Are you diving into your Community Helpers theme in your preschool classroom or homeschool? Keep reading for the most engaging Community Helpers preschool activities around!
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COMMUNITY HELPERS PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES
One of my favorite themes to teach in the fall (whether you’re homeschooling or teaching in a preschool or kindergarten classroom) is a Community Helpers theme. Little ones LOVE to learn about exciting jobs like being a firefighter, police officer, & garbage collector. Plus October is Fire Prevention Month here in the United States, so this theme aligns perfectly with that.
Keep reading for over 20 Community Helpers activities for your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students. These ideas include printables for math & literacy, fine motor, STEM, dramatic play, art, and more! Oh, and there’s a freebie, too!
If you want a copy of my yearly themes (including an editable version where you can type in your own themes), check out this freebie. (*Please note: You will need to download this file to your computer and then open it with Adobe in order to add your own themes. You cannot add your themes from your web browser.)
COMMUNITY HELPERS PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES: LITERACY
Before you get started with your Community Helpers theme, make sure you have your books all ready to go! You can check out our favorite books for this theme in this post. There are over 30 books for you to choose from! Make sure to request these from your local library (or order them from Amazon) a few weeks before you start your theme.
Phonological awareness skills are the key building block to reading success, which is why they should be practiced a little bit every day. In order to keep things fresh & engaging, I like to use phonological awareness games that go along with my current theme. Click here to check out these Community Helpers phonological awareness games that will help your little ones become strong readers in less than 10 minutes a day (and with zero supplies!)
You’re definitely going to want to start your Community Helpers theme with these vocabulary cards! These are the perfect way to introduce your little learners to the vocabulary they’ll need for the different activities in this unit. You can use these words in your writing center, as a Write the Room activity, as a scavenger hunt, or as a picture match.
You can also use these cards in Community Helper Riddles. Choose a vocabulary card but don’t show your preschoolers. Say a riddle that includes three clues about the community helper, such as: “I wear a white coat. I take x-rays of your body. I keep you healthy. Who am I?” Once they guess “doctor,” you can show them the doctor vocabulary card.
I love using pre-writing lines to prepare little hands to write letters and numbers later on. These pre-writing lines are great because they have the same community helpers on them as our vocabulary words. So not only can little ones trace the lines, but they can also match up the lines with the vocabulary cards, too!
Preschoolers will love using dot markers to dot these lowercase letters. This helps them with letter names, letter sounds, and letter formation. I also love the reminder to kids that THEY are community helpers, too!
Phonological Awareness is the conscious awareness of all levels of speech sounds. This includes Word Awareness, Syllable Awareness, Rhyme Awareness, & Phoneme Awareness. One of the best ways to develop phonological awareness with preschoolers is to work on compound words. This activity is great because it allows them to hear the two words that make up a compound word and see how those two words come together to form a new word. Plus they’ll love pretending to be a scientist doing an experiment.
Here’s another phonological awareness game that’s important for our little ones in order to prepare them for reading that they can play BEFORE they know any letters & sounds! Your little one will slide the slider, name the picture, and count out the correct amount of syllables in the picture. Then they’ll slide the number slider to show that number.
One of the best parts about this game is that you can take it with you on the road! The above picture is my preschooler playing this game while waiting for his Big Sis to be done with her dance class. Since this game doesn’t require any small pieces, it can be taken with you anywhere so you can practice syllable work while on the go.
The onset is the initial consonant (or consonants) in a word, and the rime is the vowel and everything that comes after it. This onset-rime game is the perfect way to help preschoolers hear the sounds in a word broken up by onset-rime & blend them together to read the word. First, they’ll spin the spinner to create the word, and then they’ll blend those sounds together to read the word.
If you have a police car, have them drive the car along the line underneath the letters while they blend the sounds together to read the word. This is usually their favorite part & it’s a great way to make this game hands-on & multi-sensory.
In my experience, rhymes can be one of the hardest skills to teach preschoolers. I know some kids who can read decodable books and CVC words, but they can’t hear if words rhyme or not. So I like to practice rhymes as much as possible & in many different ways. This board game is one of my favorite ways to practice rhymes…plus preschooler LOVE pretending to be firefighters!
Your little one will choose a card, name the picture, and find the rhyming picture in the “Key.” Then they’ll put their game piece on that spot on the board. They’ll continue moving around the board until they lead the firefighter to the house on fire. This game will also lead in perfectly to imaginative play!
Order in the court…it’s time to judge the vowels! This is such a fun game to practice CVC words & short vowel sounds. Your preschooler will roll the cube and name the short vowel sound. Then they can find a word that has that same short vowel sound. (Or you can give them two different word choices and they have to decide which one has the short vowel sound that’s on the cube.)
You can also turn this into an oral game if your little one isn’t ready to read CVC words. You can say the sounds of the word out loud, such as /b/ /e/ /d/ and have your little one orally blend the sounds to say the word “bed.”
One area I like to focus on during my Community Helpers theme is being prepared for an emergency. This FREE Emergency Form is a great way to help your little one begin memorizing important information they’d need in an emergency, including their full name, address, & phone number. This freebie is editable, which means you can simply type in you little one’s information and print it out.
