- Large appliance box (from a refrigerator, stove, washing machine, etc.)
- 2 or 3 child-size chairs
- 2 pairs of old seat belts (ask an automobile junkyard or body shop to donate them)
- A child's car seat (you can ask a parent to lend you one; a family might volunteer to bring a car seat in the morning and take it home at the end of the day)
- Steering wheel (either real or cut from unused cardboard)
Step 1: Hold a discussion about seat belts. Invite children to share their experiences with seat belts or car seats and together take a vow to become "seat-belt safety inspectors." Your job is to remind everyone to buckle up!
Step 2: Invite children to draw a door or two on each side of the pre-cut box. Offer children markers and crayons to decorate the new vehicle.
Step 3: Attach seat belts to chairs. Place them inside the box. Add a steering wheel, and your car or bus is ready to roll.
Step 4: Gather everyone around the vehicle. Ask a child to demonstrate how to get in and close the door behind him or her, sit in the driver's seat, and put on a seat belt. A second child might bring in a doll and secure it in a car seat. If there is a third chair, the child can sit there and fasten his seat belt.
Step 5: Together, check and see that all are safe while you recite this poem:
When doors are locked
And hands inside,
With seat belts buckled,
It's safe to ride!
For Younger Children
Share a travel song as they pretend to ride in their homemade car.
For Older Children
Talk with them about other important safety measures to take while riding in a bus, as well as a car, such as no standing while riding, waiting for the bus to come to a complete stop before leaving your seat, listening carefully to the bus driver's instructions, and so on.
Remember: Many children are riding buses or taking long car rides to preschool for the first time. Offer these safety rules early and send reminders home to parents and bus companies.
Add some pizzazz to seat belts by decorating them with ribbons parents can attach to a seat belt in their cars. Ask children to glue various collage materials such as scraps of fabric, felt, or lace to wide lengths of brightly colored ribbon. Include instructions for parents, suggesting they tie the piece of ribbon to either the upper or lap portion of one of the seat belts in their car. The decoration serves as a fun reminder for children to buckle up!
- Funtime Rhymes: On the Road by Barren's
- The Little School Bus by Carol Roth
- The School Bus Driver from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler