Making Emergency Preparedness Fun for Children

Submitted by: Kelly Kennai

Disasters happen, and when they do, children are among the most vulnerable.

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That’s why in addition to ensuring facilities have strong emergency plans, preparedness education for youth is critically important. Too often, disaster preparedness lessons are limited to school fire drills, active shooting lockdowns or simply avoided all together due to the sensitive nature of the topic. However, learning about disasters and how to respond actually helps children gain a sense of understanding and control so they are equipped to respond more quickly and safely in a crisis.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), fewer than half of American families have an emergency plan. But families with home preparedness resources are 75 percent more likely to have a plan. Community leaders play a powerful role in keeping families safe!

Consider how you can promote emergency preparedness in your programs–in a fun way! Incorporating games and physical activities are engaging ways to get kids thinking and talking about safety.

Kid-Friendly Emergency Preparedness Activities:

  • Disaster Supply Relay Race: Gather piles of disaster supplies and have children race down to pick something they might need in a disaster. Add in miscellaneous items (i.e., princess crown, wall clock) to have kids make a choice.
  • Prep Step Dance: This 90-second song from Save the Children teaches children to know their ICE (in case of emergency) contacts, make a family plan and make a go-bag.
  • Read Safety-Themed Books: Read an emergency or safety themed book and ask questions about the characters’ safe choices along the way. This allows children to think through scenarios without making it about their own personal experiences.
  • Make a Weather Forecast Video: Talk about the weather risks in your region and learn basic weather terminology (such as “watch” versus “warning”). Have children put the pieces together to make a weather forecast video or presentation.

These activities, and others are from Save the Children’s Prep Rally™ Camp Curriculum which you can download for free at www.SavetheChildren.org/GetReady

Invite a Special Guest: Invite a first responder to visit and talk about his or her role and responsibilities. Have children write interview questions in advance.

Keep the Focus on Safety, not Alarm: Always bring the conversation back to safety, reassuring children that during an actual emergency, there will be many caring adults working to keep them safe.

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