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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fire safety and fun activities related to firefighters

October is Fire Safety month so I thought this would be a perfect time for this post. As far as our house is concerned, Firefighters is the theme all year long. My three and a half year old son loves fire trucks and firefighters. Most of his friends, girls and boys alike, love them too. I like to use this love for real life heroes and their shiny red trucks to instill very important lesson of fire safety.

Fire stations all around the country have special open house events all year round and especially in October. Kids get to climb on the fire trucks, greet the fire fighters and even get a hat or a sticker for themselves. Hearing the fire safety instructions from the heroes themselves helps them retain the information and take it more seriously. If you have a large group of friends you can even schedule a special group tour for free.

Kids love to pretend to be a fire fighter, play along and model what they should do in case of a real emergency. Sometimes you can become the fire fighter and ask them to do all the emergency fire drill procedures. Include specific instructions like, go outside and stand near the oak tree or neighbor’s house or whatever you deem appropriate. Or use scenarios like, this group did a camp fire and did not put out the fire completely or these kids were playing with matchsticks which are very dangerous etc. to help them remember how to avoid having a fire in the first place.
Pretend play is a great way to hone analogizing skills. An analogy refers to functional resemblance between things which are otherwise unlike and we should remember not to mistake it with similarity. Physicists used analogy when they came up with ‘String theory’, and that’s how the stethoscope came into being. Artists and writers also use it in the form of metaphors. It is a great fundamental skill kids can have. So next time your kids want to pretend to be a firefighter, a chef or turn your ladle into a magic wand, play along and remember that they are developing a very important skill.
As I mentioned my son loves everything firefighters, so I had planned a firefighter themed birthday party for his 3rd birthday. I made this inexpensive and easy to make 15 feet long fire truck with poster board, paper plates, shoe boxes and some masking tape. We used a garden hose as a stand-in to fire hose.
We had a pretend play activity where some kids pretended to be fire fighters, some were asking for help and some were paramedics and of course some wanted to be the patients. My friend Maiz Connolly who by the way has an awesome blog of her own, had this brilliant idea of holding a red plastic table cloth against a fan and that was the fire. Everyone had such a fun time.
There are plenty of books related to fire fighters. I am sure we have not seen them all, but here is one  that seemed different. Learning about the dangers of fire and how to react in those situations helps reinforcing fire safety.

Hope you have lot of fun playing with your little firefighters.