Empathy in children – a simple game straight for the soul

I often see the children I work with say things or do things that hurt others. Sometimes they do it on purpose and sometimes they don’t notice. How do we teach them to be empathetic?

The game below aims to visualise the signs that “I don’t want you to play with me” or “you’re not my friend anymore”, “I don’t want to talk to you” or “leave me alone” leaves.


How does the game work?

I challenged the children to each draw a heart. The next step was to cut it out and put what they offered, a smile or help, on the card. Then I asked them to think of a time when other children had offended them and they felt lonely or sad.

Dan told how they called him “beaver teeth and not just once” and wouldn’t play with him. Marius told how the children waved cheerfully that they were leaving, when he was being punished and not allowed to go. “They laughed and said -pa, we are leaving”.

I told them a story from when I was a child that really upset me. I crumpled up the heart that I cut out, I told them “that’s how I, felt.”


Then I invited them to ride it too. Then I asked them all to smooth it.

What did they learn?

Can you put it back the way it was before you crumpled it? The same happens to our hearts when someone offends us or we offend someone. Even if we’re sorry and apologize, the marks remain. When he heard, Marius didn’t want to crumple it, he said he was just bending a corner. Dan wrote the message on it.

Andrei broke his heart by mistake. I helped him glue it back together and used the example to show that even if we fix a broken heart, there’s still a mark.

How do you explain to children the marks our words and actions leave?

You can find us with activities for children in Cluj and Bucharest, especially online. Click on the link for the programme offered.


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