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Gayle's Preschool Rainbow is very grateful to Pam S. of Pam's Playground for generously sharing her collection of Community Helper Activities. Pam is a childcare provider and has collected these activities from a wide variety of sources for over 4 years. She has her own web site: 
Pam's Playground
"Where the children learn while they play and have fun."

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There are 4 black & white printable coloring pages associated with this theme.
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Cooking: Fire Engine
Donna M. shares this cooking activity saying, "My aim is to encourage fire safety, small motor development and science."

Materials: Graham crackers, frosting (vanilla), red food coloring and
oreo cookies.

Description: Have the children take a bite out of their graham  cracker at the top.  Take vanilla frosting and mix it with red food  coloring, to make red.  Have the children spread the frosting all over the cracker.  Take 1 oreo cookie and open up and  have children place it at the bottom to resemble wheels.  You have your very own fire engine. Eat and enjoy!
Lots more firefighting activities later in this theme.

Everyone's contribution to the community counts in the picture book;
Friends at Work and Play by Rochelle Bunnett

Aerobic Career
With explanation and movement Kim helps young children learn about
aerobics instructors.

Aim: To explain what an aerobics instructor does/movement

Materials: flash cards and music.

Description: Talk to children about what an aerobics instructor does and then pretend to be one. Hold up flash cards and read aloud such as"jump!" Kids will follow me and do motions along to music.

Cafe and Bakery
Nicole helps children learn about the people in their neighborhood with this activity.
Dramatic Play area, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, muffin tins and bread pans.

Description: The children enjoyed creating what they thought would be served in a cafe or bakery.  They enjoyed having someone to cook for,or have tea parties. They learned to set the table.  This was fun to see, because they had to  learn to share.

Dramatic Play:  Check Out Counting
Michele suggests this dramatic play activity about counting a number of objects. 

Materials: Up to 5 or more objects 

Description: We play store and children count the items and tell me how many  they have to check out.  We also use money or coupons.

Money and Counting
Michele combines money with the above dramatic play activity.

Materials: Change

Description: We play store and things usually cost .01 .05 .10 .25. This activity teaches children how much each coin is worth.

Comments: I was surprised how fast my daughter caught on . I thought it would take much longer.

dramatic play idea Prop Box for Dramatic Play:
 Veterinarian or Pet Shop / Groomer

Leslie offers this idea saying, "Put out this box and let the kiddos pretend they are taking care of their  "animals".

 Materials:  Stuffed animals

Dogs, Kittens, birds
 dog/cat collars
 pet dish
 dog biscuits
 cat toys
 pet brush
 empty shampoo bottle
 squeaky toys
new dramatic play activity Petting Zoo
Nicole says, " This activity was developed to help the children in my room to learn to be more gentle."

Materials: Sensory table, small stuffed animals, and cotton balls.

I placed small stuffed animals and cotton balls in the sensory table to create the "Petting Zoo".  The kids had a great time making different sections for the animals. They really  learned to be gentle with animals and their friends.

Create A Community Helper
You will need:
16 oz. soft drink bottle, pebbles, panty hose, thread, foam ball,poster board, glue, felt.

1. Wash a 16 ounce soft drink bottle, and remove the label.
   Place a 1/2 inch of pebbles in the bottom of the bottle. 

2. Cut a leg from an old pair of panty hose and place a 2 1/2 inch 
    plastic  foam ball in the toe. Wrap and tie a piece of thread
    tightly to hold the ball in place. 

3. Placing the ball on top of the bottle for the head, pull the remaining hose
    over the bottle tightly, and tie it with thread at the bottom of the bottle. 

4. Cut large feet from poster board, and glue them to the bottom of the
    bottle. Decorate with pieces of felt  according to occupation.

A Community Helpers Song
(tune: "The Farmer In The Dell)
The firemen are brave.
The firemen are brave. 
Heigh-ho what do you know, 
The firefighters are brave. 
Other possible versus; 
Barbers cut our hair.
Doctors keep us well. 
Dentists check our teeth. 
Bakers bake our bread. 
Policeman stop the traffic.

Dramatic Play: Radio  Station
Young children learn about music, dance and broadcasting during this activity shared by Nicole.

Materials: Music/Movement area, radio, instruments, and microphone.

