I’ve been loving activities that cultivate empathy, compassion, and understanding. Last year around the holidays, Toby chose toys to give to “sad kids” (compassion). Last month, we explored the concept of diversity with a book and rainbow popsicle activity. And most recently, we got to try out the Empathy box from Happy Heart Kid.
The kit contained a number of different crafts and activities:
- Flowers (to give to others)
- Empathy Placard
- “Feeling” Faces
- Coloring Book
I handed Toby the unopened box and let him have at it (while documenting in pictures, of course). He was excited to unpack the box, and checked out each of the activities as he placed them on the table. I loved that all the crafts were compartmentalized in plastic bags, so that the parts didn’t get mixed up. Ok, well, the crayons weren’t. But all the small bits and pieces.
After checking out all the options available to him, Toby decided to make the flowers first. I was in charge of reading the directions while he got out all the craft supplies. As he made the flowers, I followed the conversation guidelines mentioned in the activity booklet. We talked about how giving people flowers can make them feel better, and I mentioned some times in the past that I had received flowers or when they might be given:
- “Just because” – from Daddy to Mommy
- “Get well soon” – to people who are sick, like the people to whom we deliver meals
- “Congratulations” – to celebrate the arrival of a new baby like Zack
Since the craft included enough materials to make three flowers, Toby decided to give flowers to three people (instead of the whole bouquet being given to one person — spread the joy, right?). First, he wanted to give one to “the sick mama” that we delivered a meal to several weeks ago. It took me a few minutes to figure out who Toby was talking about, but I thought it was so sweet that he remembered her, and was being empathetic! Next, he decided he would give one to Grandma… and since he has two grandmas, that filled our quota of three flowers.
We then briefly explored another craft — feeling faces. Toby enthusiastically stuck eye stickers to all of the faces, and we talked about different emotions associated with specific events, but he was hesitant to put mouths and noses on the faces because he didn’t like the texture of the included clay. Ever the problem solver, Toby ran to the playroom and returned with his own modeling clay. Smiling and frowning faces were then created, with nose that then turned into a tooth. Don’t you love how creative and adaptable kids are?
Over the next few days, Toby diligently reminded me that we needed to deliver his flowers to the “sick mama” and his grandmas… because “that will make them so happy!”