Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Teaching Ideas for Empathy Week

Teaching Ideas for Empathy Week

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11

Empathy Week 2024 takes place from the 26th of February to the 1st of March. Try out some of our teaching ideas to explore and build empathy in your classroom. Visit the Empathy Week website to register and access their free webinars, films and resources.

If you have any other ideas of your own, let us know by adding a comment!


  • Create an information booklet about an organisation or charity that can offer support to people who need it. Empathy Week has some suggestions, or children might like to research local charities, or charities that have a personal resonance for them.
  • Make a collection of favourite books where children can empathise with the characters, such as The Colour Monster or War Horse. Discuss how the authors help the reader to empathise with the characters.
  • Write a poem where the writer imagines that they are someone else.
  • Write a story as a class or group where a main character shows empathy towards others.
  • Generate a list of vocabulary related to empathy. Compare it to this list; are there any you can add to your list?
  • Watch the short film Jack and discuss how the characters feel. (There are lots of other ideas for using videos on the site, many of which are perfect for teaching empathy).
  • Create a comic strip or graphic novel where a character is shown empathy.


  • Create a budget for a fundraising event, such as a cake sale or school fair.
  • Download our Division Pack for lots of activities about sharing into equal groups.
  • Organise a class picnic and make sure that there is enough food for everyone to have an equal share.


  • Write instructions about how to take care of a plant.
  • Make a poster explaining how to look after a pet.
  • Learn about the basic needs of a human, and ask children to think about how these are met in their own lives and the lives of other people.


  • Create a presentation or animation with the theme of empathy.
  • Discuss the need for empathy when communicating with others online. This blog post has some helpful hints.
  • Write a blog post on the topic of empathy.
  • Create a list of ways in which technology allows us to connect with others and understand more about them.
  • Design an app or device that helps people overcome difficulties.

Design Technology:

  • Make something to help wildlife, like a bird feeder or bug hotel.
  • Design a gadget to make someone’s life easier. Think about a difficulty they might face and how it could be overcome.


  • This fantastic resource from the Royal Academy has lots of ideas for studying how artists show emotion.
  • Create drawings that show simple facial expressions. Our Feelings Cards are useful for this activity.
  • Work in a group on a collaborative art project.
  • Make a collage using empathy words and pictures from magazines or the internet.




  • Write a report from the point of view of a historical figure. Include how they feel about events. For example, how did Rosa Parks feel when she refused to give up her seat on the bus?
  • Research the history of a charity, such as Save the Children. What led people to set up the charity? Who does it help?
  • Read an eyewitness account of an event from history. This blog page has the text of Pliny the Younger’s account of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. How do you think Pliny felt at the time? How would you have felt?
  • Roleplay an event from history and ask the children to “freeze frame”. How are they feeling?

Physical Education:

  • Stand the children in a ring, all holding hands. Ask them to pass a hula hoop around the ring without letting go of hands. Encourage them to think about the people they are receiving from and passing to. Make it more challenging by doing it in silence.
  • Put children in pairs. Ask one partner to make movements and facial expressions and the other to mirror them, then swap over.
  • Play team games, and ask the children to reflect on how they felt as part of the team and how they think others felt. Did they feel differently at different stages of the game?
  • Show the children images of a sportsperson, one showing victory and the other defeat. How are they feeling in both cases? For example, contrast the picture of Andy Murray on this page, when he has lost a match, to this one, where he has just won Wimbledon.

Religious Education:

  • Read stories from different religions and discuss how the people in the story might have been feeling.
  • Discuss the idea: Treat others how you want to be treated, which is a key idea in many religions.
  • Talk about life events and how they are marked in different religious traditions. How might that make people feel? You could watch a video, like this one about a Hindu wedding.


  • Find out the word for empathy in different religions.
  • Try out a simple role-play in which someone is helped, such as asking for directions.
  • Find out about life in a country where the language you are learning is spoken,


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