Building Brickies Bulletin

March 2022 - Volume 3 - Social Studies Foundations

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Mighty Moments from then Indiana Department of Education

The Indiana Department of Education is dedicated to informing and educating families about their child's education, including Indiana’s youngest learners. We recognize that families are a child's first and most important teacher, so please join us in sharing a series called Mighty Moments. These Mighty Moments are suggestions that families can do at home to help support their child's development during daily routines. In each of these videos, we will offer suggestions for easy to implement activities for each one of the eight foundational content areas.

This month, Building Brickies is focusing on Social Studies.

Mighty Moments - Foundations of Government
Mighty Moments - Society and the Environment

Social Studies

Social studies for infants and toddlers helps young children learn through their senses and experiences about physical location (body awareness), physical time, social emotional competence, and personal responsibility. For young children, social studies is a combination of curriculum and instruction that takes into account self-development, appropriate practices, citizenship, democratic principles, and key understandings of the social sciences: history, geography, government, and economics. These concepts are built around the child’s personal experiences and understanding of the relationship between self and others.

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  • Respond to celebrations and other cultural events if observed
  • Engage in onlooker play
  • Begin to separate self from others
  • Show affection and bonds with familiar adults
  • Demonstrate comfort in familiar routines, objects, and materials
  • Respond to adult guidance about behavior
  • Begin to discover use of body and objects in the environment
  • Explore the immediate environment
  • Demonstrate preference for specific objects and people
  • Interact with the environment to make needs known

Parent - Infant Activity


  • Talk to, smile at, or cuddle with the infant and give time to respond back.
  • Promptly acknowledge a crying infant with words and a gentle touch.
  • Follow the infant’s lead and respond immediately and consistently to cries and cues. (For example: follow cues for hunger and understand how much he/she eats, sleeps and plays).
  • Provide opportunities for interactions either near or participating with other children. (For example: play simple games like rolling a ball back and forth or play with similar toys beside each other).

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Younger Toddlers
  • Participate in celebrations and other cultural events if observed
  • Begin to notice differences in others
  • Use simple words to show recognition of family members and familiar adults
  • Adapt to changes in routine and/or schedule
  • Anticipate events
  • Respond to stories about time and age
  • Begin to respond to simple location terms
  • Use a variety of materials to represent familiar objects
  • Recognize parts of surroundings
  • Show interest in various aspects of the environment

Older Toddlers

  • Participate in and imitate celebrations and other cultural events for family, peers, and community if observed
  • Begin to gesture and ask simple questions regarding differences and/or similarities between self and others
  • Begin to recall information from recent experiences
  • Begin to demonstrate an understanding of rules
  • Begin to use simple location terms
  • Experiment with materials to represent objects in play
  • Describe the characteristics of home and surroundings
  • Know the location of objects and places in familiar environments
  • Recognize various familiar workers in the community
  • Begin to role play different jobs

Parent-Toddler Activities


  • Mark important dates like birthdays, holidays, and family movie night on the calendar


  • Find books about other cultures at the library and read them to your child. Emphasize an appreciation of other countries’ traditions, dress, crafts, music, and beliefs.
  • Involve your tiny food critic in international cooking. Let her help you put the finishing touches on a variety of foods from other countries. From tacos to tikka masala, there are plenty of dishes that are simple, delicious, and fun to make.


  • Take your little explorer on a field trip to a farm or orchard, farmers market, and grocery store. Discuss how food gets from the farm to the table.
  • Set up a play area in your home where your budding entrepreneur can play “store.” Use actual food items, grocery bags, and either play money or – if you’re willing to part with a few dollars – the real thing. (Be careful with small items like coins that could be ingested by younger children.)


  • Talk about why we have rules and responsibilities for everyday things like games, bedtime, and driving. For example, rules keep us safe and happy, and they help us show kindness and respect for others. Let her know that adults have rules, too, and some of those rules are called “laws.”
  • Help your child to make a set of road signs (stop, R/R, pedestrian crosswalk, speed limit, etc.) out of card stock, markers, craft sticks, and glue. You can make your signs stand up on their own by pushing them into small blocks of Styrofoam or through holes in inverted paper cups.