I had the children help me set up the music room according to how they thought a radio station would look like. They created from the bench,a place to play the music and make announcements.  We also took a field trip to a radio station. They enjoyed this.  We took the field trip after they set up their own radio station. 

Gayle's Hint: After returning from the field trip the children may want to add and / or change items in their radio station.

Field Trip: Elderly High Rise
Cheryll B. involves preschoolers with their community during this terrific cross-generational early childhood project. 

Hand made cards and props for singing or putting on a simple play like "The Three Billy Goats Gruff".

Description: Several times a year I take our children to a high rise apartment for low income elderly people. In the Spring we make enough paper eggs that the children have decorated so that every occupant has one to hang on their door. We let the children go quietly to each room and hang the decoration on each door. 

When we are through we gather in the community room and sing a couple of songs or do a quick play. The visit only takes about 45 minutes and is much appreciated by the tenants. We spend about a week in art making the eggs.

Comments: This is a great way to involve your program with the community. We go 3 or 4 times a year

Try one of these ways to spread love in your community.. 
  * Bake cookies for a neighbor and deliver them with a smile. 
 * Make your bed--without anyone asking you to. 
 * Help a friend who is hurt or sad. 
 * Send a homemade card to a faraway friend or family member. 
 * Say "please" and "thank you." 
 * Invite a new friend over to play. 
 * Collect some of your old toys and give them to a children's shelter.

A Finger Play:  "If I Were"
If I were a baker
(pretend to put on a hat and apron
What would I do? 
Bake lots of cookies
(make a circle with thumb and forefinger
For me and you.
(point to self and a friend

If I were a secretary,
(pretend to type and write on a notepad
What would I do? 
Answer the phone,
(hold pretend phone to ear
"How do you do?" 

If I were a veterinarian,
(pretend to put a stethoscope in ears
What would I do? 
Care for your pet
(pretend to examine a cat or dog
It's special to you. 

If I were a dentist,
(look in mouth of friend
What would I do? 
Check those teeth
(pretend to drill or x-ray friend's teeth
That's good for you! 

If I were a hair dresser
(pretend to comb a friend's hair
What would I do? 
Wash and trim your hair
(pretend to wash & cut a friend's hair
"Oh, pretty!" for you!

 A Construction Site
Nicole encourages youngsters to learn what it is like to build houses and buildings with this activity.

Block area, hard hats, trucks, and different types of blocks.

I turned the block area into a construction site, where the children could create buildings and towers of their choice.  They enjoyed wearing the hard hats and creating houses that they wanted to live in.

Art Activity: Fire Engine
You will need:
Construction paper, glue, yarn or string, straws.

Precut circular and rectangular shapes from construction paper. Have the children glue the precut shapes on to a piece of construction paper to resemble a fire truck. They may add yarn or string for the fire hose and use straws to make a ladder. 

Art Activity: Fire Painting 
You will need:
Construction or white paper, red, orange and black paint, plastic wrap,black cut out of house etc.

Using colors associated with fire (red, orange) squirt or draw thick 
lines on the paper and add a few drops of black paint here and there.
Press clear plastic wrap onto the paper and squeegee the paint around.
Pull plastic off of the paper using a strong vertical pulling action. 
(This will cause the paint to look like fire.)

When paint is dry have the children glue a black cutout of a house
(windows cut out) and/or a black cutout of a fire truck.

Firefighter Song 
Sung to 'I'm A Little Teapot'
I'm a firefighter, my name is John 
I put my boots and helmet on 
I hurry to the fire and give a shout. 
With a burst of water, 
The fire is out.
Dramatic Play: Firehouse 
Invite the children to set up a firehouse. Allow the riding toys to be the fire engines, ambulances and the fire chiefs car. Set up a sleeping area, boots with pants can be set up next to the bed. Give the children a bell to sound the alarm.

Extensions: During a large group time practice fire safety: "Stop, Drop, Roll". Have youngsters Stop what they are doing, Drop to the floor and Rollon the floor to put out the fire on their "burning" clothing.

Make an appointment at the local firehouse and take your preschool class
on a neighborhood trip to the fire station. Children will have the opportunity to see firefighters in all  their gear.  Meeting firefighters face to face will help children understand who firefighters are and that their job is to protect people. Then make time during classroom activities to go over fire safety procedures and carry out practice fire drills.

