fbpx

Caring for Living Things Cultivates Empathy in Children

Has your child ever watered plants in the gardens or talked to animals in the Farmyard? Perhaps they have visited the Ag and Nature Lab to care for cows in the dairy barn, release a monarch, or build like a beaver? Experiences like these help cultivate empathy, an important skill that requires children to imagine how others are feeling and to interact in an appropriate, caring way.

AgLab Monarch Exhibit Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota

Why Children Need to Develop Empathy

We are all born with the capacity to be empathetic towards others, but it is a skill that needs constant nurturing. Developing empathy towards others plays an important role in a child’s ability to form meaningful relationships with peers and family members. As children learn to treat the world around them with care and respect, they develop a sense of acceptance, well-being, and community.

Teaching Empathy

Teaching empathy and compassion through caring for plants and animals is a natural fit for children, and something we try to foster at the Museum. Our farm animals draw children over to learn about how we care for them. We talk about how they eat, play, and sleep. Museum garden beds provide a place for children to learn what plants need to grow and thrive. Children enthusiastically water the plants and await the sampling of produce each growing season. They learn that their efforts can produce great results.

Children learning empathy by feeding cows in the Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota Farmyard

It is easy to initiate conversations about the needs of living and growing things wherever you are. Having these conversations allows children to think about the needs of others, while reflecting on similar needs of their own.

Practicing Empathy

Practice empathy with your child by modeling compassionate behavior. Show your child that you care for the world around you. The Museum’s Farmyard is a great place for this practice, but it can also extend to your backyard. Outdoor spaces offer children an opportunity to observe how animals, birds, and insects need a safe habitat to survive. These observations create a sense of empathy with the natural world, and a sense of place. They allow children to play, explore, and care for an area that becomes close to their heart.

Digging potatoes in the Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota Farmyard

Now is the perfect time for you to get outside with your children to explore nature. Observe the life around you and show respect and care for other living things. Exercise those empathy muscles!

Share This Post

More To Explore

News

CMSM Whirlwind Explorations Camp Partners with 3M for a Hands-On STEAM Adventure!

MEDIA CONTACT Kim Kleven, Vice President of Play & Learning 507.344.9102 kim.kleven@cmsouthernmn.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s Whirlwind Explorations Camp Partners with 3M for a Hands-On STEAM Adventure!   June 6, 2024 – MANKATO, MN – Get ready to be “blown away” as the Museum kicks off summer and “launches” Whirlwind Explorations

Read More »
News

CMSM Cultivates Agricultural Awareness with Ag Education Day this June

MEDIA CONTACT Jaci Sprague, Vice President of Development 651-208-4613 Jaci.Sprague@cmsouthernmn.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2024 Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Cultivates Agricultural Awareness with Ag Education Day this June Mankato, MN – Join the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota on June 1 for Ag Education Day. Ag is so relevant in our region, but many

Read More »