Promoting kindness is an important part of the daily curriculum in a classroom environment. Many would suggest that this is as important as teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, yet 57 percent of teachers polled in a recent Kid Kindness survey agreed that the American school system doesn’t place enough emphasis on teaching kindness.
Fortunately, a wide variety of kindness-focused apps that engage students while teaching them important lessons are accessible to all teachers, no matter their budget. Here are ten apps to help you promote kindness in every student in your classroom.
1. Toca Pet Doctor
With this app, students take care of suffering animals. They could be suffering physically or emotionally, or just need help completing a task. Some may need food while others just need kind words to overcome sadness, showing young students how our engagement with others affects their emotions.
2. One Globe Kids
This app may at first seem like a social network, but mom bloggers all assure you it’s not. However, because it feels like one, it engages students better than many others. With this app, students meet other kids around the world; they learn about what they like, what they eat, how they speak, and more. There are a variety of ways students can “intereact” with these “friends” within the app, learning to see and accept everyone’s differences as wonderful.
3. The Great Kindness Challenge: School Edition
The School Edition of this app is perfect for the classroom. The “acts of kindness,” such as “Smile at 25 people” or “Pick up 10 pieces of trash,” are appropriate for students of all ages and teach them simple but important acts of kindness they can do every single day. Set a goal with your classroom, and the countdown timer will remind everyone how long they have to reach their goal along with the number of acts of kindness left to complete.
This game features a cast of animal characters with vastly different personalities. Options are given to play dress up, feed the animals and share toys. The animals react appropriately to the choices that the child makes in the game, teaching kids how to recognize facial expressions and determine when they’ve made someone happy or sad. This is a critical first step in understanding empathy for a child.
5. Four Little Corners
Ages 5 and under
This interactive storybook app provides lessons on tolerance, equality and compassion. It teaches these important lessons with geometric shapes—the main character is a square and the friends are circles. You can guess where this award-winning story will end up.
Ages 5 and Under
This multilingual app is based off the ever popular peek-a-boo game, making it perfect for young students. With it, students learn to experience different faces and expressions, which is a first step towards understanding behavior.
7. Wee You Things
Ages 5 and under
This app celebrates diversity, develops empathy and boosts confidence by sharing how unique people are and celebrating our unique qualities. Students can create their own “you,” and become a part of the story about how everyone is different and how that’s what makes us amazing. Students will love the fun characters and simple stories.
8. DPS from The Social Express
This app is geared toward elementary age children, and works by helping kids identify and label emotions. My DPS stands for “My Digital Problem Solver,” and the app shows a variety of social situations and offers coping skills that students can use to work through them.
9. Middle School Confidential 1 and 2
(iOS and Android)
This game app is geared toward middle school kids, teaching healthy ways to handle issues that middle schoolers encounter. Version 1 is titled “Be Confident in Who You Are,” and Version 2 focuses on “Real Friends vs. the Other Kind.” The game is set up to follow a cast of six characters as they navigate the different social situations. A variety of tools including quizzes, resources and tips from other kids are available to the players.
10. Sit With Us
This app was developed by a teenager to fight bullying and is designed to help teens feel more welcome in the school cafeteria. It designates ambassadors at schools that will invite those looking for a friend or a friendly place to sit and have lunch. Students can create their profile, see nearby lunch options and even start a lunch and invite people to join.
For more, see:
- Student Activities to Promote Diversity, Inclusion, and Empathy
- How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy
- 8 Ways to Teach Empathy and Cultivate Community
Jessica Thiefels is an education blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07
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