  • Talk about the “helpers” in your community (firefighters, police, teachers, doctors, etc.). Organize a field trip to a helping organization.
  • Encourage future model citizens to express their feelings by being a positive model yourself. Use “I messages” (“I feel ___ when you ___”) instead of just blowing up. For example: “Honey, I felt sad when you put our new red towels in the washing machine with my white dress.”


  • Borrow and read books about far-away islands, continents, and oceans.
  • Buy an inflatable globe and explain the difference between land masses and oceans. Then play catch with it. When your kiddo catches it, have him notice where his fingers have landed – on land or on an ocean? Watch out for sharks!

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Younger Preschool
  • Participate in and describe own family, community, and cultural celebrations if observed
  • Begin to assimilate family, community, and cultural events in cooperative play
  • Identify leaders and helpers in the home or classroom environment
  • Recognize familiar aspects of community or cultural symbols
  • Identify location, directionality, and spatial relationships
  • Begin to create simple representations of a familiar physical environment
  • Begin to learn knowledge of personal and geographic information
  • Assist adults with daily routines and responsibilities
  • Choose simple daily tasks from a list of classroom jobs
  • Begin to initiate helping tasks

Older Preschool

  • Participate in and describe local, state, and national events and celebrations if observed Identify/honor key people in history
  • Build awareness, respect, and acceptance for differences in people and acknowledge connections
  • Identify leaders and community helpers at home, school, and in environments
  • Identify symbolic objects and pictures of local, state, and/or national symbols
  • Develop concepts and describe location, directionality, and spatial relationships
  • Engage in play where one item represents another
  • Use words to describe natural and manmade features of locations
  • Begin to describe the reciprocal relationship between humans and the environment
  • Describe community helpers/workers in terms of tools/equipment they use and services/products they provide
  • Demonstrate willingness to work together to accomplish tasks Identify simple tasks within the home, early childhood setting, or community

Parent-Child Activities

People and How They Live

  • Who are the people in your family? What do they do?
    Collect family photos in a small photo album; discuss each person’s name, where they live, and what they do. Share personal memories. “This is your Tía Yolanda. She lives near your grandmother in Michigan. She’s a dentist. She also builds birdhouses and has pet rabbits!”
  • What are the jobs of people in our community?
    As you travel, point out community workers. Ask children to notice special clothes or equipment in addition to the tasks performed: “Look at that man in the basket way up high. That basket is called a ‘cherry picker.’ He’s working on the roof of the auditorium. Can you see his bright green vest? Those help us see him when he’s way up high. You’re right! His hardhat is also bright green. That helps us see him and keeps his head protected.”

People and the Environment
  • How can we respect and care for our world?
    Explain where to dispose of trash and point out recycling bins when they are available. Offer children the opportunity to reuse materials. As you travel, point out areas where the environment is respected and cared for. “When we finish drinking our water, we can reuse the bottle and fill it up at a water fountain. That way we don’t have to throw away the bottle. How can we reuse that plastic baggie from your lunch? Yes! If we wash it, we can put your cars in it to keep them safe.”

People and the Past

  • How do we talk about time? How do we talk about the past, present, and future (e.g., use terms like “this morning,” “after lunch,” and “tomorrow”)?
    At the beginning of each day, explain what children can expect, and intentionally use terms to refer to the past, present, and future during discussions and stories: “This morning, we are driving to a lake. First, we will put on life vests and take a ride in a canoe. Then we’ll have hotdogs for lunch. After lunch, your cousin wants to teach you how to fish, so you will need to listen to her instructions carefully. When the sun starts to go down, we will go back to Aunt Lisa’s house to sleep.”

Spaces and Geography

  • How do people move from one place to another?
    As you travel, point out the various ways that people move. Discuss how they are similar (cars, buses) and how they are different (trains, planes). “Oh, the buses here are painted blue and white. Ours are red and white. Have you ever seen a train in the middle of the city? Look at all the people inside!”
  • What is a map, and how can it help us?
    Use road maps or electronic map devices to track your trip; point out upcoming landmarks or towns. “Let’s see, we’re on this highway right here. We are going in this direction. What is coming up on the map? Yes, that blue line! That tells us there is a river coming up. Let’s look out the window to see if we can spot the river.”

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Me On The Map - Read Alond

School City of Hobart Building Brickies

Building Brickies strengthens families by empowering parents as their child’s first and best teacher. Every day, we advocate for families so every child-in every Hobart neighborhood- can thrive