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For children on the spectrum, finding ways to teach empathy can be difficult.  We all want our children to be empathic and kind, but how do we help them understand that concept?  Here’s a fun activity that allows us to do something creative with our kids while opening up a conversation about other people’s needs. Also, many children prefer to learn by using visual aids. This activity is PERFECT for use in any setting!

Materials:

●Jar

●Popsicle sticks

●Markers

●Twine or ribbon

●Scissors

●Hole punch

The “Do Good” Jar free printable…click here for the PDF download

Instructions:

1. Gather a list of actions that your children can do to serve others in some way either big or small. You can come up with ideas for them to do for just their immediate family members, or you can widen the circle to strangers as well. If you allow them to do good deeds for strangers, you will need to have a talk about safety and make sure they understand the rules.

2.  Using markers, write small acts of kindness and good deeds on popsicle sticks, write one good deed per stick.

3. Place the sticks in your jar.

4. Cut out the “Do Good” Jar tag from the free printable (click here for PDF download link).

5. Punch a hole in one end of the tag.

6.Thread a piece of ribbon or twine through the tag and tie it onto your jar.

Interoception includes awareness about thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It also helps us to feel and act on urges such as hunger, thirst, and toileting. Often children need extra help with this and this book is packed with tons of activities and explains all you need to know about interoception.

7. Once a day, once a week, or at an interval of your choosing, have your child choose a stick from the jar to brighten someone’s day.

When You’re Done

As I mentioned above, the “Do Good” Jar can be filled with good deeds for people you know, or for strangers.  If you choose to do good deeds for strangers, this is also a great opportunity to talk about safety rules and “stranger danger”.  One of the best things about this activity is that you can add more good deeds to the jar, or keep using the original ones over and over!  To increase awareness for your child, make it a daily activity for them to think of a new good deed they could add to the jar!  See if you can get them to notice opportunities for good deeds in their daily activities!

As always, I’d love to hear how this activity goes for you.  Please take a moment and send me a picture or a comment to tell me about your experience!

Looking for more therapeutic activities? Check out my earlier post about emotions puppets.

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