Social Studies for kindergarten usually focuses on local communities with the goal of teaching kids about being good citizens. While we definitely learned a lot about the world last year, I didn’t want to skip over any basics.
I think homeschooled kids learn a ton about their community because they spend so much time in it. My kids tag along with my errands to the store and bank and doctor’s appointments. They see me do our taxes and pay bills. It’s all part of normal life and they absorb it quite easily. I know they don’t need direct instruction about their community, but I wanted to do something more than just talk about it.
The natural choice was a LEGO town! If you don’t have gobs of LEGO, you could of course use any other building supplies you have on hand. We started by brainstorming the places that a small town’s Main Street. would need. I let my son come up with his own ideas. He suggested a restaurant/store, doctor office and emergency services. And yes, the emergency services has a bow and arrow–just in case of any archery-related situations. We talked about what the people might need and how the town would accommodate those needs. He also included a library, town hall, and park. I was about to mention school. But then I realized, no, they might not need a school.
He had the idea of adding some solar panels to the town hall so they could be more energy efficient. We also left plenty of sidewalk space for pedestrians.
We built this project last February while we were visiting family in Houston. We had recently driven through several small Texas towns on our way to and from Austin. We made lots of observations about the towns, which usually have a small Main St. surrounded by homes and farms. As we drove, we discussed how people who live in those communities would use the town’s bank, library, firehouse, and other services. They might also have to go to a larger town or city for other needs. It was interesting to talk about this with the kids since they have always lived in medium or large cities where everything is at their fingertips.
This wasn’t the most elaborate project we’ve done and there was a lot we could have added. But it started a lot of great conversation and it’s a topic we have returned to many more times in our LEGO building.