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Classroom Friendship Activity – Build ’em Up Hot Seat

Cartoon Picture Of Girl Sitting In Front Of Blackboard With Compliment Written On It. Build 'Em Up Hot Seat Friendship Activity.

Kids who sit in the Hot Seat feel a boost in self-esteem and a real sense of belonging!

This is a powerful friendship activity to use in the classroom any time a student is in need of some extra love and care or as a focus activity during International Day of Friendship.

It's one we've included in our SEL curriculum as it can have an incredibly positive impact on children who struggle with confidence. Being acknowledged and complimented by their classmates can highlight positive qualities children may never have recognized in themselves. It can be exceptionally moving for children who have trouble connecting with others and struggle to fit in. It can also help to nurture more positive relationships as it encourages children to think about and highlight the endearing character traits of their peers.


You will need

  • a large piece of card or butcher’s paper 
  • several different coloured markers
  • a class list or roll call sheet


  1. 1
    Explain to children that they’re going to each have a turn sitting in the ‘hot seat’. It helps to have a class list to make sure that everyone has a turn over a period of time.
  2. 2
    Put a piece of card or butcher’s paper on an easel or adhere it to the whiteboard. Place a chair in front of it with its back to the paper.
  3. 3
    Select a child from the roll and ask them to sit in the chair. Tell the remaining children they’re going to take turns to write something nice about the person in the chair on the paper behind them. They’re to think about that person’s positive qualities and compliment them on things they like about them but they’re not to focus on their appearance.


  • You’re such a great friend.
  • I love that you smile so much. It makes me happy.
  • You are so kind and helpful.
  • I love having you in our grade.
  • You’re really good at drawing.
  1. 4
    When everyone’s had a go, ask the focus child to stand up and turn around to read the compliments on the sheet. You may like to take a photo or short video of their reaction or of them standing beside the sheet.
  2. 5
    Leave their compliments sheet displayed until the end of the day and ask the child to take a photo of it on their device so they can look at it whenever they’re feeling sad or self-critical. Present them with the paper to take home to show their family or hang in their bedroom.

Have you had success connecting and uplifting children in your classroom? We'd love you to share your ideas and photos HERE.

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