Kids know and learn about police officers and doctors, and other community helpers, and they know how important they are in keeping our communities safe and healthy. Another important piece of learning about community helpers is recognizing and understanding each community helpers tools.
When teaching the community helper unit in school, the children were really excited to learn about the community helpers that they see frequently around their neighbourhood and area.
It was something that connected to their real life for them and was therefore interesting and engaging.
The community helpers unit is a unit that I really enjoyed teaching. There are so many hands-on ways to teach the unit. From volunteer speakers to centres, it is a great introductory unit in social studies.
Introducing the Community Helpers Unit
Before learning about the tools that community helpers use, we started our unit learning and talking about who community helpers are and what their job is. We made sure to talk about a variety of community helpers including mail carriers and pilots.
Once children had a good understanding of who a community helper is, we then moved onto community helpers and their tools.
The main focus of this activity is for children to understand that for each profession there are often specific tools or materials needed in order to do the job.
Since I have young kids at home, and teach in a school, being able to find a variety of tools was not challenging. If you repeat this activity with children, you don’t need to use the exact same objects that I used.
The important thing is that you provide a variety of objects for children to choose from. Some ideas for tools include:
- Police Officer’s Badge
- Airplane (Pilot)
- Dentist Mirror and Tooth Brush
- Letter/Mail (Mail Carrier)
- Pot and Spoon (Chef)
- Construction Workers Vest
- Pencil and Eraser (Teacher)
- Hard Hat (Construction Worker)
- Stethoscope (Doctor/Nurse)
- Doctor/Nurse Scrubs
- Gardening Gloves (Gardener/Landscaper)
- Measuring Cups (Chef/Baker)
- X-Rays (Technician/Vet/Doctor)
- Fire Truck (Fire Fighters)
- Bus (School Bus Driver)
Community Helpers and their Tools Activity
I gathered my tools from around my house and school and laid them out on desks. Since I did the activity with young children I also included a piece of paper with each of the tool’s name on it. This helped with spelling and identifying items.
Since I wanted children to have to identify and connect the words with each tool, I gave each child a sheet of paper on a clipboard.
On the sheet was the name of each community helper that I had represented with a tool. The other column was labeled “Tool”.
Children moved around the room looking at each of the tools out on the desks. When they found an item that they knew which community helper it belonged to, they wrote the name of the tool beside the community helper.
For example, they printed the word “Letter” beside the word “Mail Carrier” on their sheet.
It was a great learning activity for children because they were printing, spelling and reading as they worked to match each of the community helper with their tool. Another thing that I love about this activity is the fact that it gets kids up and moving around the room.
Children were also engaged and excited for this activity because they loved seeing the different tools and recognizing them.
I think they liked the fact that I had used actual toys/tools instead of just a black and white photo or verbally talked about it.
It is also a great matching activity because children have to find, sound out the word and then find the name of the community helper and then print the name of the tool. The more tools you can find, the better.
In the end, it took the children about half an hour to find and print all of the community helpers tools. Everyone was very excited each time they found a match and even more excited when they had successfully completed and matched all of their community helpers to their tools.
Once we were done and all children had filled out their sheets, we then discussed their answers together. We talked about each tool and how important it was. We also discussed if there were any other community helper who also uses the same tool for anything.
For example, a doctor and a nurse or vet have a lot of the same tools that they use and need to do their job.
After discussing the different tools used by each community helper this activity is great to help children identify the tools and make connections. There is still lots of learning that can be done with this topic.
Depending on the age of the child(ren) that you are working with, you could make the activity more challenging by not giving the name of the community helper. They could have to figure out both the helper and the tool.
I have also done this activity with a large group of children. I had a collection of 25 tools – one for each child. I then gave each child a card with the name of one community helper on it.
I then brought out the tools one, by one, and the child with the community helper had to say that they felt that it was their tool. This activity created lots of great discussions.
Another activity you can try for community helpers and their tools is challenging children to find a community helper tool in the room (home or classroom). It can be anything, but challenge them to be able to tell who the community helper is.
For example, a book could be a tool for a librarian. A computer or laptop could be the tool for a business person.
This hands-on activity is great for all types of learning styles. As a follow up, children worked in their “Community Helpers” booklets that I created. A few examples of the pages from the unit booklet are below. The booklet is available for purchase, click here to view.
Community Helpers Printable Unit
Click the image below to view the Community Helpers printable pages.
There are also other great hands-on activities ideal for use when learning about community helpers and their tools.
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