Broaden your child’s world view starting with the community around them with this neighborhood-themed lesson plan. This week, your child will develop art and music appreciation and math, science, and language skills while learning about their hometown, the post office, and the fire station. 🚒Click here to download our weekly tracking document for your records.
Note: Occasionally we include project modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the minus (-) symbols.
What you need:
Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):
- Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney (or read it here on OpenLibrary)
- Home by Carson Ellis (or listen to this read aloud)
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Firehouse by Mike Berenstain
- Owney: The Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kerby (read it here on OpenLibrary) OR A Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mascot by Dirk Wales
Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- laminator + laminator sheets (optional, but recommended for repeating lessons)
- clear drying, non-toxic glue (we like this glue + glue stick set)
- hole puncher
- string or yarn
- paper bag
- construction paper
- sidewalk chalk
- post-it notes (or just regular paper and tape)
What to do:
We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!
Letter of the week: H
The letter H says /h/ as in “home”, as you can see on the first page of the letter guide. Reinforce the sounds with our Letter of the Week Song.
Remember, the guide isn’t a worksheet! The first page is for you, the grown-up. Use it to introduce the letter name, the sounds it makes, and to demonstrate how to draw each letter. Display the Letter Guide in your school area along with the completed coloring sheet to reinforce the lesson throughout the week.
Next, use the second sheet to create a page for your child’s phonics book. Review the book a few times each week until your child has mastered these phonics.
Start by reading Me on the Map. Show your child where you live now on a map of your home country. (Do you live in the US? You can print this one. Or if you would like to use a world map, you can print this one). Show them where they were born (if it’s different from where they are now), where you (and their other parent, if applicable) were born and have lived, and the places you have traveled. Talk about where family members live. This is a great time to tell them stories about your life, how you met your partner, etc.
Activity 1: Where Do I Live? craft.
Activity 2: “Learn My Address” song. Practice this throughout the week until your child has it memorized.
Activity 3: What’s my name? This activity focuses on your child learning how to spell their name. Include both first and last names for a bit more of a challenge using this fun idea from Big City Readers.
Activity 4: Learn the continents. Plus, don’t miss our Instagram video with a song that will help your child memorize all seven continents!
Today, let’s talk about the different types of homes. Start by reading the book Home. When you find a home like yours in the book, help your child to make real-life connections. For the homes different to yours, compare and contrast the differences. Make notes of things from the book that you can find in your own neighborhood scavenger hunt later.
Activity 1: Take a walk around your neighborhood and have a scavenger hunt with this printable checklist.
Activity 2: Practice writing with map work.
Activity 3: Make a treasure hunt for letters and site words. Modify this activity to meet your child where they are. If they are learning letters, hide only letters. If they are learning site words, hide words. If they are learning to spell site words, then follow the directions as they are written in the blog and hide letters that form the site words.
Read The Berenstain Bears Visit the Firehouse. Then teach your child about calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. (This article has great tips for having a non-scary conversation.) Explain what an emergency is and show them how to use your cell phone to dial for help and what they would say. If you are able, visit your local fire house. Firefighters love it when families come by and say hello.
Activity 1: Printable fire truck number puzzle.
Activity 2: “Learn Your Phone Number” song + activity. Knowing your phone number is another important way a child can help themselves if they get lost or need help. This easy-to-remember tune and fun activity helps them memorize your number while also reinforcing number recognition.
Activity 3: Fire safety and prevention activity. You know that we don’t love busy worksheets so don’t use these worksheets as intended. If your child is ready for copywork, have them work on the writing practice. Use the Fire Safety for Me and Things I Play With worksheet to discuss fire safety rules. This would be a good time to demonstrate writing for your child. Let them see you write the answers they give you.
Read the Owney story. There are several books that tell his story, so feel free to use whatever you can find at the library or get quickly online. We have linked two different versions above for reference. This incredible story takes you and your child across the United States. Use a map of the country to travel right along with Owney.
Activity 1: Print your own postcards craft. Have your child write (or pretend to write) their own postcards. Then you can mail them at the post office or hand deliver to a neighbor.
(+)Practice writing your own address.
Activity 2: Take a trip to your local post office (drive-bys are fine, too!). If you are walking, count the mailboxes you see on your way there. Play I Spy and look for delivery trucks. Try to meet your local post office worker and have your child introduce themselves. Be sure to thank them for all their hard work!
Review day! Re-read the books your child especially enjoyed, and practice performing the address song.
Activity 1: “Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin” by Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh made friends with this postman, and he ended up being in a lot of his paintings. Show your child the painting and talk about the colors, shapes, and mood of this picture. Ask: What do you they talked about while he was painting him? Talk about the way he was able to make his beard look so real and his use of bright colors or his brush strokes. Here are some more tips for talking about Van Gogh’s work.
(Tip: Don’t feel like you need to read the linked article to your child—that’s a reference for you so that you can talk more freely about the subject. And don’t worry if your child asks a question you don’t know the answer to—tell them you will find out and let them know. (+) If an older child wants to help you find the answer, do a little research and see what you can learn together.)
Activity 2: Build a house with a paper bag and some construction paper.
(+) When the house is done, save it! We’ll be comparing these houses to traditional Native homes you’ll model in our Native Peoples Unit.
Psst! We want to see your little architect’s creation! Post a photo of your house on Instagram with #learnandliveletter and tag us, and we’ll re-share our favorites!
Activity 3: Cars are a part of our neighborhood. Enjoy some water play with this car wash sensory bin. Use whatever you have around the house that needs cleaning if you don’t have cars. Use sponges, cups, and mild soup in this activity.
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