We continue our summer safety series with 3 ways to use Activity Cones to teach kids to STOP and be aware of their surroundings. Plus, get 4 tips for using Activity Cones to teach “Summer Fun” skills & games!
Everybody loves CONES in the summer. But these cones aren’t the ones delivered BY your neighborhood ice-cream truck — They’re the ones that keep little ones safe FROM the ice-cream truck.
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USING ACTIVITY CONES TO TEACH SAFETY LESSONS
1. Create a “Do Not Cross” Line in Your Driveway
It just isn’t summer till your child has decorated your driveway with chalk. Help children understand how to play safely in the driveway by using cones to set up a “Do Not Cross” line at the end of your driveway. You can even draw a big stop sign after the cones to remind them to STOP and not run out into the street to chase a rolling ball, a drifting Frisbee, or a runaway piece of chalk.
In 7 Sidewalk Games for Kids, Guest Blogger Julie Kieras suggests that having children make the line or draw the stop sign themselves might help them remember why it’s there. She also discusses several games you can play using Activity Cones, like Cone Maze, Cone Color Tag, Cone Leapfrog, & more. Read Julie’s full post here.
2. Create an Ice-Cream Truck “Waiting Station”
Place a few Activity Cones a safe distance from the curb where you want your kids to stop so they’re visible — yet still safe — when the ice-cream truck comes down the road. Train your children to recognize the purpose of a safety cone. Tell them that if they stop BEHIND your colorful cones when the ice-cream truck comes down the street, you’ll reward them for being safe with ice-cream cones! CONES = CONES.
(HINT: You may want your ice-cream cone rule to apply only when you’ve placed out your cones. If the cones aren’t out, children should be taught to greet the truck from the sidewalk, your front steps, or another agreed-upon location, depending on your child’s age and readiness. And there should be no expectation of ice cream if you haven’t placed the cones out indicating your pre-approval.)
3. Teach Bicycle Safety with an Obstacle Course
Guess Blogger Katie Heap reminds us that an important aspect of riding a bicycle safely is being able to maneuver around broken glass or bumps in the road. She suggests using Activity Cones to set up an outdoor obstacle course on a chalk-drawn road in your driveway for your child to ride through for practice. Get printables and lots of other safety tips and games in Katie’s full article: 4 Activities to Teach Summer Safety. (For tips on using Activity Cones to create an indoor obstacle course for cold or rainy days, see Roo Ciambriello’s post How to Make an Indoor Obstacle Course.)
USING ACTIVITY CONES TO TEACH SKILLS & GAMES
1. Create a Summertime Triathlon Event
Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington offers easy ideas for using Activity Cones to create a Summertime Triathlon event for your children. Get the details in Zina’s full post. (And when Zina and her family go camping, she says they just bring a ball and some Activity Cones. The cones are easy to pack and can be used for all sorts of games, but also to build sandcastles, to mark off campsites, and to slow down traffic and alert drivers to children at play on those winding, narrow paths with lots of blind corners. Thanks for the extra tip, Zina!)
2. Stacking & Balance
Put one cone on the ground, a few inches in front of your child. Ask him or her to stand up and try to stack more cones on it by dropping the cones from waist height. Tally the cones that land on the standing cone to see how high the stack can go. Increase the challenge by asking your child to drop cones from shoulder height, with both eyes closed, or two cones at a time.
3. Sequencing, Matching, & Pattern Recognition
Divide the cones evenly between you and your child, making certain that you each have one cone of each color. Arrange some or all of your four cones in a line, and ask your child to duplicate your pattern using his or her cones. Then stack your four cones together and ask your child to mirror his or her stack to match your order.
4. Scooping & Knocking Over
Place seven cones on the ground or floor, tipping them over onto one side. Ask your child to use the eighth cone to scoop up the other seven cones. Vary this activity by asking your child to scoop up cones as you describe their color or texture pattern, or by beginning with some cones standing upright on their bases. (Tip: It’s OK to use a second hand to steady the stack as it gets heavier.)
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Once you start looking, you’ll see cones all around you! The next time you spot one, take time to point it out to your child. Explain the meaning of traffic cones carefully placed to guide vehicles on the road, game cones set out as bases or as boundary markers in team sports, or hazard cones used to indicate slippery floors at swimming pools, etc.
What else can your kids use cones for? Sound off in the comments below or share your own cone ideas on the Melissa & Doug Facebook page.
And, be sure to come on back each week to check out our “Summer Fun” calendar and our Summer Pinterest board — each full of educational activities, crafts, games, summer-sanity tips, and more!