Summer Safety Activity: Stop, Drop, and Roll!
While children shake, rattle, and roll, they can stop, drop, and roll
- Grades: PreK–K
SKILLS: Children develop gross motor and listening skills as they learn about fire-safety measures and precautions.
- boom box with a pause-play feature
- lively music
IN ADVANCE: Talk with children about ways to keep safe in the event of a fire. Be sure to refrain from frightening children by describing scenarios that are too scary or dramatic.
1 On a clear sunny day, head outside to a grassy area. With a boom box or stereo on an extension cord, play lively music for children to dance to. Invite children to dance until they hear the music stop. When they recognize the music has stopped, watch how quickly they can pause in place. After a couple of practices of pausing when the music stops, introduce the idea of dropping to the ground. Now, instead of just stopping in place, children can drop to the ground when they hear the music stop. Practice dropping when the music stops a couple of times. When children are comfortable dropping, introduce rolling. When the music stops, instruct children to roll all the way in one direction, then all the way back in the other direction. Practice the stop, drop, roll combination movement a few times until everyone is comfortable with this new motion.
2 While children are having fun with this movement, let them know that it can also help them in an emergency. Explain that the stop, drop, and roll motion can prevent children from getting burned if their clothes catch on fire.
3 Continue the activity by inviting children to try moving like racing fire engines (with water shooting from large fire hoses) amid firefighters walking in large, heavy boots amid leaping flames. Encourage children to demonstrate their movements for others in the group. Give children a chance to imitate the movements of their classmates. Later, add background music and encourage children to perform their movements once again.
For younger children: Place big pictures on large sheets of cardboard of children stopping, dropping to the ground, and rolling. To reinforce the idea of stop, drop, and roll, hold up the pictures one by one, and ask children to imitate the movements.
For older children: Talk with children about other safety measures to take in case of an emergency, including dialing 911 for help.
Incorporate fire safety into block play. Introduce a few fire truck toys to the block area and have children build a fire station out of blocks. If you don't have firefighter hats already, introduce them and other appropriate props in the dramatic-play area.