I was asked to create a program geared for very young children, but with components that would include parents and other members of the family. This program could easily become one in a series of library programs focused on community servants.
A Family Program
Since the number of people who can tour a fire truck at one time is limited, this program is run in four stations of fifteen to twenty minutes each. If possible, consider separating participants into groups based on age and match materials as appropriate.
Station 1: Visit with a Firefighter
Invite your local fire station to visit with the children and give a brief talk and demonstration. This is generally a free service, but must be scheduled. Fire departments usually will bring equipment to demonstrate to the children and even allow them to handle and try on. Many are also willing to bring a fire truck to allow the children to tour. Divide children/families into small groups and have them travel to different “stations” of the program. This will move participants through the fire truck/equipment tours without a lot of wait time, and permit latecomers to join in.
Station 2: Games and Puzzles
This station can be run outdoors, possibly with a firefighter’s assistance.
Station 3: Video
If the firefighters have brought both equipment and a truck, this station can be substituted with equipment demonstrations.
Make fire truck sandwiches with graham cracker rectangles and frosting. Use Oreo halves or Gummi-Savers attached with frosting as wheels and gumdrops for sirens.
Station 4: Books and Songs
This station is directed by the librarian and takes the form of a shortened story time
Due to the flexibility needed for this program, several stories and songs have been included in order to suit the program to your individual library’s needs.
Books: 0-3 years
Hubbell, Patricia. 2007. Firefighters! Speeding! Spraying! Saving! Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.
Use bells or shakers and perform the poem as a firefighter rap.
Klingel, Cynthia and Robert B. Noyed. 2002. Firefighters. Chanhassen, MN: The Child’s World.
Marzollo, Jean. 1996. I Am Fire. New York: Scholastic.
Simon, Charnan. 2007. Firefighter Tom to the Rescue! Chanhassen, MN: The Child’s World.
Books: 3-5 years
Kunhardt, Edith. 1989. I’m Going to Be a Fire Fighter. New York: Scholastic.
Teague, Mark. 2010. Firehouse! New York: Orchard Books.
Horowitz, Jordan. 1993. Tonka: Working Hard with the Busy Fire Truck. New York: Scholastic.
Whitling, Sue. 2008. The Firefighters. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.
Songs and Fingerplays
Tune: I’m a Little Teapot
I'm a little firefighter on the go
Tune: This Old Man
9-1-1 sends help to you.
Firefighter Finger Play
Five brave fire-fighters, Sleeping so,
The fire bell rings, Down the pole they go,
Jump in the fire truck, Hurry down the street. Climb up the ladder, (make the fingers climb)
Feel the fire's heat. (wipe sweat from your brow)
Five brave fire-fighters (hold up five fingers)
Put the fire out. (make a wiping motion)
Hip! Hip! Hooray! All the people shout!
Children make sound effects
April 1st is National Firefighter Day
The week of October 9th is National Fire Prevention Week
Alphabet Soup. 2011. “Don’t Play with Fire.” http://www.alphabet-soup.net/firesafety/firesafety.html
Child’s Play Family Daycare. 2003. “Fire Safety Theme.” http://www.preschoolkids.net/firesafety_theme.htm
Hummingbird Educational Resources. 2010. “Community Helpers.” http://www.hummingbirded.com/community-helpers.html
KidsSoup. 2009. “Free Firefighter and Fire Safety Printables, Lesson Ideas, and Rhymes.” http://www.kidssoup.com/Fire-safety/firefighter.html#firefighter
NSW Government. 2007. “Fire and Rescue NSW.” http://www.nswfb.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=684
Preschool Fire Safety Songs and Music.” Everything Preschool. Retrieved March 16, 2011 from http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/firesafety/songs.htm.