Finger Play:  The Firefighter 
This firefighter rings the bell. (thumb
This firefighter hold the hose so well. (index
This firefighter slides down the pole. (middle)
This firefighter chops a hole. (ring
This firefighter climbs higher and higher. (pinky
And all the firefighters put out the fire! 

 Action Poem:  Five Little Firefighters 

 Five little firefighters 
 (show five fingers
 Sleeping in a row. 
 (rest cheeks on hands & close eyes)
 Ring goes the bell- 
 Down the pole they go. 
 (Pretend to slide down pole
 They jump on the engine 
 (Jump Up
 And put out the fire. 
 (Pretend to squirt with a hose
 Now they're back home- 
 My, but they're tired. 
 (Stretch and yawn.)
Song:  I'm a Big Red Fire Truck
(tune: "I'm a Little Teapot")
 I'm a big red fire truck long and stout, 
 When I am needed, I roar and shout. 
 People love to see me rush about, 
 Just turn me on and head me out. 

 I'm a big red fire truck stout and long, 
 Here's is my ladder, tall and strong. 
 When I get a call, you'll hear my song, 
 Just climb aboard and turn me on.

Take a peek at the entire  Fire Safety Theme.
To The Hospital 
(tune:  "Are You Sleeping")
To the hospital, to the hospital, 
We will go. We will go. 
We will see the doctors, 
We will see the nurses, 
Dressed in white, dressed in white. 
I'm a Happy Doctor
(tune:  "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
 I'm happy that I am a doctor 
 I can help to make people feel well 
 I'm happy that I am a doctor 
 It makes me feel just swell 
 I'm a doctor, a doctor 
 I help to make people feel well well well 
 I'm a doctor, a doctor 
 I can help to make people feel well! 
The Doctor's Song
(tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
 I use a stethoscope 
 To listen to your heart. 
 To help you be a healthy child 
 And heal you when you're aren't.

Dramatic Play Items for Hospital 
Doctor's Bags
Black construction paper, red construction paper, stapler, white chalk, items such as band-aids, cotton balls, etc... 

1.  Fold the black paper in half and draw a doctor bag on it so that
    the fold is the bottom of the bag. 

2.  Cut it out and staple the sides together. 

3.  Cut a red cross out of the red paper and glue it on the bag. 

4.  Write Dr. **** on the other side of the bag. 

5.  Put cotton balls, band-aids, and whatever else you would find in a 
     doctor bag that the kids could play with. 

Medical Headbands
Make headbands for doctors white strips then a circle for the center that the children cover with pieces of tin foil for the light (mirror). 

Have the children paint each the cupped areas of a egg carton
(cut up one for each child) then poke a hole and put a piece of yarn 
through for their stethoscopes ! 

Create pretend thermometers by cutting clear plastic straws into halves.
Use a permanent black marker to make lines on one side of each straw half.

A Dentist's Song

(tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
Brush, brush, brush your teeth. 
Keep them clean each day. 
Then you'll have a pretty smile,
And healthy teeth all day.

I Am A Policeman
(tune: "I'm A Little Teapot")
I am a policeman, with my star. 
I help people near and far.
If you have a problem, call on me.
And I will be there, 1, 2, 3!

Action Poem:  Police Officer

The police officer stands so tall and straight
Holds up his hand for cars to wait
Blows his whistle, 'Tweet, tweet!' 
Till I'm safely across the street.

Poem:  The Policeman

There on the corner,
In his suit of blue,
The neighborhood policeman 
Is there to help you.
If you get lost,
He knows what to do.
Just tell him your name
And your address too!

Dramatic Play:  "Lost Child Game"
During a large group or circle time the adult plays the role of a mother
and the child plays the role of the police officer.

Mother pretends to cry and says, "Oh, dear, I've lost my child,
can you help find my child?" 

The police officer says, "What does your child look like?"
The mother describes  the child's hair color, clothing, eye color, etc. 

The police officer walks around the circle and chooses one 
child he thinks fits the description and brings the lost child back to the mother. That child is the next police officer and the game continues. 

Dramatic Play:  Observe and Collect Fingerprints!

Method One:
Rub a pencil point several times on paper. Rub the child's finger in the graphite and stick a piece of transparent tape over it. Then stick the tape onto paper. After doing several of one child's fingers, observe that each print is the same. But everyone's prints are different.

