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Make learning traffic safety fun for children

There is an old saying, “Everything you need to know in life, you learn in preschool.” You learn how to get along with others, share, be polite, always flush the toilet, wash your hands, finish a task, help clean up and many others — street safety is definitely one of them.

Traffic Lights

Although children are not crossing roads alone for a while, these simple family activities help reinforce caution and safety rules around roads. You’ll need three small white paper plates, a cardboard paper towel tube, red, yellow and green paint, crayons or markers, child scissors, and white glue.

To make a traffic light, cut out the center of the paper plates. Color the cutouts red, yellow and green. Glue them onto the paper towel tube with red on top.

While making this traffic light, discuss where your children have seen traffic lights and check if they understand the meaning of the traffic colors. Teach the words, “Green means go, red means stop, yellow means slow down and be prepared to stop.”

Why are traffic lights helpful? What would happen if we didn’t have them? Why were the colors red, yellow and green chosen? This could lead to a discussion about the three primary colors.

How are walk signals coordinated to the traffic lights? What do they mean? What do the walk and flashing walk signs indicate? Some have a count down or voice guidance. Remember to stay on the curb.

You can also use the traffic light to encourage good behavior and follow directions at home by pointing to the traffic light.

Practice Being Alert

Take a walk around town and bring along your traffic light. Compare and show how a real traffic light works. Notice traffic lights at intersections. When walking across intersections and parking lots teach children to hold your hand. Practice stopping, looking, and listening for vehicles. Say the words as you do the action. Practice walking between the white lines while crossing. Review with older children, too. They may be crossing the street with young ones.

You can make a mini-traffic light and use it with little cars and action figures. You can use the homemade traffic light to play “Red Light, Green Light” while pointing to the correct color. The game helps children to listen carefully and follow directions while having some exercise. The game is also useful to practice soccer footwork and listen to the coach (go, stop, slow down, and change directions). You can also teach your children to read red stop signs by pointing to them and spelling the letters together.

Libraries have books about traffic lights “Go, Dog, Go”; “Red, Stop! Green, Go!” by P.D. Eastman; and “Be Aware!” By Gina Bellisario. For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com, wnmufm.org/LearningThroughtheSeasons, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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Grandparents Teach, Too is written by a group of teachers and former teachers who contribute ideas and resources to help educate children and grandchildren. For more GTT articles and resources, visit them online at http://grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com.

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