Safety Wear

Promote children's chart-reading skills while stressing the importance of strapping on safety gear.

  1. Copy the safety chart from the Letter to Families Reproducible (PDF) onto chart paper.
  2. Display each listed piece of safety gear with the chart.
  3. Have students use the chart to find the recommended or required gear for each activity.
  4. Ask a volunteer to put on and model the appropriate gear, then guide the class in a discussion about how it protects against injuries during accidents.
  5. Afterward, have children illustrate themselves (in full safety gear, of course!) engaged in their favorite wheel activities.

Terrain Test

Rough, uneven, or slick surfaces can cause many wheel activity accidents. To determine the best and safest surface to travel on, have students use the scientific method for this experiment.

  1. Spread aquarium gravel on the bottom of a large, flat tray to represent a rocky terrain.
  2. Give children a toy car and ask them to predict what will happen when it is rolled over the gravel.
  3. As you demonstrate, have students write down their observations.
  4. Repeat the experiment simulating a variety of terrain with materials such as sand, small sticks, and leaves.
  5. Finally, have children wipe the tray clean and roll the car across its smooth surface (representing pavement). Compare and discuss the results. Which type of terrain provides the best surface? Why?

Hands-On Signals

Hand signals are used by bike-riders to communicate the intention to change direction or stop. Show children how to make these easy-to-learn signals with their left arms, as shown. Then have them practice using the signals as they move around the classroom, the playground, and the school building. You might even plan silent mystery walks to different locations, using only the signals to give directions to students along the way.

"Wheeling Around" Word Wall

Create a scenic word wall to reinforce children's knowledge of safety signs and rules.

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of safety words related to wheel activities (including words for safety gear, such as helmet and kneepads).
  2. Invite students to illustrate bulletin board paper with a park scene illustrated with paths.
  3. Next, ask them to design and cut out skateboards and roller blades, leaving space on their creations to write safety-related words. Assign students words from the brainstorming list so everyone writes a different word.
  4. Have children attach their labeled cutouts to the scene.
  5. Encourage students to refer to the word wall in class discussions, writing exercises, and other activities related to safety on wheels.

Signs For Safety

Help children recognize and comprehend safety words and symbols.

  1. Display and review common safety signs such as "Stop," "Do Not Enter," "One Way," "Yield," "Caution," "Exit Only," "Enter," and the symbols for a traffic light, pedestrian crossing, railroad crossing, bike, roller blades, and skateboard. Also include the symbol for "No" (a circle divided by a diagonal bar).
  2. Have each of several small groups create a few of the reviewed signs. Have children glue craft sticks to the back of their signs for portability.
  3. Tape paths on the floor of a large open area to create roads that intersect, merge, and end. Station children with the appropriate signs at different locations along the roads.
  4. Invite the remaining students to take turns pretending to ride bikes on the roads. As they wheel along, ask them to read and obey the safety signs on their route.
  5. Rotate student roles so that each child has a turn holding a sign and walking the route.

Helmet Design Challenge

To set students' critical and creative thinking in motion, challenge them to design and draw a safety helmet for their preferred wheel activities. Next, ask them to write about the safety features of their helmets and then share these ideas with the class.

Boo-Boo Graph

No matter how safe children are while they are wheeling around, cuts and bruises may still happen.

  1. Create a graph with the headings "Bicycle," "Roller Blades," "Skateboard," and "Scooter."
  2. Poll students to find out how many have experienced a tumble or two from these activities.
  3. Have students affix an adhesive bandage in the column for each scrape received for each activity.
  4. Use the graph to compare the number of boo-boos per activity to determine which one involved the most mishaps, and to find the average number of boo-boos for all of the wheel activities.
  5. Conclude by reviewing with your class the basic care for minor injuries, such as cleaning cuts with soap and water, applying first-aid cream, and protecting them with an adhesive bandage.

Special Announcements

Spread the news about making wheel activities safe with student-created announcements. Begin by having children research books and Web sites (see Wheeling Around Resources) to learn about safety practices, rules, and etiquette for their preferred wheel activities. Group children with similar interests to create public service announcements that promote safety for their chosen activities. On a designated day, have students present their announcements to other classes or the school.

Around and Around

Use this game to help children learn the basic safety rules for riding.

  1. Use chart paper to copy the sentences for the acronym AROUND from the Around and Around Mini-Reproducible (PDF). In addition, cut each sentence into separate slips of paper, fold the papers, and put them in a bicycle helmet.
  2. Gather students in a circle and review the safety rules.
  3. Explain that you will play a selection of music as students pass the helmet around the circle. When the music stops, the child holding the helmet removes a slip of paper and reads the rule. If the rule matches the first rule on the chart, A, the child attaches it next to the A. If the rule does not match, the child returns the folded paper to the helmet and play resumes.
  4. Play continues in this manner until children match all the safety rules, in sequence, to the acronym on the chart.
  5. When completed, lead students in a choral reading of the rules.
  6. Students can use the reproducible as a bookmark or hang it in a convenient place as a reference tool.