How young should we teach a child to call 911? That’s a good question. Many preschools will dedicate a week to teaching 3-4 year olds how to call 911 and other safety information they might need in case of trouble.

If you do a quick search on Google, such as “4 year old calls 911” you will likely find various news articles and recordings of humorous reasons young children have called 911 along with tales of heroic children who knew just what to do when the only adult with them passed out, such as this news clip on YouTube.

Yes, a preschooler might needlessly call 911, but they may also be in a situation one day where calling 911 saves someone’s life. With this in mind, I encourage you to teach your child how to call 911, but be sure to tell them that it is only if there is an emergency.

The following song is a great way to start teaching your child about calling 911.

If you have a different emergency number in your area, this song may still work, just switch out the number as you sing.

*As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

9-1-1 Song

Original song by: S. J. Little

Tune: If You’re Happy And You Know It

If you need the ambulance, call 9-1-1.

If you need the ambulance, call 9-1-1.

If you need the ambulance, if you need the ambulance,

If you need the ambulance, call 9-1-1.

 

If you need the police, call 9-1-1.

If you need the police, call 9-1-1.

If you need the police, if you need the police,

If you need the police, call 9-1-1.

 

If you need the fire truck, call 9-1-1.

If you need the fire truck, call 9-1-1.

If you need the fire truck, if you need the fire truck,

If you need the fire truck, call 9-1-1.

 

Actions

Every time you sing “9-1-1” hold up the correlating number of fingers – 9 fingers, then 1 finger and then 1 finger again.

If you want, find pictures of an ambulance, police car, and fire truck and point to each one as you sing about it.

Other Safety Tips to Teach Preschoolers

There are many other safety tips you can teach a preschooler. What follows are a few I recommend. If you know others, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.

  • Teach your child their own first and last name
  • Teach your child their parents’ first and last names
  • Teach your child their parents’ phone number
  • Teach your child “stranger danger”
    • If you aren’t there with them, a stranger, no matter how nice they may seem, might want to hurt them. They should never go anywhere with a stranger, unless you give them permission, even if the stranger offers candy or a chance to see puppies.
  • Teach your child who is safe
    • Explain to your child that if they ever get lost in a crowd, they should look for either someone who works there or a mom with kids as these are more likely to help them find safety. Next time you’re out at a large store or venue with your child, practice spotting employees or other safe people your child could go to if they need help.
  • Teach your child what to do in case of a fire
    • Stay low and go outside. You could even practice having a fire drill.
    • Show your child pictures of a fireman with his mask on. Teach your child that this is what a fireman might look like if he was coming to rescue them from a fire.

Let us pray that our children never need to use any of these safety tips, but, just in case, the preschool years are a good time to begin teaching these important things.

Child cutting with scissors behind title: Scissors and Preschoolers - Scissors Basics

 

When should children learn to use scissors? At what age are they too young? How should I teach my preschooler to use scissors?

If you’ve asked any of these questions, then you’re in the right place. As a preschool teacher who has worked closely with children, 2-5 years old, for over 9 years, I’ve learned a thing or two when it comes to teaching young children how to use scissors. In this blog post, I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you.

Why teach preschoolers how to use scissors?

If you’ve been around early learning and child care settings, you will likely have heard the term “fine motor muscles.” Fine motor muscles are the small muscles in the hands, especially those needed to hold a pencil. A child with strong fine motor muscles has a distinct advantage when it comes to learning to hold a pencil properly for writing. Therefore, we want to provide many opportunities for children to exercise their fine motor muscles. One excellent way to do so is by using scissors.

Added to that, a child who goes into Kindergarten feeling comfortable and moderately capable with scissors will have an advantage during various crafts and activities that require the use of scissors.

Which scissors to start with?

There are three basic types of scissors for preschoolers.Crayola Safety Scissors

  1. Entirely plastic safety scissors – These are the type of scissors that can cut playdough, but not much else. Most of them do not work well on paper. Crayola makes my favourite type of these scissors. They come in a set of three. I have no problem leaving these scissors freely at the playdough table for children even as young as 2 years olds. I have seen these available at various stores that also sell Crayola markers and crayons.
  2. Metal safety scissors – These scissors look like regular adult scissors except that they are smaller and have a rounded point rather than a sharp tip. These sorts of safety scissors are widely available in stores. Note that they are sharp enough to cut various materials and, therefore, require adult supervision.Maped Spring Safety Scissors
  3. Spring safety scissors – These scissors look identical to typical metal safety scissors, except for the addition of a spring. Children with weak fine motor muscles are typically able to close the scissors, but may find it difficult to reopen the scissors without using their second hand to help. Preschools often have a pair or two of these spring scissors. If you are only teaching one or two children how to use scissors, buying these special spring scissors typically is not needed. If your child struggles to open the scissors at first, don’t be worried. Simply keep practicing with the scissors and providing other fine motor exercises to strengthen their muscles.

Going forward in this article, I will be referring to the second (and/or third) type of scissors, but not the first entirely plastic ones.

When to teach preschoolers how to use scissors?

If you asked me to pinpoint an age when most children are ready to begin using scissors, I would say 2.5 years old. However, I say that cautiously. Having worked with countless children, I have noticed that some children are very impulsive and unaware of what they are doing with their hands. These children may not be ready to begin using scissors until they have matured more as scissors can be dangerous when not handled well.

Also, only bring out the scissors during calmer parts of the day. If you have multiple children around, you do not want the others running nearby while scissors are being used.

How to teach preschoolers to use scissors?

Before I tell you how to teach your preschooler to use scissors, a word of caution. Scissors are dangerous. Children, and those instructing them, must treat scissors with a degree of respect.

  • ModelYoung girl using scissors
    • If your child has never watched someone use scissors before, take a moment to grab a piece of paper and a pair of scissors and show them how to cut.
  • Thumbs up
    • Although this may feel awkward for your child at first, the proper posture when using scissors is to have thumbs up. By that, I mean that the hand holding the scissors has the thumb on the top and the fingers on the bottom when cutting. Similarly, the hand holding the paper, which I like to call the “helper hand”, should have the thumb on top of the paper and the fingers underneath. For many children, this takes practice and several gentle reminders.
  • Supervise
    • Again, scissors are dangerous – to you, your child, and to the environment around them. Be intentional to tell your child that scissors are only for paper. A child left unsupervised with scissors is prone to cutting something that shouldn’t be cut, whether the tablecloth, their clothing, the nearest ribbon, etc. This is also the age for self-haircuts. Nearly every year one of my children shows up one day with a very short haircut accompanied by their parent’s explanation that the child gave themselves a haircut. Therefore, I repeat, keep an eye on your child when they are using scissors.

Techniques for teaching children to use scissors

1. Hand-over-hand – this technique I recommend for the first few times your child uses scissors, especially if they are younger than 4 years old. For some children, only one time of hand-over-hand is needed. For other children, I would use hand-over-hand for several months before trusting them to use scissors on their own.

    • The hand-over-hand technique is exactly what it sounds like. I put my right hand over the child’s right hand and my left hand over their left hand. I find this works best if I sit on a low seat and have the child stand in front of me. In this way, I am more or less providing training wheels for the child as they learn to use scissors. While using the hand-over-hand technique, I help the children make crafts.

2. Free cutting – Some children are able to skip the hand-over-hand technique and move right to this one. Some teachers start all their children with this technique.

    • Collect a pile of papers, flyers you are planning to recycle work well. Have the child sit at a table. Give them a pair of scissors and several pieces of paper. Allow them to freely cut the paper however they wish. Many children will end up cutting the paper into itsy bitsy bits. That’s just fine. The goal of this technique is to give the children space to build the fine motor muscles needed to use scissors and to become comfortable using scissors on their own.

3. Following a line – Some children will be more engaged with their scissors if they are making something. There are various ways to give them an opportunity to do this, even when they are just starting out with scissors. I will list a few below.

Ways to incorporate scissor practice into a craft

  1. Choose a colouring sheet that matches your theme, draw a line around the image on the colouring sheet. Be sure the line is distinct from the lines of the image, perhaps by being a different colour. Have the child cut along the line. Then allow the child to colour, paint, or otherwise decorate the picture.
  2. If your craft includes several parts that you would typically cut beforehand and then give to the child to glue together, consider allowing your child to cut out one of the bigger pieces. For beginner cutters, it should be no smaller than a quarter of a sheet of paper. Once they have cut it out, have them proceed with the craft as usual.
  3. Let the child cut something to glue on. For example, if you’re talking about food, you could give your child a grocery store flyer and encourage them to cut out various food items and glue them on a piece of paper. Alternatively, let them cut a piece of paper into itsy bitsy bits and then glue the paper onto a picture to make a flower, etc.

Tips

  • Round lines are harder than straight lines
  • If your child gets distracted while holding scissors, gently remind them to look at their scissors when they are cutting.
  • Teach children that their helper hand is the one that should be turning the paper to follow the line. Their scissor hand should stay mostly straight in front of them rather than turning with the line.
  • Slightly thicker paper is often easier for children at first.
  • Teach the child, perhaps by modelling it, that when they are following a line and go off track, they need to stop and cut towards the line to get back on track.

What are some of your favourite scissor activities for your child?

Just harvested carrots and onions behind title: The Preschool Harvest Song

 

Ah, autumn. The time when leaves turn beautiful fall shades, children return to school, and gardens must be harvested before frost hits. It’s also the perfect time to talk about harvest with your preschoolers.

Using harvest as your preschool theme is excellent for discussing concepts such as healthy eating and for learning to categorize fruits and veggies. Not to mention all the discussion about colours and shapes that can be had.

Whether you’re using “harvest” as your fun theme or not, here’s a fantastic new song to sing with your children. I’ve been asked to sing it over and over again, and I suspect that you will be too.

 

Tips for singing the Preschool Harvest Song

  • Take a moment to explain what the word “harvest” means, as most children will be unfamiliar with it. I like to say that harvest is when farmers go to pick all the yummy food they grew so that people can eat it.
  • Invite your children to participate by choosing which food to sing about next. I’ve created a list of optional verses for you to choose from, but feel free to come up with more of your own. Depending on the attention span of your children, I recommend only singing 3 to 5 verses each time you sing the song.
  • Try adding visuals, whether you bring real examples of the food, make pictures of them, or cut pictures of them out of flyers. Visuals help young children understand and follow the song, especially if they are still learning English.

 

As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

Preschool Harvest Song

Song by: S. J. Little

Tune: Are You Sleeping

 

We are growing, we are growing,

Long orange carrots, long orange carrots.

Now we’ll harvest them to eat, now we’ll harvest them to eat.

Yummy, yummy, good! Yummy, yummy good!

Actions:

We are growing – pat field around you in several places

Long orange carrots – move fingers along outside of long carrot shape

Now we’ll harvest them to eat – start with arms wide then bring in towards self as though gathering armload

Yummy, yummy, good! – pretend to eat

 

Optional Verses:Hand holding freshly harvested carrots

  • Bright red tomatoes
  • Lots of potatoes
  • Juicy red apples
  • Tall yellow corn
  • Rich green spinach

 

What food items did you sing about with your children?

Looking for more original and engaging preschool songs? Check out the Flamingo Song and the Taxi Song both by S. J. Little.

Toy taxi with title: The Taxi Song

Have you ever focused on taxis as your preschool theme? Perhaps you focused on cab drivers as part of your theme of community helpers, or occupations? Or maybe it was a book that spurred your child’s interest in taxis. Regardless of the reason, it can be tricky to find good songs on this topic. That’s why I created this new preschool song about taxis.

 

Tips for singing the Taxi Song

I like to start this song by pretending to look for a taxi, then pointing and exclaiming, “I see a taxi!” At this point, I launch into the song. After singing the song once, I will pause and say, “I think we should go somewhere else now. I know, let’s go to the airport. That means we need to look for another taxi. Oh, there one is!”

Depending on your children’s age and the size of your group, you may be able to let your children choose the destinations.

*As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

The Taxi Song

By: S. J. Little

Tune: The Wheels on the Bus

 

Taxi, taxi, wait for me, wait for me, wait for me.

Taxi, taxi, wait for me. I need to go to town.

 

Variations

“Town” can be changed to other destinations based on your children’s interests.

My favourite destinations include:

Other destinations could be:

  • The hospital
  • Downtown
  • Market
  • School

 

Actions

The actions for the taxi song are simple and fun.

  • Taxi, taxi, wait for me – wave your arms above your head as though trying to catch the attention of a taxi driver
  • I need to go to town – point to self, then point in the direction of “town”

Other original preschool songs by S. J. Little

If you liked this song, don’t forget to check out my other original songs, including:

Flamingos behind the title: Flamingo Preschool Song

 

Not long ago, I created this brand new preschool song. It fits well with themes such as: Summer, Birds, Zoo, and Pink. The actions include standing on one foot which is a valuable skill for preschoolers to practice as they strengthen their gross motor muscles.

Did you know?

  • Flamingos sleep while standing on one leg.
  • Flamingos get their pink colour from their diet of shrimp and algae.

As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

 

The Flamingo Song

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Are You Sleeping

 

Flamingos flapping, flamingos flapping,

Big pink wings, big pink wings.

Flying through the sky, flying through the sky.

Time to land! Time to land!

 

Flamingos standing, flamingos standing,

On one foot, on one foot,

Sleeping while they’re standing, sleeping while they’re standing,

Time to wake! Time to wake!

Actions

  • Flamingos flapping – flap your arms
  • Big pink wings – flap your arms bigger
  • Flying through the sky – tilt your body while flapping your arms to suggest soaring through the sky
  • Time to land! – Stomp and emphasize the word “land”

 

  • Flamingos standing – stand on one foot
  • On one foot – stand on one foot and hold up one finger
  • Sleeping while they’re standing – pretend to sleep while still standing on one foot
  • Time to wake! – startle awake and emphasize the word “wake”

I hope you and your children enjoy this original flamingo song. If you do, don’t forget to join my email list to stay tuned for more unique preschool songs.

Looking for more animal songs? Check out If You Want To Be A… (Preschool Animal Song)