Lesson 5

Outdoor Safety


Lesson Goal:

To encourage participants to use safety rules while outdoors.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Describe three street and sidewalk safety rules.
  • Understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
  • Recite two bus safety rules.
  • Share three playground safety rules.
  • Describe three water safety rules.


Content Standards Addressed: 

Common Core State Standards

National Standards


Left or Right?

This lesson may be taught if children have trouble distinguishing between their right and left hand. This is an important piece for the street safety lessons.



Hokey Pokey Fun

  • Teach the children the Hokey Pokey song. This song reinforces knowing their left and right hands.
  • Words to the Hokey Pokey song:
You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about,
You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about.
2) left hand
3) right foot
4) left foot
5) head
6) rear
7) whole self 


Find Your Left Hand

  • Have the children hold up their hands with their pointer fingers up to the ceiling and their thumbs pointing towards each other.
  • One hand will make a capital L.
  • The hand that makes the capital L is their left hand.


Street and Sidewalk Safety:

Begin this lesson by discussing why there are rules. Tell children rules are made to keep people safe, especially rules dealing with streets and sidewalks.

Some of the most important rules include:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Always cross the street in a crosswalk.
  • Always follow the crossing guard's directions.
  • Always walk on the right side of the sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the stoplights.
  • Ride your bike on the sidewalk, not on the road.
  • Pay attention to signs on the road.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk beside the road.
  • Always walk on the left side, facing the traffic coming toward you if there is no sidewalk.
  • If there are two or more people, walk single file.
  • When a car is coming and there is not a sidewalk, step onto the grass if possible.
  • Do not play in the street. Streets are for cars. Sidewalks and grass are for children.
  • Do not chase a ball or follow a pet into the street.
  • Do not run out from between parked cars. The oncoming traffic cannot see and may not stop in time.
  • If food is found lying on a sidewalk, in a park or on the grass LEAVE IT ALONE! It is not safe to eat food that is lying around. It could make you very sick. DO NOT TASTE IT! LEAVE IT!

The curb is an important safety feature because it tells us the street is very close - where there are cars. The curb is our "safety friend;" it tell us to stop and watch for cars.

The crosswalk is a set of lines on the street. People should stay between the lines for extra safety when crossing the street. We should always use the crosswalk and make sure that no cars or other vehicles are coming before crossing.

Sometimes the corner has a stoplight. The lights tell us what to do. Red means STOP. Yellow means WAIT. Green means GO. We only cross on the green. Even on green we need to make sure no cars are coming.

On some corners, especially close to schools, there are crossing guards. We always obey them. Crossing guards help see that kids get safely across the street.



Cross the Street

Make a list and/or cut out pictures of the vehicles they need to watch for before crossing a street:

car bike motorcycle
rescue squad bus moped
van police car fire truck
truck taxi ice cream truck
tractor horse and buggy snow plows


Walk on the Sidewalk

1. Have participants walk single file along a roadside or in town, and show them how to move onto the grass if they meet a vehicle. Or using masking tape, make a sidewalk on the floor complete with a curb.

  • Have the children practice walking on the right. Have them meet each other and pass while walking.
  • Practice stopping at the curb; looking left, right and left again.

2. If inside, set up an area with boxes, tables, etc., so that the children can see for themselves that motorists cannot see them between two parked cars.


Play the Red Light-Green Light Game

After discussing the importance of street signs and lights, play the Red Light-Green Game.

How to play the game:

1. Choose a leader to shout out "red light" and "green light."

2. All other participants will line up on a line. They face the leader and will run in that direction.

3. When the leader yells "green light" he/she turns away from the participants. The participants run as fast and as far as they can.

4. When the leader yells "red light" he/she turns around. All participants have to stop right on their spot. If the leader turns around and catches someone still moving, that person has to go back to the starting line.

5. The person to reach the leader is now the new leader.


Seatbelt Safety:

Wearing seatbelts is a law in most states. Each time you get into your car, even if you don't go far, a seatbelt should be used. A song is included to help stress the importance of seat belts.



Safety Belt Song

(Sing to the tune of I'm A Little Teapot)
I'm a safety seatbelt, pull and click.
I keep you safe, during all car trips.
Buckle up when you're in your seat.
Being safe is really neat.


Safety Belt Experiment

Materials needed: A toy truck or car and a toy figurine.

1. Place the figurine into the toy vehicle without a safety belt. Demonstrate what happens in a crash to people not wearing their seat belt. Have the car crash into a wall.

2. Place the figurine into the toy vehicle with a safety belt (rubber band or string) and again run the toy vehicle into the wall.

3. Discuss the importance of wearing safety belts as a group.


Bus Safety:

Many children take a bus to and from school.  It is important to follow safety rules while riding on a bus whether it is a school bus or a city bus.

