A Community Helpers theme can cover many groups of people who help in our neighborhoods. Explain to the children that a community can be small with only a few buildings and homes or large with many buildings and homes. The people in the community help each other by offering goods and services.
This theme page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom. Below you will find ideas and activities for the general theme. You will also find links for the many different types of helpers in our communities.
This theme can be used for weeks or months depending on how many helpers you want to cover in your classroom. Some of these helpers might be covered at a different time during the year. Some suggestions would be:
Post Office-- Use this theme in February when talking about Valentine's Day and mailing cards.
Dentist-- Use this theme in February during National Dental Health Month
Fire Fighters-- Use this theme in October during Fire Awareness Week
Let the Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Below are links to specific Community Helpers PagesAmbulance Construction Worker Dental Health Doctor Fire Safety Grocer Hairdresser Librarian Nurse Police Post Office Teacher
Community Helpers Art
Turn boxes into vehicles. I have used boxes that photocopier paper comes in.
Cut out the top and bottom flaps. Now, you can stand in the box and pull it up to your waist! To make it easier, cut out oval shaped openings into each of the long sides for the children to hold onto the boxes with while they are standing in them.
Decorate the boxes with the children by painting them different colors. Glue paper plates or cut out circles for head lights.
As you introduce other themes, you can add a construction paper sign to the sides (i.e. Mail Carrier or Ambulance).
Paper Bag Community
Materials Needed: Small, white lunch bags, LOTS of newspaper or recycling paper, markers, construction paper and stapler.
Talk about your community with the children at circle time. Follow up by asking each child to choose a building to create.
They use markers to draw what their building will need (windows, doors, etc.) and help them print the name of the building on it (print their name on the bottom so they can take their building home when the theme is over).
They stuff the bags with newspaper and you staple the bags closed.
Use these in the block area or on a table for them to recreate events in your town.
Community Helpers Theme Block Center Ideas
Add people, trucks, cars and emergency vehicles to the block area to encourage making your city or town!
Community Helpers Theme Circle Time Ideas
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
What Are Community Helpers?
Materials Needed: Pictures of different helpers such as a grocer, police officer, teacher, etc.
Show pictures and ask children to name the person and the job they do. Encourage the children to name the jobs of their parents, neighbors, etc. and talk about how the jobs help others.
Song with Puppets
In advance, cut out pictures (from magazines) of helpers and tape or glue them to craft sticks. Sing the song below using each helper when appropriate. You could then use this song in the future when you use a specific helper theme for a week (dentist week, etc.)
Good Morning Song
sung to the tune of Happy Birthday
Good morning to you!
And how do you do?
I am the doctor
Healing people like you!
I am the nurse, helping the doctor help you.
I am the dentist, giving tooth care to you.
I am the firefighter, fighting fires for you.
I am the grocer, selling food to you.
I am the police officer, solving crimes for you.
I am the mail carrier, bringing letters to you.
I am the carpenter, building houses for you.
I am the teacher, teaching children like you.
I am the librarian, lending books to you.
This helper builds our houses. (Hold up thumb)
This helper brings our mail. (Hold up pointer)
This helper teaches the children. (Hold up middle finger)
And this one has groceries to sell. (Hold up ring finger)
And this little helper, yes, it's me (Hold up and wiggle pinky finger)
When I grow up, (Stretch arms above head)
Which will I be (Pointer finger tapping on chin).
Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Theme!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Ingredients and Items needed: 1 cup sugar; 2 tablespoons cocoa, 3/4 cup flour, 1 stick butter (melted), 2 eggs (beaten), 1 teaspoon vanilla, 9" X 9" pan.
Have the children help you grease and flour the pan.
The children help sift the sugar, cocoa and flour into a bowl.
They help add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla.
They help to stir it up (mix well!)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on 350 degrees F.
Cut into squares.
Community Helpers Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area
Props and Items
Call the offices of the community helpers that you plan on focusing on and ask for props! Ask for hats, coloring books, toy tools, books, etc.
Display hats, tools and books on a table or in the dramatic play area for them to check out.
Some items we've received in the past are:
Carpet squares from a Carpeting store.
Coloring books and crayons from the Police Dept and Fire Dept.
Coloring books from funeral homes (very helpful when a child is dealing with the death of a family member).
Postal bag and shirt.
Map of our city from the Chamber of Commerce.
Community Helpers Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Artist At Work!
Provide tempera or watercolor paint and cups of water for the children to be the community artist OR to paint what they'd like to be when they grow up!
Community Helpers Theme Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together
Line up chairs in two rows to resemble your bus.
Each child sits in a seat.
You all sing the verse from Wheels on the Bus..."The people on the bus go up and down......."
When the teacher says "Runaway Bus!" The children get up from their seats and walk around the chairs.
When the teacher says "Emergency Brake!", the children sit back down in a different seat.
VARIATION: You can tape a specific shape to each seat. Have the children sit on any seat to begin with.
When they "exit the bus" because you have said Runaway Bus, they come to you to get a shape (you will give each child a shape).
When you say Emergency Brake, they need to find the chair with the same shape on it.
