This week we focused on community helpers in Tot School. We could literally do this theme for a month because there are so many different jobs and places that we could use for inspiration. But this was our first time really talking about the community and jobs, so I kept our learning to a quick one week introduction.
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Here were our plans for Community Week:
And here are the details of each activity:
Our favorite community books for the week were:
People Who Help Us: Police Officer by Amanda Askew
People Who Help Us: Fire Fighter by Amanda Askew
People Who Help Us: Doctor by Amanda Askew
Whose Hands are These? by Miranda Paul
Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook
Community Sticker Play:
It’s no secret I love Melissa and Doug toys, and they are always on our birthday and Christmas wishlists. So while I was planning our community theme I knew it would be the perfect time to pull out our Vehicles and My Town reusable sticker pages. Great fine motor practice and fun pretend play.
Fire Finger Painting:
This fire finger painting activity was intentionally simple and open ended. After reading about fire fighters, I squirted a few blobs of red, orange and yellow tempera paint onto a piece of white paper. (Find our favorite paint here) Madelynn used her hands to mix the colors, make flames, and write the letter F for fire.
Band Aid Babies:
Is your little one as obsessed with band aids as mine? I’m not sure what it is but we are in a serious “every bump, bruise and mysterious ailment needs a band aid phase.” I figured what better way to indulge this interest than with some band aid play with our baby dolls. Of course this was really a fine motor activity in disguise with lots of peeling and sticking practice.
Envelope Letter Match:
For more sticker fun, I created some envelopes with uppercase letters on them, then wrote lowercase letters on dot stickers for Madelynn to match to the correct envelope.
Community Cut Apart Puzzles:
We always need more scissor practice over here and Madelynn is getting much better at cutting straight lines. I created these community helper puzzles for her to cut apart on the dotted lines, then piece back together. This was a really good start to practice cutting on a line which we haven’t tried before.
Community Simon Says:
Although Madelynn doesn’t quite get the Simon says concept yet, (she does every action whether simon says or not…if only she’d listen to me that well!) we have been trying out several themed Simon says games. For this game I created cards with actions based on different jobs, and called out the action for her to follow (Ex: climb a ladder like a firefighter, open wide for the dentist, swim like a lifeguard, etc.)
Put out the Fires:
This firefighter themed activity combined both gross motor and fine motor skills. First I drew fires on the ground with sidewalk chalk. Then I gave Madelynn a spray bottle and she ran from fire to fire spraying them to put them out. If it were warmer outside we would have pulled out the hose for some stronger spray to really wash away the fires.
Drive the City:
First I printed out pictures of places in the community and posted them around the yard. Then I gave Madelynn a list of 3 places she needed to visit. She hopped in her cozy coupe car and off she went to visit each location. After she got to each place she had fun pretending to pick up cupcakes for her friends, mail letters, milk a cow and more.
Find and Match Doctor Tools:
For this gross motor activity I pulled out our Fisher Price doctor set (kind of a childhood staple right?) and traced outlines of each item on a large sheet of paper. Then I hid each item around our house and Madelynn had to find them and return them to the proper place while I
took a nap helped her name each item.
Not a typical job you think of when you do a community helper theme, but we happened to see some window washers downtown a few weeks ago and they captured Madelynn’s interest. I thought it would be fun to pull out some spray bottles and squeegees for Madelynn to play and pretend with.
Community Themed Snacks:
School Bus – Start with a Twinkie. Cut out a wedge from the front, slice a small piece of, then reattach to the same spot. Use white icing to make dots for windows and to attach small red candies for tail lights. Use a black food coloring marker to draw a line along the side under the windows. Use more white icing to attach Rolo candies for wheels.
Fire Engine – Start with two rectangle fruit strips. Cut one end to make it rounded for the front of the fire engine. Cut the other piece down and lay it on top perpendicular to the first piece. Add a vanilla wafer cookie for the ladder, 2 chocolate donuts for wheels, red M&Ms and pull & peel candy for lights, and icing for windows and headlights.
Police Car – Stack 2 wafer cookies and a third wafer cookie cut in half to form the car body. Attach brown M&Ms with icing for wheels, and add red and blue icing to the top for lights.
Dentist Mouth and Toothbrush – Slice a Twinkie in half lengthwise and add marshmallow teeth. Cut a thin slice of fruit strip for the toothbrush, add white and blue icing for the bristles and toothpaste.
Thermometers – Melt White candy melt in the microwave. Dip pretzel dipping sticks in the white candy and place on waxed paper to set. Melt red (or pink) candy melt in the microwave in a decorator bag or melt first then pour into a plastic bag and cut off the tip. Pipe lines on the pretzel to make thermometers.
Community Sensory Bin:
Fire Theme Sensory Bin:
Doctor Tool Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Cotton balls, Fisher Price doctor set, paper with outlines of tools
Mail the Letters Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Cut up straws, colored envelopes, box with slots cut out and labeled for each color
Dentist Play Dough:
In this bin: Dentist play doh kit
Then check out the rest of our 35+ themes on the Tot School Curriculum Main Page.
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