This storytime highlights people who work in various capacities to make our communities a better place. We will learn about firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers, farmers, construction workers, and many more through books, a puppet activity, songs with motions, and a fun printable hat craft!
Books About Helping Heroes
Since I now have four storytime groups of varying ages and needs, I brought a bunch of books and read the crowd to choose the ones I thought they'd like best. Below are a couple of my favorites that I used every time.
You can also find 70+ other community helper book recommendations, which I categorized by career, at my libguide here. :)
Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do (Heling & Hembrook)
This cute book allows kids to practice identifying various jobs a person might have by looking at their clothes displayed on a clothesline. They will learn about various jobs, from mail carrier to artist and finally an astronaut! This book also shows people working outside of their gender stereotypes, including a female carpenter which is pretty cool.
Trashy Town (Zimmerman & Clemesha)
This book highlights a community helper that we do not think about enough. The kids love Mr. Gilly and shouting "No!" whenever they are asked "Is the trash truck full yet?" The verse "Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy Town!" is also repeated throughout, so they can join in and do movements with you. In the end, Mr. Gilly goes home and has one last thing to clean. The kids love to guess what he will clean next and love the final picture: Mr. Gilly taking a bubble bath!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Philip C. Stead)
Amos McGee loves working at the zoo! He treats the animals as friends and helps them in different ways. One day, Amos gets sick and is not able to make it to work, so his animal friends decide to pay him a visit. This heartwarming book teaches us about friendship, commitment, and gives us all hope that we may find our life's calling, as Amos has.
Activity: Community Puppet Pals
I brought out each puppet one by one and had the kids use their clothing and tools as context clues to guess what job each puppet might have.
The kids loved to identify their different tools and pieces of their uniform! Discuss what they might do with their tools, why they might need to wear certain articles of clothing, and what colors they wear.
Community Helper Songs With Motions
The Construction Worker Song
I love this simple song by Jbrary! It gets the kids moving and they are so excited to build a pretend house. I did the verses in this order while explaining how a house comes together:
1. Saw the Wood (To make a frame for the house.)
2. Pound the Nail (Put the wood together to make the frame.)
3. Stack the Bricks (Put up the walls.)
4. Mix the Paint (Because sometimes paint is runny.)
5. Paint the Wall (To make the inside of our house pretty!)
The tune (So Early in the Morning) gets stuck in your head, but it is a good one to get your kids' attention for nearly any activity, if you can come up with a verse. One of the girls actually started singing "This is the way we read the book," which I thought was so cute.
Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck
Another adorable song that kids really love! I had them stand up for this one so they really had fun driving around. I explained that there was a fire at the top of a tall building, so we will have to hurry over, climb up, put the fire out, then drive back to the station.
Craft: Detective Hats
I got these cute printable detective hats as a part of a community helpers packet from totschooling.net. You have to subscribe to the newsletter to get them for free, but you get 9 cute hats for various jobs like farmer, nurse, and firefighter that can be used for a number of storytimes in the future.
I chose detective because it is an interesting job that isn't discussed too often. One of the daycares I do storytime at is actually located by the forensic science department, so that was a good talking point. To help the kids understand what a detective does, you may want to mention the Sherlock Gnomes movie and Scooby Doo. Chances are they have seen one of these! I brought a premade hat to look at, then we turned it over and discussed how they might use their different tools to solve a crime. The kids did a great job with this one (and surprisingly, we never had to tackle the subject of murder. We just talked about thieves!)