Rather than mom-to-mom wisdom, I’m sharing a compiled list of online tools and resources you can use to help you prepare your little ones mentally and physically for emergencies they may encounter—even if you aren’t there to help. One great resources for a wide variety of ages is the Red Cross’ “Masters of Disaster” program for grades K-8. Some of these are even great for homeschooling!
So choose an age group and get started on your survival lessons for students!
Sesame Street has a great episode including several quick videos about being prepared for emergencies. The videos are in the context of “Fairy Tale Emergencies” and can spark conversations without scaring little ones.
The tool kit contains even more videos explaining what “being prepared” means, what constitutes an emergency, and basic information for this age group.
Fire Safety activities, printables, and planning ideas from Sparky the Fire Dog are perfect!
New York City officials have put together some interesting “Choose your Own” stories for emergencies like power outages, heavy snow, hurricanes, and heat waves that are interactive and informative. One word of caution: because it’s a New York City, government-produced resource, it advises kids to do things like go to the designated shelter or cooling center. Discuss whether this is something you really want your kids to before they visit the site, and discuss your preferred alternatives, as well as whether designated centers are even an option. These PDF files are printable.
Ready.gov has created some activities by school-age groups, as well. There’s a lot of educational jargon and waaaay more political justification than you need to actually implement the activities, but you can access those lesson plans here.
Go Bag for Kids has some cute animated videos about surviving earthquakes and tsunamis. Scroll all the way down to find the embedded videos.
Florida’s Division of Emergency has some great online games—including building a virtual emergency kit that you can later print out—at Kids Get a Plan.
I also liked the printable checklists your kids can print and either compare against their own kits and go-bags or build themselves from the CDC website.
A printable, interactive Disney workbook includes activities and ideas for kids. It was developed with the Red Cross for Disaster Preparedness Month and addresses major and minor weather events.
Have kids check out the map from Ready.gov to learn more about recent large-scale events or disasters in each state, and which ones are most likely to happen. Your older kids can click on their state and get recent emergency-related headlines with real pictures, explore the most common weather events in your state, and get tips for what to do before, during, and after these types of emergencies. If your kids stay the night with friends or spend time away from home, this is a great way to empower them to be more self-reliant.
A fun, interactive game from PBS kids gives scenarios of things that might happen when parents aren’t home. They score points by making responsible decisions and following mom’s written instructions. My kids loved this one.
Additionally, the CDC has put together a story about a pandemic that is in comic book or “graphic novel” form. Curiously, the virus makes people zombies, so it’s geared toward older kids. They have to hunker down until their food runs out, then they worry about how much gas is in the car to get help.
Survival Lessons for Kids – Remember to Follow Up
As with any lesson, talk with you kiddos about the activities and use them as a springboard for conversation and/or modifying your own emergency preparedness plans. Feel free to add your favorite ideas and links in the comments below. And for a complete scope and sequence of kids’ preparedness, click this link. Happing prepping!
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