The firefighter preschool unit is for any kid who loves learning about firefighters, fire trucks, and the jobs they do! It encompasses the whole child, in that there are activities attributed to letters and numbers, but also to sensory input, art, spatial reasoning, and real world experience.
This firefighter preschool unit is designed for ages two through four. However, the activities can easily be adaptable for older children, as well. I detail how you can do that with each activity.
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Firefighter Preschool Unit Time Table
These firefighter activities can be completed in about one to two weeks. Personally, I use about two weeks to complete these activities. Each day we read about two firefighter books, sing our song, and do one or two activities that are detailed below.
Firefighter Preschool Unit Objectives
- The children will identify what firefighters do.
- The children will identify the purpose of a fire truck.
This is not so much geared towards fire safety, as it is focused more on the firefighters and fire trucks.
Firefighter Preschool Unit Song
Oral recitation, beginning reading skills
Each day, we began with this adorable song, “I’m a Little Firefighter.” It goes to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”
Point to the words as you sing the song, so your child can begin to pick up on the idea of one-to-one correspondence with the words we say and the words we read.
I’m a little firefighter
Dressed in red.
Here is my helmet
Right on my head.
When I see a fire
I get my hose.
And down the street
My engine goes!
Firefighter Preschool Unit Books
For any unit, I begin with what I have at home. I’m lucky enough to still have a lot of my classroom books from teaching kindergarten, first and second grades. I’ll also pull books from the library for units, as well.
Here are some great firefighter books!
Firefighter Preschool Unit Field Trip to the Fire Station
Contact your local fire station and ask to stop by with your child. Most firefighters are happy to show children around the fire trucks!
Have your child make a drawing or card for the firefighters. If you can, bake cookies or prepare another treat for the firefighters.
Explain to your child that the firefighters are always there to keep us safe, and we want to thank them for that. The goal is not only to thank the firefighters, but for your child to develop appreciation and gratefulness towards the firefighters.
Visiting the fire station in real life gives your child context. It provides them with a real world understanding of what firetrucks look like, and what firefighters are like.
They will carry this experience with them as they read about firefighters, play pretend firefighters, and encounter any fire trucks or firefighters in their real life.
Firefighter Preschool Unit Activities
Fire Truck Sensory Bin
Develop imaginative play, explore content ideas, hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning
Tray, black beans, fire truck, garage, signs
Set any necessary boundaries or rules. Allow your child to play and explore with the pieces you added to the sensory bin.
You can swap out the base with something like rice or noodles. Our little fire truck/garage/sign set is from the dollar store, but any little fire trucks or firefighters will do!
Flame Letter Match
Match lowercase letters to their uppercase letter partners, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination
Orange paper, marker, tongs, scissors
Cut out about a dozen flames on orange paper. (They don’t have to look perfect!)
Select a few letters that your child knows both the upper and lower matches. (Such as matching “R” to “r.”)
On each flame, write one of those letters. It’s best to include mostly letters your child knows well, and maybe just one or two that are tricky.
Lay out the letters so your child can see them all. You can put uppercase letters on one side and lowercase letters on the other.
Tell your child that the flames are too hot to touch! They need to use tongs to pick up the letters and lay them on top of their match!
- Match identical letters instead of uppercase/lowercase. (Match “M” to “M.”)
- Match sight words. (Match “see” to “see.”)
- Match identical numbers. (Match “3” to “3.”)
- Match numbers to correlating dots. (Match “4” to a flame with four dots.)
Fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, sensory input, letter identification, beginning writing skills
Sandwich bag, gallon freezer bag, yellow, orange and red paint, letter flashcards
Squirt yellow, then orange, and then red paint in a sandwich bag. Gently ziploc it while squeezing out the air. Put the sandwich bag in the gallon bag. Again, ziploc the large bag, while gently squeezing out the air. (Freezer bags are thicker, and much harder to break! I definitely recommend putting the first bag into a freezer bag to avoid a mess!)
Stack some letter flashcards next to the paint bags. Have your child use their finger to try to write a letter displayed on the flashcard.
- Rather than writing letters, your child can play with lines and designs. This still gets all the benefits listed in the skills, just without the letter identification piece.
- Practice writing numbers rather than letters.
Paint Fire Coats
Fine motor skills, sensory input, hand-eye coordination, imaginative play
Brown paper grocery bag, scissors, red paint, paint brush, smock
Cut a large brown paper bag into a firefighter vest. Begin by cutting down the middle of the wide part of the bag. Cut along the edge of the base. The base can be thrown in the trash. Then, cut arm holes in the narrow side parts of the bag. You can reinforce the edges of the hole with packing tape, if needed.
Bring the bag outside, and have your child paint it red. It’s a lot to paint, and if your child is willing, you can paint some of it. You can model how to paint large sections.
Once it’s dry, your child can wear it and pretend to be a firefighter! They can throw on some rainboots to add to the costume!
Gross motor skills, letter identification, following multi-step directions
Magnetic letters, paper flames, masking tape or painters tape, basket, painted fire coat (optional)
Set up the magnetic letters on your fridge. Tape a few paper flames around the letters. Tape down a “ladder” on the floor in front of the fridge. At the bottom of the ladder, place a small basket.
Say to your child, “Ding! Ding! Ding! Oh no! There’s a fire and the letters need help! I need a firefighter to rescue them!” Explain to your child that you will call out a letter. Your child will “climb” (or crawl) up the ladder to get that ladder, bring it to the basket, and then you can call another letter to rescue. Your child can dress the part, if possible!
- If your child isn’t ready for letters yet, tell your child to pick a letter to rescue. As they bring each letter to the basket, tell your child the name (or sound) of that letter, and have your child repeat it. Repeat with more letters.
- Put just a few letters on the fridge rather than all of them.
- If your child is getting to know letter sounds, say something like “Rescue the letter that makes the /m/ sound!”
Fire Truck Board Game
Counting, understanding basic board game rules, practice turn-taking and cooperation
Dry-erase board and marker (or a plain piece of paper!), small fire truck, paper flame, dice
Draw a game board on a dry-erase board or piece of paper. Park the fire truck at the beginning. Place the flame at the end. The goal is to get the fire truck all the way to the fire, to put it out.
Take turns rolling the dice and moving the fire truck the correct number of spots. There’s not necessarily a winner. This game requires working together to get the truck to the fire, just like firefighters do.
Create a board with more spaces for a longer game, with more counting practice.
Firefighter Preschool Unit Supplemental Manipulatives
If I had an endless budget (and storage!) I would include all the pieces below. I believe that children don’t need a lot to learn a lot.
However, the puzzles, toys and more that you will find below will certainly engage your children in more imaginative firefighter play. And that is certainly a good thing!
Shop now for firefighting fun or save this for the next birthday or Christmas! These are sure to be winners with firefighting-loving kids!
This firefighter preschool unit encapsulates the whole child through real world experience, sensory experiences, imaginative play, letter and number practice, along with developing other skills.
I would love to hear what activities your child loves in the comments below!