ahead and answer them. Kids will be cutting up their fruit on the same plates that they eat their salad. Let them know so they don’t ask for another plate. When students are finished they will help clean up their desks by stacking their plates and wiping down their area. We may need to wipe it down again.

Questions to ask while students cut up the fruit:

  • What makes a good friend?
  • What is something that a friend has done for you?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • Do all of your friends need to be exactly like you?
  • How are we different?
  • Why does that make us better as a group?
  • How is our classroom like our fruit salad?
  • Why are we cutting up this XXX. What are we making?
  • Have you made fruit salad before? How is this similar or different?
  • How is the XXX similar to or different than the YYY at the other table?
  • How do you predict this XXX will taste?
  • Where does XXX grow? How do you know?
  • What are some other things we can make with XXX?

Making the Salad

After Fruit is all cut:

  • Invite children to gather in a large circle.
  • Bring out a large salad bowl.
  • Ask students what type of fruit they think would make a great salad? Bring over the apples (or any other fruit). Ask students, "Do you think we should only put in apples? How about grapes?" Add grapes and rest of fruit. Before you finish, bring out a rotten banana or other type of fruit. What about rotten fruit? What would one rotten banana do to the whole salad? How does a rotten friend affect our classroom? Let students respond.
  • Tell students, "Your classroom is like our fruit salad. All of you are different and wonderful and the salad would not be the same without you. Are any of you rotten bananas? NO!! You are all sweet; just like a good friend!"
  • Now that you are all finished, you can have a friendship fruit salad party!
Julia's teacher puts the salad together

Julia's teacher puts the salad together

Friendship Books

Apple Template

Apple Template

Good Apple Activity

After children have finished eating their friendship salad they can begin the “Good Apple” activity.

  • Show students the apple template.
  • Explain that they are going to make a friendship book that they can read throughout the year to remind them what great friends they have in Room XXX.
  • Create your own handout with the apple that can say something like, “I’m a good apple because ___________.”
  • Students are each supposed to say why they're a good friend. They can write their reason, draw their reason or do both.
  • Pass out the template while the parent helpers pass out the fruit salad.
  • If time allows, a great closing to the activity is to ask a few students to share their apple handouts.
  • Ask a parent to bind the book so that students can read it during the year.

Wrapping Up the Activity

Once the salad is eaten and the "Good Apple" activity is done, parents help clean up: clean and stack plates, collect knives, wipe down tables with wipes, etc.

There's usually A LOT of leftover friendship salad, which can be dropped off in the teacher's lounge.


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 09, 2015:

Robin, what a wonderful idea for this friendship fruit salad for your kids to make friends with in elementary school. I love that idea! Voted up for useful!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on August 24, 2014:

I love this idea and will be sharing this page with a friend who volunteers at one of our elementary schools. Pendleton Elementary has a Memory Garden and grows all kinds of vegetables. It is an outdoor learning lab for the school and I think this idea would be wonderful to incorporate in their class. Thank you.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on February 06, 2014:

Hi Rebecca! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 06, 2014:

Friendship salad sounds like a wonderful idea. This reminds me of making cupcakes for MLK birthday when I taught kindergarten. We iced the cupcakes all different colors, but talked about how no matter what color, the cupcake were all the same inside!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on February 06, 2014:

Thanks, YogaKat! I'm looking forward to doing the project again with our third daughter, a kinder. Let me know how it goes! :)

YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on January 30, 2014:

Love this idea. Food and friendship - I am going to share with my teacher friends, one who has an after school elementary cooking class.

ignugent17 on March 05, 2013:

For sure kids will enjoy this lesson. Thanks for sharing your way of presenting the importance of friendship.

WiseKwashie on November 28, 2012:

This is wonderful. I'll pass it to the teachers in the junior section of our schools.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 07, 2012:

I agree, rebecca. The rotten banana was very powerful! Thanks for reading!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 01, 2012:

This is a nice idea for incorporating literature into other activities. Love the rotten banana thing! (one bad apple.....or banana in this case is so true!

TTjean from Iowa on February 06, 2012:

Love the lesson it teaches so many skills. I can't wait to try it.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on February 05, 2012:

You're welcome, Robin. It's a pleasure!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on January 26, 2012:

Thanks for the comments. Sinea, it was a great lesson and I thought it would be great to make a friendship salad book as well. Thanks for passing it along and I'll be sure to check out your Hub about friendship writing!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on January 26, 2012:

Robin, I love this idea. I work as a school administrator and see a lot of creative lessons. This one is getting forwarded to them. It also fits hand-in-hand with my Lesson Plans for Teachers hub, which is about Friendship Writing. Students could even write about the friendship salads after the event. Anyhow, I'll add it as a link! Voted up and useful.

ehsan121 from Karachi on December 24, 2011:

What great idea to make a friendship salda:D

Thanks interesting, Liked it and voted up.



Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on December 07, 2011:

Thanks, smarter4ever! I appreciate the comment!

smarter4ever from Wisconsin on December 07, 2011:

This is such an interesting article, and the Friendship Fruit Salad is a fantastic concept. I have a 3 year-old neice, so I will be sharing this with my sister!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on December 06, 2011:

Thanks, Sagebrush! It really was a great lesson and the kids had so much fun. We're doing gingerbread men this week; it should also be fun!

sagebrush_mama from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound! on December 06, 2011:

What a fun lesson, filled with imagery! I love visual means of getting a concept across, and this is fantastic! Yummy, too!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 29, 2011:

Peggy, what a great memory of your mom at your school. It's a short window when they want you to participate at their school, so I'm trying to take advantage of that! ;)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 29, 2011:

Hi Robin,

I am sure that Julia was happy that you were there as well! I well remember the feeling of pride I had when in the early grades at school and my mother would be there volunteering and doing something for and with us. Nice!!!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 29, 2011:

Thanks, Peggy. It was a fun day to be a part of at Julia's school. Cheers!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 29, 2011:

What a cute idea! This would be a fun lesson for the kids to learn and in which to participate and enjoyable for the teachers and parent helpers as well. Up and useful votes!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 22, 2011:

Thanks, thebookmom! I liked the Good Apple activity, too. I love books that are created so kids can look back on them throughout the year.

Esmeowl and caradelean, I really appreciate the comments from fellow teachers!

Thanks, Earth Angel!

Simone, I agree. It was a very sweet lesson and the kids really enjoyed it!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on November 18, 2011:

Oh my goodness! What a sweet, lovely lesson! I love this! Your photos and outline are excellent. I'm not good with kids, but armed with a lesson plan like this, I don't even think I'd be nervous.

Thanks so much for documenting the event and sharing the outline with us!

cardelean from Michigan on November 18, 2011:

This is a fantastic activity. Although it would probably be a bit below my grade level, I am DEFINITELY going to pass this along to our lower ele teachers. Thanks for sharing this great lesson.

Earth Angel on November 18, 2011:

Robin, this whole Hub is just precious! What a delight! Blessings of abundance and Thanksgiving to all of you! Earth Angel!

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on November 18, 2011:

This is a great lesson plan. I would definitely have done this activity when I taught kindergarten. Voted up and useful.

thebookmom from Nebraska on November 17, 2011:

Great hub! Your lesson plan is really well written and really complete. I love the section on questions to ask and the "good apple" activity.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 17, 2011:

Thanks, peanutbutterwine! What a great user name! It was a great lesson and is wonderful for the beginning of the year but can be done any time. Cheers!

PeanutButterWine from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada on November 17, 2011:

What a neat idea! I love this... my sister is an elementary school teacher I am going to pass this on to her; & I shared this on Facebook as well. Fabulous Hub :)