Maybe it's the snazzy blue uniform, the shiny gold badge or the flashing red lights on police cars, but there's definitely something that keeps so many youngsters fascinated with police officers. In fact, you can use your kiddo's fascination to keep his attention while you use your arsenal of activities to help broaden his knowledge of a police officer's role in the community.
1. Friendly Police Officer Crafts
You want your youngster to know he can turn to a police officer in times of trouble, so make sure he sees them as nice and friendly with some simple police officer crafts. Use craft time to create some friendly looking police officers from felt, paper bags or even some toilet paper rolls. Cut out the body shape for a felt police officer and then cut out the individual uniform pieces for him to glue in place. Now your preschooler's learning to recognize a police officer by his clothing. Make one from a toilet paper roll as well by covering the roll with blue construction paper and then getting your kiddo to glue on a face and police officer's hat, arms and legs. Create some paper bag police officer puppets for a simple craft now and to use in puppet play later.
2. Preschool Detectives
Let your youngster get excited about the prospect of a career in police work with some preschool-age detective work that’ll make her feel like a little Sherlock Holmes. Help her make her own detective kit from a big shoe box. Cover it with some plain construction paper and let her decorate the box with detective-themed pictures. When it comes time to filling her detective's kit, add some top secret envelopes, cotton swabs for evidence collecting, plastic magnifying glasses, index cards and stamp pads for fingerprinting her suspects, a kid-friendly flashlight, sealable plastic bags for her evidence and a little journal or notebook to scribble her detective notes. Now plan a little treasure hunt and help her search for clues to find the treasure.
3. Finger Paint Fingerprinting
Teach your youngster a little bit about police work and about just how distinctive he is with some messy fingerprinting. Start with a plain piece of painting paper and a few shallow bowls of finger paint. Help him dip his finger in one of the paints and then press firmly on the paper to make his first print. Repeat to make a picture of each of his finger's prints. You can talk about how police use fingerprints to help solve crimes. Explain that fingerprints can be used in crime solving because every person has little designs on their fingertips and no two person's little designs are the same. He'll think that's really neat and probably want you to get your fingers messy so he can compare your fingerprints. Just wash up and put his picture on display before he starts fingerprint painting the walls.
4. Lieutenant Kiddo Badge
Just about all kids are drawn to those shiny badges, so chances are your youngster would love to make one of his own. Help your kiddo make his first police officer badge and now he can feel like an important member of the community who is there to help people and do good things. You can cut the badge shape out from a piece of cardboard or poster board but then go that extra mile and make it nice and shiny with some metallic gold spray paint. If he's learning how to write letters, help him to print his name across the front of the badge. You can attach the badge to his shirt with a safety pin, but wrap the end of the pin with thick floral tape once you've slide it onto his shirt to cover up the sharp end.
- The Everything Kids' Grow Up to Be a Police Officer Book; Lee Lofland et al.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images