Fire prevention and safety are important topics to cover. The sad fact is that home fires are all too common and result in the deaths of nearly 500 children per year. Many of these fatalities could have been prevented with adequate education and preparation. Helping kids understand how to prevent fires and what to do if there is a fire could be a lifesaving lesson. Fortunately, there are lots of excellent tools to make learning about fire safety a fun experience for students of all ages.
Studies have shown repeatedly that people learn better through role-playing than through role memorization. This is especially true of younger elementary-aged kids. You can use fun props, such as this irresistible play fire engine and firefighter costumes, and allow kids to take turns being firefighters. Guide the activity by helping kids act out tactics like stop, drop, and roll; crawling under smoke; and checking to see if a doorknob is hot before opening the door. You could even set up a large cardboard box to serve as a “burning building,” or create a mini obstacle course in the classroom.
Reach Every Type of Learner
Craft a fire safety lesson that will appeal to different types of learners. Start with a book to introduce the topic, like Stop, Drop, and Roll or Berenstain Bears: Safe and Sound. Follow the story with a discussion about fire prevention, like not playing with matches and telling a grownup about dangerous situations, as well as fire safety tips, like having a family-wide emergency plan. Break into groups to rotate through centers, where kids can do hands-on activities like this fire truck floor puzzle or toy vehicles. This type of lesson can easily be adapted to work for upper elementary and middle school students; just sub in age-appropriate props and manipulatives.
This works for any age group, but it’s a particularly great way to engage older kids. Follow up a lesson on fire safety with a fire-themed art project. Have kids paint or draw based on a theme, such as the consequences of forest fires, or get a little more abstract with a tissue paper collage layered to look like flame. The fire safety organization FireWise offers several other ideas for fiery art.
Fire Safety in the Computer Lab
The internet is full of fantastic fire prevention and safety resources for all age levels. Check out Sparky and Fire Safe Kids for puzzles, games, printables, and interactive lessons geared toward elementary kids. Help Keep Kids Safe has sections by age group, including pre-teens and teens, and covers a variety of safety topics.