Introducing young children to police officers – with a preschool police theme – can be complicated but rewarding. While many children will see police officers as friendly and helpful, other children may be scared or have negative ideas about the police. Start by showing children pictures of police officers and police cars and asking children questions about what they know.
Make sure the children know that police officers serve and protect people. Tell them that they can ask a police officer for help if they are in trouble. Explain that police officers try to stop bad people from doing bad things, such as hurting others and stealing items. Tell them that the police officer puts the person into his car, takes him to the police station and then tries to figure out if he is responsible for the crime. (partial excerpt from How to Explain a Policeman’s Job to a Kindergarten Child)
So, here are some simple ideas to incorporate in a preschool police theme:
Invite a local police officer to speak with children.
Contact your local police department and invite a police officer (and possible a police K-9 officer) to visit and talk to the children about what he does. Prepare the children ahead of time by coming up with questions that they can ask. (Examples: What does a police officer do? What is the favorite part of your job? What are the different parts of your uniform?)
Police officer songs and fingerplays
(sung to: I’m A Little Teapot)
I’m a police officer
Dressed in blue.
If you have a problem,
I’ll help you.
Call me on the phone
And I’ll be coming
On the run!
Five police officers standing by a door –
One became a traffic cop; then there were four.
Four police officers watching over me –
one took home a lost boy, and then there were three.
Three police officers dressed all in blue –
One stopped a speeding car, and then there were two.
Two police officers – how fast they run!
One caught a bad man, and then there was one.
One police officer saw smoke faraway.
He called the firehouse, and the firemen saved the day.
Have children make fingerprints (use our free fingerprint card printable) and use magnifying glasses to look at them closer. Explain that everyone’s fingerprints are unique, so one one else in the whole word has fingerprints like we do! Talk about how police officers use fingerprinting to catch the ‘bad guys’. For more fun, use colored fingerprint pads and have children create fingerprint patterns.
Police officer dramatic play
Set up a dramatic play area with police officer dress up clothes, hats, badges, small notepads and pens, two-way radios, etc:
Police officer video
Show this short, informational video about what police officers do:
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