Imaginative Play · Learning Activities · Play Advice · Sensory Play · Small Manipulatives

Calling all firemen, policemen, garbagemen, and construction workers!

We LOVE community helping trucks and workers in our house!  There are so many easy activities that are fun and great ways to teach our kids about our communities.  This activity took 20 minutes to set up, and I really think most of you would already have everything in your homes.  Both my 3 year old and 1 year old LOVED it!

I grabbed whatever “worker” vehicles we had and lined them up in a little “parking lot.”  Boston loves policeman, and we do not have a police car.  So, I just used a permanent marker to draw a star on one of his blue cars (see this post to learn more about making the toys you already have new). Then I made a little road out of masking tape on the carpet around the room.  I have done this a few times for my boys and it is ALWAYS a hit.  Next, I made a “task” for each worker truck.


The garbage truck has to pick up all the garbage along its path (torn up newspaper) and put it in a little land fill (just where ever your little decides that should be).  I got this idea from a sweet friend I do joy school with.  She used tissue paper which was more colorful and pretty, but I didn’t have any. Bennett (1 year old) LOVED doing this.


The firetruck had to put out all the fires (red cup towers).


The construction trucks had to clean out all the dirt and help build a lego city.  The dirt was grape nuts cereal.  This was perfect for my 1 year old, Benny.  He could eat his little heart out, and Mommy never said yucky like I do when we play with dried beans or rice.


The police car had to give tickets to the race cars that were driving too fast, and put the bad guys (balloons with faces on them) in the jail (cardboard box).


This whole thing took me 20 minutes to set up, and I tried to only use what I have.  So, if you don’t have balloons- just use any stuffed animal or toy that could be “bad.”  If you don’t have red cups, just use any blocks and call them fire.  Kids can and will use their imaginations, so it doesn’t matter if it is red, it is just fun that they can knock the fire down.  If you don’t have a garbage truck, my friend used a carton (or box) and cut a whole in it so kids could put the garbage in the box.  My little boy is obsessed with this carton, and he doesn’t even want to play with the REAL garbage truck.  I just want to emphasize that for any fun activity you see online, don’t think you need to go buy a bunch of stuff or make everything look perfect to play out the idea with your child and have so much fun.  Perfection is NEVER fun.

Extra Tip:

Some activities I plan for Boston to encourage him to play by himself.  Other activities I plan knowing I will play with him.  All kids are different, and Boston loves interaction.  Sometimes when I go to the work to do a big activity for him and then he doesn’t play with it for more than five minutes I get frustrated.  I have learned that his personality does not get a lot of fulfillment out of dramatic play or imaginary play by himself.  So, instead of fighting him to do it by himself and making the whole activity not fun, I plan to play with him for a certain amount of time.  I make sure to let him take lead and when he asks me, “Where could the jail be?  What does the police officer do?  What should the fire fighter say?”  I try to say, “What do you think?”  This helps him to use his imagination even though I am there.  I also will play with whatever part of the activity I like best and not let him boss me around too much.  This helps him learn he cannot boss his friends around and encourages him to play with me(not make me do all the playing and imagination work) or use his imagination to play with a different part of the set up.  It also helps me enjoy the activity more and not get so bored.

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