Unit on Community

Unit on Community

Key Terms: Fireman, Policeman, Garbage Truck, Recycling bin, and Mailbox

Objective: The child will recognize the above elements of the community by sight.


Fireman. This was, by far, our easiest and most fun activity. We put on the hat–which Charlie hated–and played with the hose, which he loved. He was soaked head to toe when we were done, but it was fun and he smiled later when we talked about playing Fireman. child dressed as a fireman

Mailbox. I got the general idea from NTFF and then modified it for my purposes. We go to the big blue mailbox several times a week, so I made a facsimile out of an old Diet Coke box. You see, I need to buy Diet Coke–for educational purposes. Somebody tell my husband. I meant to give the box a flap, but I forgot and Charlie didn’t seem to notice. Actually, he really hated this activity–anything new is always an uphill battle.play mailbox

Recycling. Basically, we filled a box with “trash” from around the house and then I added three, clean, used Diet Coke cans. You see, Diet Coke is educational.  Anyway, we encouraged Charlie to find the cans and put them in the blue “recycling bin.” This activity ended up being hard for him because his little hands had trouble keeping ahold of the cans. Dad had to help him use two hands–I’ll go ahead and call that a little OT as well. When he finished, we added the cans to the big recycling bin outside. child learning about recycling

Shape Garbage Truck.  I stole this one directly from Allie only I changed the color because our trucks are blue and my husband said our trucks only have two wheels. Men. I have never, in my life, looked at the wheels on a trash truck. So I cut out the shapes and then Charlie put them together to make the truck with Daddy’s help. This went better than I anticipated, but he’s not one to post for a final picture–he’s already looking off at something else. garbage truck craft

Star Hunt. I bought some sherrif’s stars in the party section at Walmart for a dollar. I looped some tape and stuck it to the back and then stuck them up all over the house. We’ve done a similar activity before and Charlie really likes it. The stars are smaller, but he still caught on right away and had no trouble seeing them. Unfortunately, the pictures I took didn’t come out at all, so I just have this one to share, which is pretty terrible. child hunting for sheriff stars

We didn’t have a book this week. I’ve gotten kind of frustrated with Charlie’s hatred of books and gave myself a break this week. Hopefully I’ll find something inspiring for our next Unit to get me excited again.

Video We Enjoyed

The ever-fabulous Mrs. Rachel and her video My Neighborhood. Charlie loves this particular one, which we rent from the library and I noticed that after we played fireman, he was more attentive to the section about Firemen so I think something must have sunk in.

my neighborhood DVD cover

Unit on the Jungle

This was definitely one of my favorite units—there are just so many great things you can do with kids that involve jungle animals.

Unit on the Jungle

Key Terms: Elephant, Monkey, Tiger, Giraffe, Vines

Goals: The child will be able to recognize each of the key terms.


Wall elephants. We had so much success with our recent faces on the wall that I created some elephants to go on the wall next to Charlie’s changing table. This provides TONS of learning activities throughout the week. Every time he’s on the table he begins reaching up and grabbing whatever we’ve placed there—and we in turn tell him its name. Fantastic reinforcement. This may become a regular part of our units. elephant

Jungle room. This was another on-going learning activity. I decorated the entrance to Charlie’s room with some green crepe paper (also known as vines) and a monkey made out of crepe paper and sticky-backed foam. Every time we go in and out of Charlie’s room we mention the vines, the monkey, and how it’s just like a jungle. monkeyFunny hats. I found these hats on the aisles of Michaels and who am I to make things harder than they already are? Dad and I donned the hats and acted like fools. Then we put the hats on Charlie, which he did not find nearly as amusing. funny-hats

Handprint Monkeys. I’m planning on doing a much more detailed post on these guys for No Time for Flashcards, but basically, we used Charlie’s hands and paint to make monkeys. This was a pretty cute activity if I do say so myself and Charlie’s monkeys are now hanging on my fridge.

Handprint-monkeyPaper Plate Tiger. I got this one from Allie at NTFF. Again, why re-invent the wheel? We let Charlie paint the “tiger” and then I gave it a little face. Super cute and fun! tiger

Book We Enjoyed

I’m tempted to lie here and say that we enjoyed a more advanced book, but the truth is, we liked Touch and Feel Jungle Animals edited by Nicola Deschamps. What can I say? Charlie needs a little incentive to actually look at a book. We’re working on it, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

touch and feel

Video We Enjoyed

I know, I know! Videos aren’t the best. Studies show that if you sit with your child and interact with the video, they are more likely to get something out of it. For me, I just get tired of forcing Charlie to look at books and this way I have yet another way of reinforcing the information. zoo train

Signing Time Volume 9: Zoo Train. The kid is already wild about Signing Time. Zoo Train was a natural fit for this unit and it was available at my local library. I’m calling that a win-win situation.

Unit on Sports

A while back I got the crazy idea that Charlie needed to learn a little bit about sports. It was probably World Cup Fever or something, but I started getting a little worried that Charlie would be completely ignorant of sports because of his physical limitations. So I decided to do a Unit on Sports. This Unit was shortened because we were getting ready to go on vacation and I ended up spending a lot of time packing, shopping, etc. 

Unit on Sports

Key Terms: Baseball, football, basketball, soccer ball


Rolling. I got these big sports mats at Target for a 1.50. If you’d like, you could make something similar with felt. I put Charlie in the middle of the two mats and then I would say “let’s roll to the baseball!” Charlie’s into rough and tumble so this was great fun for him. When Dad got home, he took it even further and Charlie was flying to the baseball and basketball.

Mini Basketball. Charlie has trouble with throwing. He throws things to the side, but doesn’t know how to throw in front of him. I used this unit as an opportunity to work on this particular movement. He was not comfortable, but I really think that this will help him with other activities like eating with a spoon or fork. As an added learning opportunity, we “threw” the balls near and far.

Sorting. You know what this is—we sort a lot around here. I took one of those party packs with balls of all different types and we sorted two. I think next time we may sort three because it feels like we’ve done this a LOT.

Like I said, a brief lesson! I had several other things planned, but we didn’t get to them. Some other fun possibilities would include:

“Kicking” a soccer ball—if your child doesn’t stand, help them kick a soccer ball while lying on their backs.

Counting—take a selection of sport items and count them.

And as always, songs, and books make great learning tools.

Edit: In a moment of serendipity, I see that Tara has posted this great piece about doing traditional kid stuff with her non-traditional kid! Perfect compliment to this post.

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