For several children, understanding and learning empathy is very challenging. However, by learning about empathy, children will ultimately improve their social skills, learn coping strategies, work on positive behavior, and more. While learning empathy is difficult for many children, it is especially challenging for individuals with autism and other special needs. Here is a list of six different apps, categorized by age group, which may teach children about emotions and empathy.
1. Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings app helps children identify and express emotions through fun games and songs. The app teaches children about several feelings (e.g. jealous, patient, proud, mad, etc.) By teaching children about the many emotions, they can then learn to verbally express how they’re feeling inside.
The app also includes instructions for a simple calming technique. It also allows children to take a photo of themselves expressing an emotion to see if they look similar to how Daniel Tiger looks when he feels the same way.
View Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings on Google Play.
2. Toca Pet Doctor
Toca Pet Doctor is a free-play app for children who love animals. The app empowers the child to care for 15 sick or injured animals and nurse them back to health. Within the app, “Kids can help Tarzan the upside-down turtle, Blob the snail, Brie the mouse, and other adorably animated animals by applying simple human-based cures—such as bandages and toothbrushes—through swiping, holding, and tapping.”
3. Avokiddo Emotions
Avokiddo Emotions is a fun way to teach children about emotions. According to the app’s review on Common Sense Media, “It can also be helpful for kids with non-verbal learning issues, such as difficulty reading facial expressions or inability to read body language.” The app features three characters (a zebra, giraffe, and sheep) and more than 100 props. Children can have fun making a disco-themed zebra blow up a balloon, dress a giraffe in fiesta attire, or feed garlic to the mustachioed sheep—all while observing the animal’s reaction.
4. Social Adventures
Social Adventures is an app featuring over 40 activities, cartoons, and games designed by speech and occupational therapists. It is designed to help children think about social situations and how to act appropriately within each social situation. The app includes an entire 8-week program, which users can follow or simply just do the activities for specific skills.
View Social Adventures on iTunes.
5. My DPS
My DPS, short for “My Digital Problem Solver” is an app that will teach children emotions and problem-solving techniques. The app focuses on identifying a variety of emotions through facial expressions, body language, and written/spoken language, and suggests coping strategies to deal with a range of social situations. The app uses CGI-animated videos to show social situations and coping skills in settings relevant to children. Users may also customize the app by adding their own photos and text to emotions and coping techniques.
View My DPS on iTunes.
6. One Globe Kids: Children’s stories from around the world
The One Globe Kids app introduces children to global cultures through audio- and picture-based “a day in my life” stories. Each story is told by a different child from a different country; for example, there is Aji in Indonesia, Valdo in Haiti, and Luna in New York City just to name a few. Within the app, children will hear a bit of each storyteller’s language and have the ability to record themselves saying a few words. Children are able to choose which storyline they’d like to hear, and then they are able to learn geographic, cultural, and political facts about each country. The first story is free to try, and the rest can be purchased within the app for $1.99. Each story can be told in four different languages.
View One Globe Kids on iTunes.