Do you all remember THE dress from earlier this year that blew up on the internet? I actually thought it was quite an interesting social commentary. It was fascinating to me that some people couldn’t understand that someone else could really see the dress as a different color. And were adamant in insisting they were right, while the other people were wrong. (By the way - I saw white and gold, what did you see?)
It can be hard to think about someone else’s view of a situation. Every person sees things differently. Think about if you and another person are standing next to each other, and looking in the same direction. You might be able to see a plane in the air, but your friend might not be able to because they are a different height than you or their view might be blocked by a tree.
Here’s a neat lesson for kids to help them try to take someone else’s viewpoint.
Lego Perspective Lesson
GOAL: To have one child create something with a set of legos and have the other child create the same thing. They have to communicate with each other to make this happen, WITHOUT look at the actual legos.
Gather up lego pieces and make sure you have two of each piece. Then separate the piece into groups so both children have an identical group of legos.
One child makes a design with their legos.
Then, here comes the challenging part. They have to communicate with their partner about what their lego creation looks like and have the other child make the exact same lego creation.
The child who designed the original creation could draw about it, write out the steps or say the steps out loud to the other child.
This is a challenge, because you have to think about how the other person sees the lego pieces. Would you describe the lego pieces in the same way? How do you accurately describe how to arrange the pieces?
The second child creates the same design as the first child made.
Then the children switch roles. The second child now takes a turn creating a design and explaining it to the first child.
This is a very challenging activity, especially depending on the level of pieces the design has.
To make it easier, use fewer pieces or make sure every piece is a different color. You can increase the challenge by adding more pieces.
Here are some other resources related to empathy:
Empathy Video - Kids explaining the meaning of empathy
Perspective Taking Lesson - A lesson found on Speech Lady Liz with actual shoes to help kids understand someone else’s perspective
Teaching Empathy through role play - An awesome blog article from The House of Hendrix where the kids actually role play being in someone else’s shoes. What a neat idea!
Teaching Empathy in Schools - How schools can work on teaching empathy through using a jigsaw classroom, a type of cooperative learning
Stand in My Shoes book: Kids Learning About Empathy - A great read for kids about empathy!