Have them switch shapes for the next round!
Community Helpers Theme Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom
Book Suggestions for the Library
A Sign by George Ella Lyon
Daddies at Work, Mommies at Work by Even Merriam
Guess Who? by Margaret Miller
Grandmother's Alphabet by Eve Shaw
I Am Me! by Alexa Brandenberg
I Love You, Mom by Iris Hiskey Arno
Jobs People Do by Christopher Maynard
In My Town by Richard Scarry
Mom Goes to Work by Libby Gleeson
Mr. Grigg's Work by Cynthia Ryland
Pig Pig Gets a Job by David McPhail
What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry
What You Do Is Easy, What I Do Is Hard by Jake Wold
Whose Hat? by Margaret Miller
Work by Ann Morris
Worksong by Gary Paulsen
Community Helper Theme Activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!
Community Colors Activity
Materials: Brown Lunch bags (large or small), various colors of construction paper, marker
Tape a rectangle of construction paper on the front of each bag (use all colors) and print the color word on each rectangle.
Find pictures of community helpers, vehicles etc. and trace onto an appropriate color construction paper. For example, if firetrucks are yellow in your town, trace a yellow truck.
I have also simply taped pictures to random colors such as taping a picture of the local supermarket onto red paper.
The children sort the pictures into the correct bags, while talking about the picture or shape on the paper and what that person or items does to help in the community.
Materials: 10 pint (or half-pint) milk cartons. Optional: Spray paint them different colors.
Cut off the tops.
To make the garage, staple or paper clip the cartons in a row with the open ends facing up. (I'd suggest stapling them as the paper clips will come off after a lot of use!).
Now lay the garage on its side.
Use a permanent marker to draw one large dot on the top of the first milk carton, two large dots on the top of the second, and so on, ending with ten dots on the last carton.
Use ten small cars and number them (with the marker) 1 through 10.
The children take turns driving the cars into the correct parking places.
Thank you, Pam, for this idea!
Find object or pictures that correspond with different community helpers (mailbox, dentist chair, firetruck, etc.). Additionally find pictures of community helpers in uniform. Let your children match which object goes with what helper.
Find pictures of objects that correspond with different community helpers (mailbox, dentist chair, firetruck, etc.). Additionally find pictures of community helpers in uniform. Let your children match which object goes with what helper.
-Match community helper flashcards to the tools they use:
Doctor-stethoscope; Baker-whisk; Beautician-hairbrush; Teacher-chalk; Artist-paintbrush; Police officer-whistle; Gardener- seed pack or trowel; Librarian-book, etc.
Community Helpers Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!
People in Your Neighborhood
Okay, I know....old, but a classic! Play this Sesame Street song during your theme!
Community Helpers Theme Activities for the Senses!
For a general Community Helpers theme, add activities each day for the children to explore different helpers.
Police officers use clues to solve crimes. Add sand and spray bottles to your sensory table. The children can spray the sand and then press items (their hands, fingers, shoes or classroom toys) in the wet sand and remove to see the prints these items leave.
Community Helpers Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!
Provide a different collection of items for the children each day to check out items used by different helpers in the community.
Baker: Provide bowls, whisks, egg beaters, tongs, play food for children to check out different items.
Health (Doctor, Nurse, Hospital): Provide a doctor kit and some bandages, band aids, tongue depressors, and other items for the children to check out.
Fire Fighters: Provide different sizes and types of fire trucks and ambulances for the children to check out this week.
Writing Activity Ideas for Your Community Helpers Theme!
Community Helpers Alphabet Book
Make this book in advance.
Print one letter of the alphabet and a corresponding word on white piece of construction paper along with a picture of each item.
Assemble in a loose leaf notebook and display at the Writing center with dry erase markers and tissues.
The children can then "read" the book and practice printing their letters.
Here are suggestions for the words/pictures for each letter:
Aa apron (carpenter or bakers apron)
Ee equipment (i.e. equipment for a fire fighter)
Gg garbage truck
Ii instrument (doctor or dentist instrument)
Mm mail carrier
Pp police officer
Qq quarter (for a grocery store, cash register, etc.)
Rr red (fire truck)
Tt teacher (pictures of you and your teachers!)
Uu uniform (many different uniforms)
Yy yellow (school bus)
Zz zip code (draw an envelope with a stamp and circle the zip code)
My Own Helper Book
In advance, assemble booklets for each child using unlined paper for the pages and construction paper for the covers.
Encourage the children to print their own name and decorate the covers (you have pre-printed "My Community Helpers Book" on the covers).
The children draw different helpers you work on during this theme. Ask them about their pictures and "print" their stories on the page to the left of the pictures.
I Want To Be...
Talk to the children about what they want to be when they grow up.
Encourage them to draw a picture of what they say.
As they draw their picture, ask them to explain what they would do in their job and write down their story to go with the picture.
Miscellaneous Activities for Your Community Helpers Theme!
When contacting these offices, find out if they would be willing to visit the classroom! They can bring items from their trade and hand out flyers or cards to send home with the kids about their business.
Call to see if your Mayor can make a visit and read a story to the children...great photo op for you and them!