This activity (along with all of our freebies!) can be downloaded from the Free Activity Library. If you’re already a member of our email community, you can click HERE to head to the Free Activity Library, enter your password (it’s on your most current email from me), and download your copy!
If you’d like to join our email community & receive the password as my way of saying THANK YOU for joining, you can click HERE to subscribe. Once you enter your information, the password will be emailed to you within minutes.
COMMUNITY HELPERS PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES: MATH
I love adding baking into my Community Helpers theme for my preschoolers because it leads into the best imaginary play! This 2D shape activity is super fun because kids will match the shape cookie to the shape baker’s hat. Then they can actually “bake” the shape cookie on a cookie tray in their play kitchen (we did this and it was a blast!)
I love teaching about tallies because it helps little ones learn to “count on.” When they can identify a group of five tallies as “5,” they can then count on without having to count each tally in the group of five. This tally activity is fun because the tally marks are made out of screwdrivers! This can also lead to imaginary play if you have pretend tools or a toolbox.
Going to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for our little ones. So I like to focus on the dentist during my Community Helpers theme so that my students feel more comfortable whenever they have their annual appointment. This game is great because it allows preschoolers to work on subitizing, one-to-one correspondence, and identifying things they’ll see at their next dentist visit.
It’s common to see preschool classrooms focus on counting and number sense, but it’s easy to forget there are other crucial math skills to work on, too, such as patterns. It’s important for our preschoolers to be able to do different skills related to patterns: identify patterns, match patterns, repeat patterns, fill in the missing parts of a pattern, create patterns, and name patterns. This library pattern activity gives preschoolers the chance to duplicate, extend, create, and find missing patterns in a hands-on way.
Paging Dr. Learning…you’re needed in the ER! Preschoolers LOVE pretending to be doctors and nurses during imaginary play, and this math activity is the perfect way to incorporate play with academics. They’ll choose a doctor card, name the number, and find the emergency kit with the same amount of bandages.
Ten frames are in important tool for early childhood educators because they help our little ones visualize different ways to make ten. This is a fun game because little ones will use a ten frame to show how many envelopes are in the mailbox…and then they can pretend to be a mail carrier delivering the mail!
Are you noticing a trend here?! SO much imaginary play embedded into a Community Helpers theme!
One of my main goals in preschool is to help my little ones develop number sense. I want them to do WAY more than just count from 0-20. I want them to understand how the numbers relate to one another and how they compare. This game is perfect for that because it asks your little one to choose a number and sort it onto the correct side of the mat.
It also stretches their minds since the numbers are shown as numerals, dice, ten frames, and hands. (Being able to identify a number without having to count each dot or finger is called subitizing, and it’s an important skill for our little ones to work on).
Here’s another game that focuses on number sense. I want my preschoolers to understand the foundation of addition as “Part” + “Part” = “Whole” (not just that 9 + 1 = 10 or 4 + 1 = 5). This game is great because it helps them visually see two parts coming together to create a whole.
COMMUNITY HELPERS ACTIVITIES: STEM & ART
Do your kids complain about brushing their teeth? I know mine do. I LOVE doing this egg experiment because it helps them see why brushing their teeth is SO important (and also how different foods/drinks affect our teeth.)
All you do is place an egg inside a clear jar, then pour in liquid. (You can do as many egg/liquid combinations as you’d like). Let the eggs sit in the jars for 24-48 hours. When it’s time to take the eggs out, make observations about what happened to the shells. Can you brush the stains off?!
Here’s a classic preschool craft that’s usually found in a Community Helpers theme…X-Ray Handprint! These are so easy but kids love them!
Just one small tip…don’t use these X-Rays to teach the letter X. The letter X usually represent the /ks/ sound, like the sound sound in box or fox. When we teach kids that X is for X-Ray, it’s confusing because that’s not the sound we associate with letter X.
Kids LOVE getting things in the mail…so why not have them create their very own mailbox?! This mailbox is so easy to make. We used an empty cereal box, covered it with paper, and attached a moveable flag. My kids LOVE checking to see if there’s mail in there!
My favorite part of our preschool Community Helpers theme this year was our trip to the Fire Station! I’m so lucky because my brother-in-law is a firefighter, so we were able to visit his station. My preschooler LOVED sitting in the different trucks (can you spot him in the picture?!), looking at all the supplies, and watching his uncle go down the fire pole! If you can organize a trip to your local fire station, I highly recommend it!
There’s only one perfect snack after a trip to the Fire Station…a Fire Truck snack! This graham cracker snack is so easy to make & is perfect for your Community Helpers theme.
All you do is cover a graham cracker with strawberry jelly. Then cut two banana slices as the wheels and a banana rectangle as the window. Last, add pretzel sticks to look like the ladder of the fire truck. My kids LOVE this snack! (*Inspired by The Printable Princess.)
COMMUNITY HELPERS PRESCHOOL & PRE-K FUN
I hope these ideas helped you fill-in your Community Helpers lesson plans for your preschool classroom or homeschool! All of the printables for this unit can be found in my Community Helpers Preschool Activity Pack.
What types of Community Helpers preschool activities do you plan for the fall? Do you have any fun activities that would be great to add to this list? Comment below or find me on Instagram [@littleslovelearningblog] and let me know!