Important points to discuss:

  • At the bus stop, line up facing the bus - not along the side of it. You should be at least 10 feet away from the curb before the bus pulls up.
  • Do not push. Wait your turn.
  • Hold onto the railing to enter the bus.
  • Recognize that the bus driver is the boss and in charge of the bus.
  • Keep your hands to yourself and never put your hands, arms or head out of the window.
  • Do not litter on the bus or throw anything out the windows.
  • The emergency door is not to be touched unless in an emergency.
  • Sit in your seats and stay there.
  • When leaving the bus, passengers should cross in front of the bus; approximately 10 steps in front of it.
  • While children are in front of the school bus, but before crossing the street, children need to watch for the bus driver's signal before they cross.
  • Passengers should never try to craw under a school bus to retrieve a lost object such as a paper, food, etc.



Rules on the Bus Song 

(sing to the tune of Wheels on the Bus)

Rules on the bus say ten feet away
Ten feet away, ten feet away
Rules on the bus say ten feet away
While you wait for the bus
Rules on the bus say wait your turn
Wait your turn, wait your turn
Rules on the bus say wait your turn
Before getting on the bus.
Rules on the bus say sit, sit, sit
Sit, sit, sit
Rules on the bus say sit, sit, sit
All through the ride.
Rules on the bus say hands to yourself
Hands to yourself, hands to yourself
Rules on the bus say hands to yourself
'Til you get off of the bus.






Bus Drills 

Call the local bus service and have a bus come to your school. Have the children practice the bus rules listed above.


Journal Entry

Ask the children to make a journal entry by drawing a picture or writing some sentences about what they learned. For more information about the journal, see Lesson 2.


Bus Danger Zones

This activity will demonstrate the danger areas around a bus. 

1. Use a long rectangular table or desk to simulate a bus.

2. Mark the danger zones as indicated in the picture above.

3. Emphasize to the children how hard it is for a bus driver to see children outside the bus. 

Playground Safety:

Children love playgrounds. They provide a variety of equipment for children to utilize for enjoyment. Playgrounds can also be very dangerous if not properly maintained and if safety rules are not followed. Playground safety must be followed to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Some of the important points to address about playground safety include:

  • Always go to the playground with an adult. Never play alone just in case an accident occurs.
  • Never walk in front of someone swinging on a swing.
  • Hold onto the railing while walking up slide steps.
  • Always go down the slide feet first.
  • Hold on tight while riding on the merry-go-round.
  • Only get on and off the merry-go-round when it has stopped completely.
  • Do not push or shove other children while on the playground.
  • Do not throw stones, dirt or sticks at other children.
  • Take turns on all equipment.
  • Tell an adult about any broken glass or equipment.



Reproducible:  Playground Safety

1. Make copies of the reproducible, Playground Safety Coloring Sheet, for every participant.

2. Encourage the children to find unsafe situations that could cause accidents and place an X over them.

3. Ask kids how the unsafe situations could be fixed.

4. Provide time for coloring.


New Playground Rules

Discuss new playground rules the children think are important.


"Tour" A Playground

As a group walk around to all equipment and have children take turns demonstrating safe behavior on each piece of equipment.


Water Safety:

Some of the important points for children to learn about water safety:

  • An adult's permission is needed before swimming.
  • An adult or lifeguard should always be present when a child is swimming.
  • Always swim with another person.
  • Never swim in an area that is higher than your belly if you are not a strong swimmer.
  • Beware of currents that can be very dangerous.
  • While swimming it is important to apply sunscreen, and reapply because it can come off.
  • Never run at a swimming pool; the deck is usually very wet and can cause falls.
  • Jump feet first when getting into a body of water to prevent hitting your head and causing head injuries.
  • Air-filled flotation devices like water wings and inner tubes are not substitutes for life jackets. Nonswimmers should always wear life jackets around or in water.
  • Everyone - swimmers and nonswimmers - should wear life jackets at all times while boating.
  • Buoys are floats set up in the water as markers or warnings, possibly of very deep or dangerous waters. Never swim past buoys.


Reproducible: Water Safety Fun

1..Make copies of the reproducible, Water Safety Fun for each of the participants.

2. Encourage the children to find unsafe swimmers and place an X over them.

3. Provide time for discussion and coloring.

My Very Own Water Safety Story

1. Have older kids write a book about all of the water safety rules.

2. Take blank 8 1/2" x 11" paper and fold in half to make a booklet.

3. Use the top half of the paper to draw and the bottom half to write the story.

4. Provide time for children to share their stories.


Journal Entry

Ask the children to make a journal entry by drawing a picture or writing some sentences about what they learned. For more information about the journal, see Lesson 2.

Leader's Fast Facts:

1.  According to the National Safety Council, children 0-4 have the highest death rate due to drowning (2001).

2. Seatbelts are proven to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45%.

As nationwide seatbelt crackdown begins, new data underscores deadly impact of failure to adopt primary seatbelt laws.

(November 17, 2003) Retrieved Dec. 8, 2003 from this website.  

3. According to CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), every year approximately 205,860 preschool and elementary aged students are injured on playground equipment (2003).


Additional Resources:

A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe on the Streets. By Maribeth Boelts. PowerKids Press, 1997.

A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe At Playgrounds. By Maribeth Boelts. PowerKids Press, 1997.

Safety on the Playground (Safety First). By Lucia Raatma. Bridgestone Books, 1999.

Water Safety. By Nancy Loewen. The Child's World Inc. 2002.

A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe Around Water. By Maribeth Boelts. PowerKids Press, 1997.