10 Apps that Promote Empathy and Compassion

Posted on: 22.03.2016.

Author: Ana G

 child using tablet

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 1.0 

The current generation of children is less compassionate and caring these days. Many of these children seem to be more obsessed with success and material gain and the expectation of a reward for simple actions such as participating in a game or setting the table at home. It is important for parents to help children develop crucial social-emotional skills such as kindness, empathy, identification of emotions and looking at situations from the perspective of another person.

With children today spending so much time using digital media, parents can look to these devices and apps to help drive home the importance of emotional connections and socializing with others. There are many innovative apps and games that can help children to learn about, recognize and foster compassion. These apps are a great complement to what children are learning and practicing in the real world. They appeal to a variety of age groups and can be used on most smartphones and tablets. The value of these games and activities is even greater when parents are available to play along or simply talk to their children about the content and what they are learning.


Toca Pet Doctor

toca pet doctor

Image courtesy of tocaboca.com

Available on: App Store, Google Play, Amazon

Toca Pet Doctor is an empathy-promoting app in which children can take care of different animals. The app offers children the opportunity to engage in free-play and learn about the needs of different types of animals. By nursing the animals back to health, children are able to see that their actions are important to others.

This app works by allowing kids to apply cures like a bandage on a boo-boo or a toothbrush to a toothache. After the child feeds the animal, it falls asleep happy and feeling better. If the child wants to, he or she can wake up the pet and care for it again. There are 15 different types of sick or injured animals children can take care of, such as a snail, turtle or a mouse.

This is a highly engaging app for very young users. It is well-designed and easy-to-use, even for toddlers. The concept of the game requires little to no guidance from parents yet encourages learning. Toca Pet Doctor empowers kids through free play and there are no rules or stressful situations that might upset a child. 


Peek a Zoo


Image courtesy of duckduckmoose.com

Available on: App Store

Peek a Zoo is an app based game that asks children to look at different groups of cartoon animals and distinguish which of the characters is exhibiting a specific trait or behavior, such as sadness or surprise. This is a nice tool for toddlers and preschoolers who are at the right age to recognize and learn social cues. Being able to recognize when someone is sad or surprised can help a child learn the right way to act and respond to that person.

This app uses simple touch and point controls with the tapping of a finger or swiping of the screen. The same questions are repeated so that kids can learn through repetition. Very young children, as young as two years old, can pick up on these social and emotional cues either through solo play or with the assistance of a parent.


Avokiddo Emotions


Image courtesy of avokiddo.com

 Available on: App Store, Google Play, Amazon

In the Avokiddo Emotions app, children learn about human emotions. This app is geared toward kids ages 4 and older and is especially helpful for children with non-verbal learning issues or autism. In this app, kids choose from 110 props which they can apply to one of three different characters. As props are added to the animals, the child gets to observe the animal's reaction, such as surprise when a balloon pops.

Parents have some input into the app by controlling the speed at which the props fall onto the screen. This is a delightful way to introduce emotions through free play. Children have fun while learning some fundamental social skills. They can also develop empathy by making connections between the animals' positive and negative emotions and their causes. This app also builds language skills as they help children put names to the emotions and physical reactions that they see.


Wee You-Things

 wee you-things

Image courtesy of weesociety.com

Available on: App Store

Wee You-Things is an interactive book that allows kids to celebrate diversity, develop empathy and boost their confidence. Children are able to use this app to appreciate and accept the differences in people. In this app, kids use the controls to navigate through each character. This free play game encourages children to ask questions, such as why Johnny has two dads.

This app yields the most benefits if parents explore it together with their children. It also offers opportunities for parents to model and teach acceptance. There are tips in the parent section on how to converse with your child to build understanding, empathy and confidence. This app may also help to prevent bullying later in life.


Four Little Corners

four little corners

Image courtesy of dadacompany.com

Available on: App Store, Amazon

Four Little Corners is an interactive storybook app for that offers lessons on tolerance, equality and compassion in a fun way. The story is centered around a little square that lives in a world of circles. Children experience sympathy and empathy as they tap on the shapes and pages to view the suggestions of the little circles.

This app is a great way to start a conversation about equality with children. The story enhances a child's creativity and may lengthen their attention span. A child can share his or her experiences with their family with this entertaining story.


One Globe Kids

one globe kids

Image courtesy of oneglobekids.com

Available on: App Store

One Globe Kids offers one free story and additional stories for $1.99. In these stories, children view photos of kids from around the world. These images help children to build a global awareness and appreciate and respect those who live differently than they do. The app is designed to foster curiosity, openness and an understanding of different cultures. By tapping or swiping on the images, children can learn about different political systems, geographic locations and languages. The app also offers audio recordings of various words.


Leo's Pad Enrichment Program for Preschoolers

leo's pad

Image courtesy of kidaptive.com

Available on: App Store

In this animated story app, children can enjoy interactive "appisodes" that foster creativity and learning. This app features a young Leonardo da Vinci and his friends, such as Marie Curie, on big adventures. Children can learn more than 25 skills such as measurement, magnitude and sight words. As they advance through the game, it's difficulty level adapts. The characters teach children about problem solving, kindness and patience. There is a separate parents' area in which parents can monitor their child's progress.



 my dps

Image courtesy of thesocialexpress.com

Available on: App Store, Google Play

My DPS stands for "My Digital Problem Solver" and is intended for kids ages 6 and older. It focuses on identifying a variety of emotions through human facial expressions, body language and written and spoken words. It can help children learn problem-solving techniques and coping strategies to help them deal with a wide range of social situations.

The app uses CGI-animated videos to show brief social encounters in settings that are relevant to kids. This app can be customized by parents to add photos and text to emotions and coping techniques. It features calming music with fun lyrics and the ability to take photos of your child's emotions.


Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

middle school confidential

Image courtesy of middleschoolconfidential.com

Available on: App Store, Google Play, Amazon

Middle School Confidential 1 is a graphic novel that teaches tolerance and empathy to tweens and teenagers. It features a discussion-rich narrative and uses situations that are relevant to kids. Children can learn to identify complex emotions, reflect on personal strengths and weaknesses, respect the views of others and persevere through emotional difficulties. Children can also learn how to put their problems into perspective and build friendships through adversity.

The novel features layered audio and full-color illustrations. Teens are challenged to think about their feelings and behavior in new ways. The novel encourages them to make respectful and cooperative choices at home and in school. This app deals with issues that are common to teens and tweens and applies thoughtful solutions to these problems.


Who Am I? Race Awareness Game

 who am I

Image courtesy of interactivediversitysolutions.com

Available on: App Store

This app is a question and answer game that gets students in grades 1 to 12 talking honestly and responsibly about diversity. The app helps kids to think about how people self-identify with both race and culture. In a separate adult section, there are tips on talking about diversity with kids. In this two-person game, kids view photos and quotes to determine how the person self-identifies. The app is a great way to help kids realize that it's okay to ask questions about race, ethnicity and identity in respectful ways. It also empowers children to develop their own self-identity.


These apps can help children relate to one another and to other people around the world. Parents play a key role in helping children translate what they're learning in these interactive games and apply that knowledge to real-world situations. Even sensitive children will benefit from these apps. Parents can continue to engage their children by modeling strong social-emotional skills during teachable moments.