6 Fun Activities For Teaching About Citizenship

Do you have a citizenship unit that you use in your classroom? This essential social studies topic is so very important to cover in first grade! First-grade students are beginning to understand how they can contribute to their community and teaching good citizenship is a great way to help guide them toward productive behaviors. In my classroom, I have a few go-to activities to teach this topic! Come along as I share my 6 favorite activities for teaching about citizenship! 

These fun activities have everything you need to teach your students about citizenship

1. Help Students Understand Citizenship with Books

Being a good citizen is such an important concept to teach in the early years of education. Helping students grasp this concept is key to maintaining a healthy classroom community and guiding students to make smart choices. The more time we spend on this, the more I tend to see positive behaviors in action in my classroom. 

I like to spend a fair bit of time discussing this topic before we dive into my favorite learning activities. To set the stage, I love to use some fun picture books that describe what good citizenship looks like. Some of my favorites include:

Jump into your citizenship unit with these incredible books your students will love.

These books all present great opportunities to discuss character traits and choices. I like to talk to students about positive behaviors and negative ones to open the discussion about which choices would be examples of good citizenship. After I read these books aloud, I typically make them available for children to flip through in the classroom library. 

2. Mini Readers for Teaching About Citizenship

After we have spent some time reading books that illustrate positive (and negative) choices, I like to spend some time working with the kiddos on identifying these behaviors more in-depth. To do this, I love to use mini-readers that teach specific topics. The booklets we use include topics like good citizenship, rules and laws, and leaders.

Introduce your students to the aspects of good citizenship and bad citizenship with these easy to assemble mini readers.

I like to focus on one booklet at a time. We read through the book as a class, then make an anchor chart expanding on the ideas within the book. For citizenship, this typically means listing out the characteristics of good citizenship. I like to break these down into more specific categories like school, home, and community to help students identify examples for each. 

3. Citizenship Sorting Activities

Next up, I love to use sorting activities that help students try their hand at identifying examples of good citizenship, as well as "needs work" behaviors. To do this, I use a set of sorting cards and a pocket chart. I like to model this first during whole group or small group lessons and then let kids split into pairs and work together. 

Use sorting activities like these to help visually demonstrate the difference between good citizenship and poor citizenship in an easy to understand way.

To extend this activity, I like to have children make a list for each category and write down the words on each card in a journal or on a piece of paper. I also have a black-and-white version of the cards that can be sorted, colored, and glued down on a large piece of construction paper as an alternative activity. 

4. Digging Depper into Citizenship 

After my students have gotten an introduction to these concepts, we dig a little deeper into the smaller topics of good citizenship.  I use a variety of worksheets to help us dive deeper and really focus on the smaller topics in our unit. The worksheets focus on good citizenship, leaders, as well as rules and laws. Depending on the topic, I assign some of these as independent work and use others during small groups. 

The worksheets use a variety of activities to target these concepts:

  • sorting positive and negative behaviors
  • identifying good citizenship in different areas (school, home, community)
  • sorting common rules and laws by areas (school, home, community)
  • rules and laws creative writing prompt 
  • labeling leaders in the community
  • identifying leaders in our lives
  • listing ways we can be leaders
  • leadership creative writing prompt 
Worksheets like these are great for independent work and practice you can use to check your student's understanding.

Using worksheets makes it quick and easy to review vocabulary, practice new concepts, and check in on student understanding of these topics.  It also provides students with opportunities to respond to what they are learning through writing.  While they are not the "meat" of our lessons they do help students dig in a little more.

5. Citizenship Crowns, Mini Books & Recognition Tags

As we work on these citizenship activities, I hand out recognition tags to students each time I "catch" them displaying behaviors of good citizenship. This is a fun way to acknowledge those positive behaviors and connect them back to what we have been learning.

Next up, we work on making mini books that list ways students can be good citizens. I like to complete the mini book of good citizenship during small groups to help students brainstorm ways they can be good citizens. This is a good time to reflect on the recognition tags they received and come up with new ideas for being a good citizen. Students will write down ideas in their booklet and then color the cover and pictures in the mini-book. 

Adding a craftivity like this citizenship crown to your citizenship unit is a great way for your kiddos to show off their learning.

After we complete these, we make crowns. This fun activity is a great way to congratulate kiddos for working hard on these citizenship activities. The crowns read "I am a Good Citizen". Students will color, cut, and assemble their crowns by stapling the pieces together.

If you're looking for a fun bulletin board display for the hallway, take a photo of each child in their crown and order prints. Whether you use a local store or an online photo service like Snapfish, you can get photos printed and delivered for just a few cents each! I like to display the mini booklet from our activities along with the picture of each kiddo in their crown. These are fun for parents to read and make a great addition to memory books at the end of the year so be sure to save them when you take the display down! 

6. Citizenship Craft Activity 

Finally, I like to use 2-sided citizenship mobiles to wrap up these activities in a fun way! To make, students will each get a set of paper tags that say "at school", "at home", and "in my community". One side of these tags shows a picture of each, while the other side is lined. Students will write down a way they can be a good citizen for each area on the lined side.

Not only are these citizenship mobiles perfect for students to show off their learning, but they are also great for classroom decor!

Then they will color and cut out all the pieces as well as the mobile topper, which reads "I can be a good citizen". To assemble, children will hole punch each tag and the topper. Then use yarn to connect the pieces and make a mobile. These are SO fun displayed in the classroom and really help remind students we have opportunities to be good citizens all day long! 

Try These Activities to Teach About Citizenship

I hope you enjoyed reading about these activities for teaching citizenship. I love to use this variety and sequence of activities to teach this topic. I find that giving students this information empowers them to make positive choices and be good citizens in class. 

If you'd like to check out any of these activities more in-depth, you can take a peek at my Citizenship Social Studies Unit. Included you'll find all of these fun activities so you can easily teach your students all about being good citizens, rules and laws, and leaders in our lives!

This citizenship unit set has everything you need to jumpstart your student's understanding of citizenship in fun and engaging ways they will love.

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Don't forget to pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you'll have these ideas at your fingertips! 

Teaching your students about citizenship doesn't have to be boring or overwhelming. Using these fun activities for teaching citizenship will keep your kiddos engaged and having fun while learning about how to be a good citizen. From mini books to a craftivity to worksheets, your students will be excited to learn about and show what they know about citizenship. #thechocolateteacher #citizenshipactivitiesforkids #teachingaboutcitizenship

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