• Camera and film
  • A variety of old phones and pictures of phones from magazines and catalogs
  • Chart paper and oaktag
  • Markers, crayons, and pencils
  • Bookmaking materials, including glue sticks, hole punch, and small binder rings or yarn

Developing Skills

  • Social awareness
  • Language and literacy
  • Math concepts

In Advance

Send a note home requesting donations of old phones, or contact a phone company or local cell-phone store to see if they can donate old or broken phones. 


  1. On the top of a sheet of chart paper, write What do we know about phones? Invite children to share what they already know about telephones and record their responses.
  2. Set out a variety of old phones for the children to investigate. Place one or two in the science area so they can take them apart and explore the insides. Put one or two others in the pretend area to incorporate "real phones" into dramatic play. Encourage the group to notice the different sizes and shapes of the phones.
  3. During drop-off or pickup time, ask parents with cell phones if they would allow the class to photograph, weigh, and measure them. Take pictures of the different types of telephones around the school as well and record information about those.
  4. Now invite children to work together to make a book about phones. Glue the telephone photographs onto individual sheets of oaktag. Ask several children to dictate information about them and others to cut out pictures of phones from magazines or catalogs and glue them onto the paper with their own dictated information. Create a title page and cover, then bind the pages together to make an official classroom phone book.

Remember: Young children need to touch and see objects in order to learn about them. It may be helpful for them to hold and look at a phone when you are discussing what they already know about them.


Take-Home Activity

911 for Emergencies
Send a note home to families encouraging them to teach their child how to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. They should explain that 911 is used when an adult is hurt or sick and cannot get to the phone or when a child has an emergency and an adult is not present.

Curriculum Connection

Science: Cup Phones
Work with the class to make several cup phones by poking a small hole in the bottoms of plastic or Styrofoam cups and connecting them in pairs with long pieces of plastic tubing. Give the phones to the children to use indoors and out.

Related Books

  • Martha Calling by Susan Meddaugh
  • My First Phone Call by Julia Allen 
  • Telephones by Joanne Mattern 
  • Toni's Topsy-Turvy Telephone Day by Laura Ljungkvist