A visit to a local fire station allows your preschooler to meet a firefighter and see all the gear.

Firefighter Activities for Preschoolers

by Shelley Frost

Blaring sirens in a firetruck of fully uniformed firefighters generates excitement and awe in most preschoolers. Turn that interest into themed activities that engage your young child and teach him about fire safety. By the time he is a preschooler, your child should learn the basics of staying safe around fire, dialing 911 and reacting in a home fire.

1. Fire Station Visit

Your local fire station is an ideal place to teach your preschooler about these local heroes. Most firefighters welcome visitors to the station, especially when kids are in tow, but don't show up empty handed. Before heading to the fire station, make a plate of treats or some thank you cards for the firefighters. If you want a tour of the station, call ahead of time to make sure they're prepared for you. Since fires and emergencies are unpredictable, even calling ahead doesn't guarantee your preschooler will get a personal tour of the station.

2. Crafts

A crafty touch to your firefighter activities draws out your preschooler's creative side. Cut out squares, rectangles, ovals, triangles and circles from construction paper to create a firetruck while reinforcing shapes. Your preschooler glues the shapes together to make a firetruck. For example, he can glue a small rectangle for the truck cab to a longer rectangle to make the rest of the truck. Use smaller shapes to make the details on the truck, like the windows, wheels and ladders. To make crafty flames, cut the flame shapes from white paper and place them in a shallow box. Dip marbles in red, orange and yellow paint and roll the marbles on the flame's cutouts.

3. Dramatic Play

Dramatic play lets your preschooler jump into the role of firefighter. Dollar stores and party supply stores often sell plastic firefighter helmets to get your child in character. A toy hatchet, raincoat and rain boots round out the costume. If your preschooler wants a firetruck to play in, paint a cardboard box to look like an engine. A scarf or other long, flexible object works as a hose for the engine, while a short step stool serves as the ladder. Give your preschooler a target with paper flames he can place around the room.

4. Safety Lessons

The topic of firefighters naturally leads into fire safety lessons that could save your child's life. One key lesson is creating an escape route. Show your preschooler how to get out of the house in case of a fire. Practice the escape with the smoke detector sounding so he is used to the loud sound. The loud signal may scare your child in a real fire situation if he's not prepared. Practice the stop, drop and roll technique to teach him how to put out flames on his clothing. Crawling low to the ground is another essential fire safety skill. To practice, drape a sheet over chairs to represent the smoke. Take turns crawling beneath the sheet.

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