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My son has a fascination with smoke alarms. We talk about them every single day. For a kid who isn’t even 3 yet, he really loves talking about fire safety!
I designed this game so that he could learn other safety skills, all while building new vocabulary. It also sparked many conversations about new concepts that were perfect for developing cognitive skills and creating mental maps of new ideas.
How to Play
2. The Safety Scenario Game Boards are the pages with safety questions on top. Do NOT cut these pages. Leave them as is. (Watch the video to see how it should look!)
3. Cut the pages that have multiple boxes into individual Safety Skill Cards.
4. There are 5 Safety Skill Cards that correspond to each Safety Question. Show your child how to place them on top of each page like stickers, or use Velcro Dots to attach them so your child knows how many belong on each page.
5. Some Safety Skill Cards could fit under more than one category. (For example, a stop sign is intended for driving safely, but also can help you stay safe when you ride a bike or take a walk.) Talk to your kids about how some things keep us safe from several things. You can decide if you want to let your child put them in any category that FITS, or if you want to encourage them to find the best fit for each one and only have 5 on each page. This really depends on the age and flexibility of the individual child.
How to Help Build Vocabulary and Develop Cognitive Skills
In addition to helping your child learn about safety planning and how to stay safe in a variety of situations, this game sparked many incredible conversations that helped my son learn new vocabulary and work on cognitive skills required for early scientific thinking. Here are some ideas for discussions!
- My son knew all the items for “What things keep me safe from a fire?” except a fire extinguisher. He had never heard of that before. We had a great conversation about how a fire extinguisher works, and later I showed him the one we have in our kitchen! (Vocabulary building)
- For the scenario “What things keep me safe from the sun?” two of the corresponding Safety Skill Cards are a sun hat and a beach umbrella. My son didn’t know what a beach umbrella was since we’ve only been to the beach a few times (vocabulary building). We also discussed the similarities and differences between using a sun hat and using a beach umbrella for shade from the sun (early scientific thinking).
- A photo of a water bottle is one of the Safety Skill Cards for safety from the sun. We talked about how we have to drink extra water during summertime (perfect timing!). Now every time he drinks water on a hot day, he exclaims, “I have to drink DOUBLE water, Mommy!” So cute. (Early scientific thinking—for example, what living organisms need to survive and how that changes in response to the environment)
- Several of the other vocabulary words were completely new for my son. We enjoyed exploring so many new ideas! New vocab for us: fire extinguisher, beach umbrella, crosswalk, cast, first aid kit, life jacket, swim goggles, life guard, tire chains (for the snow), and knee pads. (Vocabulary building)
- Our discussion of tire chains was awesome! It felt like a preschool physics lesson. My son loves learning all the details about how something works, so he was fascinated by learning how chains help grip the road and provide traction. Who knew a 2.5 year old could understand what ‘traction’ is! Later, we also talked about how snow boots provide traction too. (Early scientific thinking)
I can’t wait to have more great discussions while playing this game in the future!