Most kindergarten students love role-playing activities and idolizing heroes. Engaging youngsters in such activities as part of a police study unit can be a fun and creative way to combine these passions into a compelling learning experience. Using a combination of crafts, games and hands-on projects, kindergartners can understand the important role police officers play in keeping communities safe.
Crafts and Games
Children between the ages of four and six generally love to play pretend. Parents and teachers can use this play style to help these youngsters understand a police officer’s job. Start with creating police hats and badges by gluing blue tissue paper to a black construction paper head band and brim. Top with a yellow badge on which the student has written a number. For a faster police hat, simply print a template from the Internet for the student to color in. Explain how one duty of a police officer is to manage traffic, and have them direct either toy traffic driven by other students or smaller toy cars and trucks.
Introduce kindergartners to the crime-fighting role police officers play with a fingerprinting activity. Introduce the craft by explaining how police officers fingerprint the “bad guys” to help them identify who committed a crime. Explain how every person has a unique set of fingerprints. Then, using an FBI fingerprint card -- which can be printed from the Internet -- have students press their individual fingers on a stamp pad and help them roll their fingerprints into each box on the card. Science can be integrated into the lesson by using a magnifying glass to compare different prints among students, or between child and parent.
Traffic Lights and Colors
The basic skill of color identification can also be woven into a police study unit. Kindergartners can make their own traffic lights from a variety of materials; for example, they can make simple construction paper creations, or they can paint round plastic container lids red, yellow and green. Students should be taught what each color represents in respect to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Large red, yellow and green circles can be mounted on a craft stick for a game of “Red Light, Green Light” to reinforce the use of color in guiding drivers.
Safety Role Play
Beyond learning about the role police officers play in the community, related activities can also focus on safety. Using a deactivated cell phone, toy phone or even a home-made prop created from an old spaghetti box cut in half and wrapped in construction paper with buttons drawn on, have students practice making emergency calls. Kindergartners should try to memorize their name, address and phone number. Then create scenarios where they need to call 911 and ask for help. A key part of this lesson is for the student to be able to repeat essential personal information clearly, while an adult plays the role of an operator, so children know what to expect in case they ever need to call for crisis assistance.
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