Most kids are egocentric. Rather than having them just think about themselves, you can teach them community and social responsibility through a variety of activities and strategies. Dive in to building a better community right now.
Early Elementary: Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Small kids have a hard time seeing beyond their wants and needs. Working together is a hard concept for them to understand. Therefore, they need to see it to believe it. Teach them community responsibility by first teaching them how important it is to work together and build character. Most of all, they need to understand that even when they complete their own task, they should help their friends.
Seek and Find
For this activity, you are going to need:
- 10-20 items (stickers, pencils, small toys, etc.) that are hidden.
- Laminated cards with each different item.
Once you have the supplies, playing this activity is pretty simple, just follow these directions.
- Select one kid and give them three items to find.
- Time how long it takes them.
- Give a group of three kids three items to find. Tell them to work together to find all the items.
- Time how long it takes them. It should be shorter.
- Use larger groups having them find three items, time them.
- Once all the items are found, show the kids how when they worked together that it was easier to find the items.
What the Activity Teaches
Use this to point out how the more a community works together the faster things can happen just like in the game. The visual of the shorter time on the stop watch to find the objects with more people can illustrate that the more we work together the more change can happen.
Elementary: 1st to 3rd Graders
Elementary school children are beginning to understand the importance of taking responsibility and teamwork. Now, you need to show them how they can help others. Many children might think that they can't do anything themselves because they are too small, but these activities can show them ways that they can help out their community. It will also make them conscious of the different people within a community that might be in need.
Create a Park
Tell your students that they are going to create a park to help out the needy in their community. Not only will this park be for homeless, but kids with no money, disabled kids, veterans, elderly, etc. How would they create the park so that it can benefit all these people?
- Split the kids into groups of 3-5 and give them a poster board and markers.
- Allow them to work together to create a design for their park.
- When completed, ask them about the different components of their park and how it can help.
This will get kids thinking about ways they can help the community and the different people in the community that might need help. It works because they have to take the time to think critically about all the different people and their needs.
For this activity, you're going to need construction paper and markers.
- Kids are going to use the construction paper and markers to create a card for someone in their community. Maybe it is the cashier at the grocery store or the mayor.
- They should design the card for that person and tell them why they are important to the community and how much they appreciate them.
This activity gets kids thinking about everyone in the community and why each person is important. It also helps them to discover how each person helps the community as a whole. If possible, the kids should give their cards to the person they created them for.
Late Elementary and Middle School: Grades 4 to 8
By this age, many kids have a clear understanding of what their community is. They might also know some of the different problems that are happening in their community. So, you want to focus on actions that kids can do to make a change or better their community. Therefore, they need to understand the democratic process and why participation is important to make a difference
The Difference a Day Makes
Prior to starting this activity, you need to discuss the different aspects of a powerful role in your community. It might be the major or town leader. Discuss what that person does, what they must consider, how they can change the community, etc. After kids have a clear understanding, you'll want to:
- Have students imagine that they were the leader for a day.
- Kids need to think about the rules and guidelines they must follow, the different people in the community, etc.
- Now they should write down the changes they would make and why those changes would help the community. They might even think of different programs they would enact and why.
- They should also rate the changes they would make by importance. What is the biggest problem?
- Have students present the changes they would make and why.
Why the Strategy Works
This strategy helps kids to think about their community, what might be wrong, and ways that they might be able to fix it. They will also see how an individual person can make changes for the better of a whole people.
Building a Better Community
We are all responsible to make our lives and community better. Kids need to learn to build humility and responsibility for their neighbors. Use these strategies to show kids of all ages that it only takes one person to raise an army to make a change.