Method Two:
Have child touch a metal box. Pour a line of powder at the edge of the box and "blow" gently. With a soft brush, very lightly brush over the box. Fingerprints will appear. Allow children to use magnifying glasses to observe their fingerprints.

Action Poem: Police Officers
 Police officers are helpers wherever they may stand. 
(Stand with feet apart, hands on hips.) 
 They tell us when to stop and go by holding up their hands. 
(Signal stop by holding up hand and go by pointing index finger.) 

Finger Play:  Police Officers
Five police officers standing by a door------- 
One became a traffic cop; then there were four. 
Four police officers watching over me---- 
One took home a lost boy, and then there were three. 
Three police officers dressed all in blue---- 
One stopped a speeding car, and then there were two. 
Two police officers, how fast they run! 
One caught a bad man, and then there was one. 
One police officer saw smoke faraway. 
He called the firehouse, and the firemen (fire persons) saved the day. 

Poem: Letter Carrier
Letter carriers haul a very full pack 
Of letters and packages upon their back. 
Step, step, Now ring, ring, ring! 
Oh what surprises they will bring. 

Poem: Mailman?
We watch for the mail truck to come down the street,
Then we run to the mailbox, eager to greet,
Our special mail person.
And as you can see,
The one who brings our mail,
Is a mail lady?

Dramatic Play:  The Post Office
A small unit on the Post Office.

1.  We make mail carrier pouched out of construction paper, string and a   stapler to staple the mail pouches together. 

2.  Read the book I Want to be a Postman by Carla Green 

3.  Listen to the book and tape: A Letter to Amy by Ezra Keats 

4.  Sent up a postal office in the house corner.  Props including paper 
    envelopes, stampers, junk mail, mail boxes etc.

5.  For a center activity I glue pictures of houses to poster board.
     Write a number onto each house.  Address envelopes to the house
     by writing a number onto it.  Have the children "deliver" the mail. 

6.  We display as many stamps as we can and have collected.  Provide 
     magnifying glasses and stamp collecting books for the children to view. 

7.  Read the book The Merry Mailman by Marcia Martin

Dramatic Play Prop: "Post Office Ink"
After taking a field trip to the post office use this recipe to create
a pretend ink that can be used with a stamper in the Post Office dramatic
play center.

 1 tsp. food coloring 
 3 TBS. liquid starch 
 1 TBS. water 

 Mix the ingredients to use as ink for rubber stamps.

Art Activity:  Our Houses
Cut out house shapes from tag board in different shapes.  Each child
chooses the house shape that they want.  They decorate the house any way
that they want.  Use water colors, tempera paint, markers, stickers and
small pieces of material (for the curtains). 

Put the child's name on the back of the house until they learn their
addresses and then print it on the front of the house.  Make mailboxes
and put their names on them.

Extension: Take a large piece of butchers paper and draw roads, airports, lakes, rivers, etc. on it.  The kids help color the trees and grass, etc.  When they learn their address they pick a location to put their houses on.  Display the "Village" on the wall at the children's eye level.

The Mail Carrier's Song 

Write, write, write your cards, 
And lots of letters, too. 
I will bring them to your friends, 
And they will write back soon.
Community Helper Riddles 
I like books. 
I help people find the books they want. 
I check out their books at my desk. 
Who am I? 

I use a hammer and a saw. 
I build large and small houses. 
Who am I? 

I take your food order when you come to my restaurant. 
I bring your food after it is cooked. 
Sometimes you leave me a tip. 
Who am I? 

I watch people swim. 
Sometimes I walk around the swimming pool. 
If someone is struggling in the water, I dive in to try and save them. 
Who am I? 

I try to help people stay healthy. 
You come to see me for check ups. 
You come to see me when you aren't feeling well.
Who am I? 

I help you take care of your teeth? I check your teeth and congratulate 
you for brushing them. 
Who Am I? 

This Person Is..
(See if the children can tell you about these 
people—you can add more!) 
This person drives a taxi. 
This person leads a band. 
This person guides the traffic by holding up a hand. 
This person brings the letters. 
This person rakes and hoes. 
This person is a funny clown 
This person dances on tiptoes

Related Theme: Fire Safety

E-mail GayleE-mail Gayle  to include your favorite pre-school activity
in this theme!
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