Welcome toBig Heart World

Big Heart World is an initiative produced by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin that enables parents and educators to help children explore what it means to have a “big heart” and how to grow one. This means:

  • Learning About Me — Awareness of self: identity & belonging, feelings and self-regulation
  • Learning About You — Awareness of others: empathy, appreciation of diversity
  • Learning About Us — Relationships with others: interpersonal strategies

To succeed in school and in life, children can’t just be little mathematicians, readers, and scientists; they need to grow confident in themselves; they need to understand others; and they need to work together with others to solve problems. Educators and pediatricians often refer to this set of skills as “social and emotional” skills. We like to think of them as what it takes to have “a big heart.”

“Heart” skills are always important, but they are especially top-of-mind today as we cope with global pandemic, inequality, and social discord. Families and educators are wondering: 

  • How can I help my child manage feelings, especially anger, frustration, and sadness?
  • How can I help my child develop social and communication skills when they’re separate from peers? 
  • How can I prepare my child to “phase back in” and restart “normal” life? 

Big Heart World is a place where parents, caregivers, and educators can ask and answer big questions related to children’s social and emotional learning. If you’re wondering how to help your child express their feelings, figure out friendships, share, get ready to go back into a classroom, or learn what makes them special, this site is for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, school closures, and endless change and transition, this site is for you. If you feel like you can’t handle one more tantrum and you want to know what your child is really trying to tell you when they act out, this site is for you. 

Each month, Big Heart World will provide new science-based, engaging content, including Noggin’s Big Heart Beats music videos, answers from experts, podcasts, play-based learning activities, and more. 

The work draws from a body of research that recognizes the vital importance of these skills to children’s positive outcomes. Social and emotional development in early childhood lays the foundation for children’s development throughout life. Helping young children build the skills today to develop positive relationships, feel confident in themselves, identify and manage their emotions, and stand up for what is right, will help them to succeed in school and transform them into the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow (C. C. Raver, 2002).

Below, learn more about the themes Big Heart World will explore so you know what to expect.

We’ve all been through a lot in the last year. Take a deep breath. Let’s build up ourselves; let’s build up our kids. Let’s build big hearts. 

How wonderful would it be if everyone lived in a Big Heart World?

Similarities & Differences: Unit 3

¡Hola! Bonjour! Jambo! Hello!

The world is made up of different people — people of different races/ethnicities, religions, traditions, languages, abilities, and talents. Sometimes these differences can divide people. For example, people of different political beliefs might fight with each other, or sometimes people of different races or religions might not socialize. 

But differences have the power to bring people together in ways that are wonderful! Learning about other people can open our eyes to new traditions, stories, foods, words, beliefs, and ideas. Playing and working with different people helps us solve new problems in new ways and learn new perspectives. 

Unit 3 focuses on the similarities and differences between us and others. This unit has three core ideas: 

  1. It is important to recognize, embrace, and value similarities and differences.
  2. Every person belongs. 
  3. We are better together. 

All children notice differences. Research shows that children notice racial differences in people as early as 6 months of age. Parents, caregivers, and educators can talk to children about differences — in physical appearance and beyond — to help them learn to respect all the different people that make up a classroom, a community, or a country. 

Grown-ups can help children acknowledge and celebrate the things that make us different as well as the things that make us similar. There are many tools that adults can use to help children learn about similarities and differences, including: 

  • Books that incorporate a range of characters, cultures, abilities, and languages
  • Cooking recipes from many cultures
  • Games that teach words from different languages
  • Activities or gatherings where children have opportunities to meet people with different backgrounds, races, beliefs, etc.

Conversations about similarities and differences early in life can help children to appreciate people’s unique differences and to use their voices to stand up for all people, no matter their color or background.

Big Heart World: What to Expect

What does it mean to have a big heart? That’s a BIG questionBig Heart World will roll out content each month, which will empower you to teach your children about “me” (identity & belonging, feelings, and similarities & differences), then about “others” (friendship, empathy, and problem solving), and about “us” (helping, standing up, and citizenship). Here’s what to expect:

Identity & Belonging

Our identity makes us who we are. This includes our skills, passions, preferences, physical traits, culture, and language.

Read more about unit 1.


Identifying emotions and managing them helps us build relationships and overcome challenges.

Learn more about unit 2.

Similarities & Differences

Recognizing similarities and differences helps us appreciate that we have a lot in common and that everyone is unique.


Interacting with others and treating them with kindness helps us form strong relationships.


Walking in others’ shoes helps us understand others and form stronger relationships with them.

Problem Solving

Sharing, listening to others, solving problems together, and taking turns helps us collaborate with others.


Being kind, fair, and helping others helps us become great friends, neighbors, and community members.


When we see something wrong, we can learn to stand up for what’s right. Learning to stand up will help children grow up to be change-makers.

Global Citizenship

Each of us is part of a BIG world: together, we can make the world a better, kinder place.