Tools of the Trade

Art and Social Studies Activity

In this activity, children create and then play a game similar to "Memory," which encourages them to recall what they have learned about different occupations and the related tools.



  1. In preparation for making their game cards, brainstorm with the class several occupations. To stimulate children's thinking, mention different businesses or locations in the community and ask what workers they've observed there. For example, children may have seen cashiers at a store, carpenters at a construction site, or firefighters at the fire station.

  2. Ask children to name at least one tool related to each occupation. For example, a cashier's tool might be a cash register, a carpenter's a hammer, and a firefighter's a ladder.

  3. Divide the class into small groups or pairs, explaining that each group will brainstorm a list and research as least 10 occupations and one tool for each.

  4. Ask group members to make a pair of cards for each occupation on their list by doing the following:

    Stress that the card pairs should look as much alike as possible. That is, if children put a hammer on a card labeled "carpenter," the other carpenter card should have the same word and picture.

  5. Distribute and discuss the rules for playing the game "Memory."


After a team has played the game a few times, it can swap its set of cards with another team. For an added memory challenge, combine two sets of cards and encourage small groups to play the game with 20 cards.

Use the cards to initiate a discussion about what different products and services these workers provide. Ask children to state what each worker does to help the community. For example, "A carpenter is a builder of new things." or "A carpenter fixes something broken." Write the ideas on the board or on a large piece of paper in the form of a poem.

Have children look through magazines and newspapers for pictures of workers (especially those they have researched). Create a bulletin board of workers and their tools.

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