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Activity Plan: Compassion in the Street

This activity explores the sensitive topic of homelessness with a practical activity that children will help children learn about helping others. It is best suited for older children in small groups.

Please note: The resources needed for this activity will cost more than TNL’s usual activity plans. The items don’t need to cost that much by themselves but, depending on the size of your group, it will add up.

This activity also requires some extra work in delivering the care packages to charities to distribute to homeless people in your area. Use Homelink to find services in your local area.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this PSED activity today:

What you will need:

All items are one per child and one extra for you – feel free to select all or just a few items from this list.

  • Pair of adult-size socks
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Pair of adult-size gloves
  • Cereal bar
  • Small hand sanitiser bottle
  • Tissue packet
  • Box of plasters
  • Large padded envelope, ziplock bag or carrier bag
  • Chocolate

Preparing the activity:

  1. Schedule the activity for a quieter part of the day, when the children are likely to be calmer and more reflective.
  2. Lay out the items in piles on a table, so children will be able to pick up a bad and then collect things to put in it

Doing the activity:

Start by talking to the children about if they have ever been stuck out in the rain. How did it feel? Cold? Uncomfortable? Ask them if they went inside to get dry afterwards. Talk about how lucky we are to have somewhere to live and be warm and dry.

Another scenario to talk about would be getting muddy outside. Have the children ever played in the mud or been splashed and got really dirty? What happened? Did they have a bath and get nice and clean?

Encourage the children to discuss how it would feel if they were stuck outside in the rain with nowhere to go to warm up, or if they had got all muddy but had nowhere to have a bath and no clean, dry clothes to change into. How would they feel – happy or sad?

Photo by Taufiq Klinkenborg from Pexels

Talk about how some people don’t have anywhere to live and have to sleep outside. At this point some of the children may talk about seeing homeless people in the street. Explain that there may be many reasons why people have to live outside, but it can’t be very nice.

Ask if there is anything the children think we could do for a homeless person, and allow them to talk about it together.

After this discussion, explain that you are going to make packages to give to homeless people. Demonstrate putting each item in your bag, talking about the item’s use (for example, socks to keep feet warm) and how the children would feel if they didn’t have this item (uncomfortable with cold feet).

Once the children know what they need to do, allow them to go round the table and fill their bag with one of each item.

End the activity by talking about why it is important to help and look after each other. If the children had cold feet and no food, wouldn’t they be happy if someone gave them some warm socks and food? When we are in need, it makes us feel better when someone is nice to us, so we should also be nice to others.

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Managing feelings and behaviour: “Begins to accept the needs of others and can take turns and share resources, sometimes with support from others.”

Communication and Language: Understanding: “Beginning to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions.”

40-60+months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Managing feelings and behaviour: “Understands that own actions affect other people, for example, becomes upset or tries to comfort another child when they realise they have upset them.”

Communication and Language: Understanding: “Listens and responds to ideas expressed by others in conversation or discussion.”