The neighborhood theme often falls into the kindergarten curriculum. It gives the students a chance to explore their own community in addition to learning what typically makes up a neighborhood. Hands-on activities that engage the students give them a better understanding of the idea of community and neighborhoods,
Play dough offers kindergarten students a tactile experience and helps to create mini-neighborhoods. This activity works well as a station during center time. Encourage the students to create buildings and neighborhood features from the dough. You can also use wooden blocks or other small items to help create the buildings, or let the students cover small milk cartons with the dough. The milk cartons serve as the structures of the buildings so they won't fall down.
The neighborhood theme works well with a dramatic play center for kindergarten students. Set up different businesses or features of the neighborhood. You might set up a mock restaurant with a table and chairs, homemade menus and toy food. A cardboard box can serve as a homemade mail box for a post office area. Create a fire engine out of a large appliance box to make a fire station area. Costumes for people who work in each of the careers add to the dramatic play aspect. The students dress up and act out the role of each community member. Firefighters can visit the class to add excitement to this unit on dramatic play.
A class book documents all of the businesses and locations within your neighborhood. If the students come from a variety of neighborhoods, use the area around the school as the basis of the book. Take a walk around the neighborhood with the class. If a walking field trip isn't possible, walk around yourself to take photos of landmarks. Ask the students to call out things in the neighborhood worth mentioning in the book. Write a list based on their responses. Each neighborhood feature becomes a page in the book. Use a photo or let the students draw pictures to represent the landmark. You can also write a description for each picture as a class.
This neighborhood activity takes the book idea a step further. Instead of making a book about landmarks in the neighborhood, the kindergarten students make a model of it. Use a large sheet of cardboard as the base or designate a section of the classroom floor as the model area. As a class, create the major roads on the model floor. Use small cardboard boxes and other materials to re-create the buildings and other features of the neighborhood.