Rascal Camp Day 2: Community Helpers

Day two of pre-k summer camp kicked off with another joyful round of Hello (Ella Jenkins) with happy, clapping hands to keep the rhythm. After a quick rule review, we dove right in and cracked open today’s book: Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook. I love the playful rhymes in this book and interactive nature of the guessing game that encourages kids to think and pay attention. I especially like the diversity throughout ending and how it celebrate

Spreading out the yoga blanket, we took off our shoes and started our morning practice with deep balloon breaths. Today, they were much better at this concept and inflated/deflated their balloons/lungs beautifully. Moving though our poses, we pretended to be engineers building bridges, veterinarians caring for cats, firefighters reaching their hosess to put out fires, zookeepers feeding lions, train drivers through tunnels, and gardeners or farmers planting things for butterflies to pollinate. [poses in respective order as pictured; cards from ThinkFun ]


Continuing with our theme, our language lessons began with connecting “go-togethers.” These Rascals were absolute pros and demonstrated some early reading skills that knocked my socks off. I set out two columns of words with the instruction to match the words that belong together. I read out the words, and it only took the kids about one minute to match them all. I had counted on much more time being needed!

Teeth/brush? Sigh. I meant Dentist/toothbrush. They understood, though. 

Next, we stamped some postcards and matched letters. Letter stamps and ink pads were set in the middle of the group and each child was given a small stack of “stamps” (construction paper squares). Holding up a postcard (index card with capital letter printed upon) for the children to see, we would all make the sound of the letter and then they would search the box for the corresponding stamp- capital or lower case- stamp the square, then glue the stamp to the postcard for later mailing at the post office station. This process was four steps long and they exceeded expectations. I only planned to do 5-6 letters but they asked to do several more as they enjoyed the process. We talked about where a stamp is located on a piece of mail and how mail gets delivered.


Next, for math lessons we brought the abstract concept of community to our table and made it more concrete using a gears set. Everyone built their own community, with each cog representing a helper or member of the community (firefighter, teacher, etc) and chose where in the community they would love, fitting each cog together on their board. We discussed how everyone has an important role to play in our community and how, even if people (cogs) are different colors, each is a needed piece of the puzzle in order for the community to run well. We expanded on this concept a little by then piecing each board together and adding the turning handle, watching how all the pieces worked in unison when the handle rotated. Everyone got a turn rotating the handle. We built different communities several times and worked on being kind to each other (our over-arching theme of the week) while taking turns. We sorted the cogs by color and made sure each color was represented on each board. The more diversity the better!

At this point, the kids were pretty anxious to move on to free play in the stations they had glimpsed during yoga. So, we took a tour of the backyard community stations I’d set up so they’d know what imaginative play areas were available. This also gave me a chance to explain some additional rules we had today (such as “do not cut anyone’s hair, clothes, person or hair. Did I say don’t cut anyone’s actually hair?”) while we previewed certain stations.


  • Library: stack of various books covering community topics, individual library cards, stamps and stamp pad. Kids can “check out” books, but must apply the number of stamps to their card corresponding to the number of books checked out (3 books = 3 stamps on card)IMG_20180710_095525.jpg
  • Veterinary Clinic: Lab coat, toy stethoscopes, otoscopes and syringes, various stuffed animals. Animals have come to the office because they have booboos! How can you be kind and help them?
  • Post Office: large mailbox with several slots (cut from a cardboard box and labeled mail), stamp stickers, markers and index cards. Invitation to write a postcard to whomever you like. Don’t forget to apply a stamp before popping it into the mailbox!
  • Market: market stand and cash register. Use your imagination- what kind of store are you running? How much does everything cost?
  • Farm: chicken pen and coop. Help to take care of the chickens by feeding them scraps leftover from our snack
  • Salon: scissors, cardboard tubes with “hair” pre-cut. Identify how each tube person feels and cut their hair according to their needs. IMG_20180710_095635.jpg
  • Cafe: toy plates, bowls, pitcher, cups, pots and pans. Practice cooking skills and take orders- what is it like to be a CHEF? 
  • Fire station: firefighter costume, fire truck ride on toy. Quick! To the rescue! 
  • Construction Zone: mud pit and trucks. What will you build to help the community?

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We took a break for snack- graham cracker, strawberry, raisin and peanut butter fire trucks- devoured by all Rascals who then asked for seconds!


Today was super messy kitchen process art, which very quickly devolved into a sensory art project involving bare feet. The messier, the better! Unrolled butcher paper, some squirts of washable tempera paint (pink was a big favorite today!) and all the kitchen tools I could find were the only supplies needed. Whisks, various sized spatulas, potato mashers and marinade brushes made for some great painting tools and we had a great time. We talked about mixing colors with our toes, slipped around some and then sang some made-up songs about how messy and fun this was.


After rinsing off toes and hands, changing into swimsuits and slathering on some sunscreen, we blew up the pool and took a dip. At this point the morning was coming to a close, so the kids were rotating between the pool and their favorite stations- mailing some last-minute postcards and picking up some items from the store before heading home for the day. What an awesome morning!




Objectives and Concepts Covered:

  • Math: sorting, counting, early money concepts, addition, subtraction, shape identification
  • Language Learning: letter identification, letter sounds, pre-writing practice, grip strength, proper grip, left-to-right orientation, community words (fire, truck, library, farm, police, chef), vocabulary word of the day: Chef
  • Social Studies: community members, diversity concepts, team work, basic geography, identifying feelings and facial expressions
  • Motor Skills: body awareness, motor planning, balance, proprioception, scissor skills, fine motor skills (pinching, writing)
  • Imaginary play! We did lots of pretending, allowing kids to explore their worlds and what it might feel like to pretend to be someone else- building confidence and empathy in the process.

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