Community helper activities are popular at the beginning of the school year … for both happy and sad reasons. The happy reason is that they’re a great way for children to understand the community they live in. The sad reason is that we’ve had way too many national and international tragedies … and one of the best ways for young children to feel safe when there’s a tragedy is by looking for the helpers.
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Montessori-Inspired Community Helper Activity with Safari Ltd. People TOOB and Free Printable Cards
Young children need as many hands-on activities as possible, and there are lots of great hands-on community helper activities available. This activity uses the Safari Ltd. People TOOB. That’s a good number of community helpers if you want to do an activity such as matching community helpers to cards, like the activity I prepared for my 23-month-old granddaughter, Zoey.
Disclaimer: Safari Ltd. TOOBs are recommended for ages 3 and older. Only use them with younger children if your child no longer mouths objects or you are closely supervising your child during the activity (and putting the small objects up out of reach at the end of the activity). Another disclaimer is for anyone who feels their toddler should be doing all the activities I prepare for Zoey. I prepare more activities than I prepared for my own children when they were toddlers or preschoolers. That’s mainly because I’m a blogger and like to give you a variety of activities to choose from.
All children are different, and many of the activities are appropriate for toddlers through preschoolers (or even early elementary), depending on your individual child. I have limited shelf space in my home, so I wouldn’t need a lot of activities. Often, I’ll have photos of Zoey doing an activity so that you can see an idea of how to present it with your child … and because Zoey loves to work with every activity she sees at my home at least once. I typically only keep Zoey’s favorite activities (or the activities that meet her specific needs at the time) on the shelves. Please only choose the activities that meet your child’s needs and interests … and don’t worry at all about the rest.
This was an easy tray to prepare. I simply printed, laminated, and cut out free community helpers word wall cards. I used a Montessori Services basket and a Multicraft tray.
UPDATE: The community helpers wall cards I used are no longer available, but I found free community helper TOOB 3-part cards to go with the Safari Ltd. People TOOB by Lyn Hzb at Teachers Pay Teachers. I like the newer cards better than the ones I had before because they include 3-part cards with photographs of people matching the community helper figures and a set of 3-part cards using photographs of the figures themselves. That makes the activity even more Montessori friendly as well as perfect for young children who are just learning to match (if you use the photographs of the TOOB figures).
After discussing the cards, the Montessori 3-period lesson would be a good way to help toddlers and preschoolers feel comfortable with each of the terms.
Community Helper Figures
I love that there are so many different types of community helper figures available for homes and schools.
Extensions with Community Helper Figures and Free Printables
“Look for the Helpers” Mister Rogers word art freebie isn’t an activity, although you could have children match the professions to the images on the free printable.
If you have different community helper figures or live in another country, you might find that another printable works better for you. Here are some ideas using free printables I found online.
- Community Helpers Emergent Readers from The Measured Mom (I’ll be printing these out for Zoey because she loves DIY books.)
- Helpers Emergent Reader by Kindergarten Smorgasboard at TeachersPayTeachers (a book that preschoolers can color and put together)
- Community Helper Wordwall Set from Preschool Mom (doesn’t contain a pilot but uses photographs)
- Occupations and Vehicle Matching Activity from Totschooling (This would be especially fun to use with miniature vehicles.)
- Community Helpers Driver and Transportation Matching from The Teacher Couple at Teachers Pay Teachers
- Community Helpers and Transportation by Miss Kindergarten
- Community Helper Stick Puppets from First Palette (could be used for a variety of activities, including matching with community helper figures)
- Community Helpers Initial Sound Matching with community helper cards from Rainy Day Mum (I love the idea of using community helpers for initial sound matching. Rainy Day Mum and Twinkl are from the UK, so you’ll find the community helper images more identifiable if you’re from the UK. You’ll find a lot of great resources here, and some of the images will work anywhere.)
- People Who Help Us printables from Twinkl (As I said, Twinkl is from the UK, so the images are of UK community helpers.)
- Community Helpers Match the Tools by Lindsey Nobles at TeachersPayTeachers (another good focus for community helpers)
- Community Helpers Bingo Cards from PreKinders (These are available in both photographs and clip art.)
- Map Activity for a Community Helpers Theme from Fun-a-Day (a fun way to add a map activity into work with community helpers.)
More Montessori-Friendly Community Helper Resources
I have a number of posts with Montessori-inspired community helper activities and free printables. You can find links to them all in this post: Montessori-Friendly Community Helper Resources
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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