Summer is a great time for kids and adults alike to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather! But along with warm weather comes the inevitable increase in traffic and construction. Kids who love to explore need to know how to be safe in all situations. Do your children know how to be safe outdoors? Do they know of potential dangers and what things to look out for? Here are 4 activities that you can do with your children to help them be more aware of their outdoor surroundings so they can have a happy and safe summer.
1. Traffic Signs Roadmap
Help your child design and create his own neighborhood using crayons, a roll of paper, and wooden vehicles and traffic signs. Try to incorporate situations and places to involve all of the traffic signs, in addition to creating buildings and parking lots to house all of the vehicles (a hospital for the ambulance, a police station for the police car, etc). With an entire roll of paper, you will not need to worry about running out of space – just keep unrolling to create an entire city! In this activity, having your child create his own city will not only encourage him to develop his artistic skills and imagination, but in terms of traffic safety it will help him become more aware of the traffic signs in his own neighborhood – an important part of being able to play outdoors safely in the coming summer months.
After playing this activity, test your child’s knowledge of traffic signs using this printable worksheet.
2. Bicycle Safety: Draw a Bicycle Chalk Road & Create an Activity Cone Obstacle Course
Since May is Bicycle Safety Month, it is the perfect opportunity to teach your child to safely ride his bicycle. Teach him bicycle safety tips, such as, always wear a helmet, watch for parked cars, ride with a buddy, etc. Then get to work creating a sidewalk bicycle course on your own driveway! All you need is chalk to make this entertaining and educational activity. Draw a simple grid pattern (like a square with a + sign in the middle) and color in the lines to resemble roads. Include stop signs at each intersection. Have your child practice riding his bicycle in a straight line. When he reaches an intersection, have him use the appropriate bicycle hand signal to indicate which direction he is turning, or if he is going straight. Teach him the importance of using hand signals, especially around traffic – it helps drivers to know which way he is turning and can help avoid potential accidents.
Watch out for road hazards! Another important aspect of being able to ride a bicycle safely is to be able to maneuver around such things as bumps in the road or broken glass. Using Activity Cones, set up an obstacle course for your child to ride through on his bicycle. Bonus: the colorful and textured cones can be used to create a patterned course!
3. Stop & Go Game
Print out these Stop and Go signs onto card stock, tape them onto wooden rulers and you will have an amusing game to keep your children entertained and have them learning to listen to instructions. He will be practicing his gross motor skills, whether he realizes it or not. And this activity will be especially helpful when he is outside on walks and someone yells out “Stop!” to help him avoid danger – he will know exactly what to do, since he’s done it so many times playing this game. To make this game even more enjoyable, use a Police Officer Role Play Costume to encourage role play and imagination, and also to reinforce the responsibilities of police officers who help keep our communities safe.
4. Different Places, Different Hazards
Summertime can take us many different places – to the beach, traveling on several types of transportation (airplanes, trains, etc), taking a walk outside to watch the machines at a construction site…. There are so many interesting places to go and so many things to learn. But each situation has it’s own set of hazards and thereby it’s own set of safety rules. Using the Vehicles Reusable Sticker Pad, we went through each scenario of each situation. What are the rules if you’re going to be near or around a construction site? What are the rules for being safe on an airplane? If you’re traveling by train, in what ways can we be safe there? What are standard safety practices when we are in or around water? What are the rules for walking safely across the street in your own neighborhood, or otherwise being around cars? While their are some universal rules, feel free to come up with your own family rules, too. This activity is especially useful if you are going to be traveling to some of these places this summer, and can help prepare your children for possible dangers.
Have a happy and safe summer!
Katie Heap is the author of Live Craft Eat–a place where she writes about her 3 loves: raising her family, her crafting endeavors, and learning to cook. You can subscribe to her blog or follow Live Craft Eat on Pinterest and Facebook.