Today I share a lesson teaching empathy to kids. This lesson on empathy is a part of my character-building series. My hope is to equip teachers, parents, and caregivers as they seek resources for teaching character to children.
If you are discovering my character-building series for the first time, I’d love you to check out all the 52 character traits I offer here.
A Lesson Teaching Empathy to Kids
Teaching empathy to kids is extremely important. Of course, modeling empathy is the best lesson that can be taught. In addition to modeling, being intentional about teaching character only builds into our children’s lives and integrity.
According to John Medina, a brain expert who wrote Brain Rules for Baby (Amazon affiliate link), empathy is the leading predictor of socially competent children. I think we all want that for our kids.
My character-building series offers lessons on teaching 52 different character traits. There are enough lessons to be teaching character to your children every single day of the year. Here is a great introduction to the series to help you see all that is offered here and get started on your character-building journey.
Today’s lesson is a lesson on empathy. I originally began this series in 2012, and rather than use the word empathy, I called it “sensitivity.”
I am in the process of updating my character-building series. My goal is to go back and change the sensitivity lessons to focus on the word empathy. I believe this word better represents the lessons I want to teach my kids. Here is a link to all of the lessons on this topic.
Please have patience as I update this series. There are hundreds of posts to elevate. While the bones are good, the original series is a bit rough around the edges in terms of presentation.
Emotions Cut & Paste Activity that Teaches Empathy
Objective: Children will learn about empathy by working on recognizing facial expressions for different emotions.
- How do we know how people are feeling?
- What part does the face play in knowing how people are feeling?
- How can you respond to the different emotions people feel? (List emotions – i.e. What are some healthy ways to respond when people are sad? angry? disappointed? etc.
Materials Needed for this Lesson to Teach Empathy to Kids
The emotion activity printables are free. There are Amazon affiliate links after that printable for other materials needed for your convenience. Anything you purchase through these links goes to support the free resources I provide here at Meaningful Mama.
- Free Emotion Activity Printables – This includes face outline, facial features, and emotion words.
- Glue Stick
How to Teach Empathy to Kids with this Emotions Activity
This printable that has face emotions can be used in a variety of ways. If you are a classroom teacher, it might look different than if you are a homeschool parent or just a parent who is intentional about teaching character to their children.
Children can cut out all of the different facial features. Not only does this provide the pieces needed to complete this emotions activity, but it is also an opportunity to work on fine motor skills.
If you are concerned about time, another option is to assign an emotion or let children choose their own emotion, and then only cut out the facial features they feel best demonstrates that emotion.
Here are a few options for completing this activity:
- Different students can be assigned different emotions. Using scissors and glue, the child should cut out the facial features and paste them to the chosen face that matches the emotion assigned. Once they complete their face that depicts their emotion, they can share with you or the class as to why they feel like their picture best represents the feeling they were assigned.
- Child can cut out all of the facial features. For this activity, they do not need to use glue. The teacher can call out an emotion, and the child can place the facial features on the face they choose. Once done, they can show their results and then swipe them away. Another emotion can then be called out, and the child can set to work on the next emotion.
- Children can complete all four faces with four different emotions of their choosing.
Say: It is important for us to learn visual cues from others. To look into someone’s face and read how they are feeling based on their expression is an important skill. The next step is to learn how to respond to others when they are sad, disappointed, angry, happy, worried or nervous. Pay attention today and in the coming days to the faces of others and practice being intentional about responding to the emotional needs of others.