Last year, I was approached by my daughter's preschool teacher to come in and talk about my career as part of their "Neighborhood's Week." I decided to turn the visit into an activity for the APA Ambassador Program.
Although the focus has been on K-12 education, I thought how fun it would be to be creative and share the idea of city planning with even younger children. I had no idea what to expect from such young children (2–5 years old) and started searching online for ideas for activities.
I stumbled across a blog from a mother who kept her sick son home for the day and decided to do some art. She simply used envelopes to make houses, as "they are just the perfect shapes!" In the end, they ended up with a fun imaginative city.
I bought some envelopes and created little goody bags with crayons, candy, and playdough. I was introduced as Mrs. Meagan Mullen Booth, a planner for Farmington City, Utah, and I talked to the small ones about their neighborhoods and what was their favorite place in the neighborhoods, how sidewalks keep us safe, and how nice parks are as an amenity.
The finished envelope city. Photo courtesy the author.
Then I handed out the envelopes and had the children draw their home or favorite place. It was so adorable to watch them draw and show each other their drawings! The activity was going so well and I couldn't have been happier.
One of the girls drew her neighborhood park, a two-year-old drew a rainbow. I loved seeing memories of their community just flowing out on paper. After the students were finished with their drawings, the teacher and I collected the drawings and assembled them into a beautiful collage. We then invited the kiddos back in to see the neighborhood they created.
They oohed and aahed and pointed to their and others' drawings. They could really see what makes a city a community. It was a joy!
Top image: Preschoolers created an envelope city, led by planner and APA Ambassador Meagan Mullen Booth. Photo courtesy the author.
About the Author
Meagan Mullen Booth
Meagan Mullen Booth is a planner for Farmington City, Utah, and an APA Ambassador.