Is your little one making siren sounds in his sleep? Fire trucks and firefighters are fascinating for so many toddlers and children. It must be a combination of the bright red, the flashing lights, and the awesome gear that gets kids so excited. We think this obsession with fire trucks and firefighters is wonderful to teach fire safety, team work and about caring for others and your community. There are so many more ways to have fun and learn with fire trucks than just pushing a toy truck around the living room. We’ve got lots of fun ideas to feed off your child’s excitement for fire rescue that will expand his imagination and teach him a lot of real and helpful information about firefighters too.
Reading about Fire Trucks
We all know how vital it is that we read with our children. However, sometimes our wild little people are too busy playing to willingly slow down to read. Harness your son or daughter’s love of fire trucks to get some extra reading time in. Here are 10 wonderful books about fire trucks and firefighters that you can order on Amazon or look for at your local library.
1. Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee: Fireman Small is a sweet rhyming story about a lone fireman who just wants to go to bed but keeps getting woken up by emergencies. He saves the day and eventually gets some rest. This is a great bedtime story for your fire rescue enthusiast.
2. Curious George and the Firefighters by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey: Everyone’s favorite monkey takes a trip to the fire station and of course, gets into mischief.
3. Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos by Susan Middleton Eyla: This book is beautifully illustrated. We love it because it includes words about firefighting in English and Spanish and some of the Brave Bomberos are women!
4. The Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gergely: This classic Little Golden book shows old time firefighters in action with colorful illustrations and is short enough to keep your youngest firefighter’s attention until the end.
5. Busiest Firefighters Ever by Richard Scarry: Richard Scarry’s books are always filled with engaging, detailed illustrations and this book is no different. You and your kids will go through this book over and over.
6. Lego City: Fire Truck to the Rescue by Sonia Sander: This book is extra fun if your kiddo loves legos and fire trucks. If he or she isn't a lego fan yet, this book may start that addiction!
7. Firefighters: Speeding, Spraying, Saving by Patricia Hubbell: If you are looking for a simple yet fun book for a preschooler who loves fire trucks and firefighters, this is perfect.
8. The Trucker by Barbara Samuels: This is a clever story of a truck loving little boy who wanted a fire truck but got a cat instead. Read it to see how the cat ends up fighting fires with the little boy.
9. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John C. Harvey by Maira Kalman: This book tells the story of a fireboat that comes to the rescue in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. This book is not for toddlers. We would recommend it for teaching about fire rescue and the events of September 11th to elementary school age children.
10. Fly Guy Presents: Firefighters by Tedd Arnold: This book is nonfiction but all the information is presented in an exciting way. Kids 3 and up can learn real facts about firefighters and fire trucks by listening to this book. However, this book is great for early readers because the information is presented in simple sentences and the pronunciation for more challenging words is provided. There are real photos and some of the firefighters are women.
So, get your kids all "read up" on fire trucks and firefighters and then get ready for some seriously fun play time!
Playing with Fire Trucks
We think every kid should have a good fire truck to play with. The possibilities for imaginary play and role playing are endless.
This Bruder Fire Truck is the top of the line toy fire truck. It is built to scale (Model 1:16) with a telescoping ladder and a water tank and hose to really spray water. The doors on the truck open and the truck also has functioning stabilizers to keep it in place when the ladder is extended. Kids can store their firefighter gear in the locker on the truck and they are ready to take on any fire emergency. Go ahead and order the Bruder Fireman to go with the truck. He fits in the truck and on the ladder perfectly and comes with cool firefighter gear, like an oxygen tank and gas mask.
With a little DIY magic, your child can be fighting fires in no time! Get some old boxes and cut out windows from one side of each box to make them look like buildings. Draw and cut out some simple flames from crafting foam or construction paper and have your child tape them to the box buildings. To give your firefighter someone to rescue, stick little stuffed animals in the windows. If you have a truck like the Bruder one that really sprays water, your child will be challenged and entertained trying to aim the hose at the flames. Change up the scene and encourage them to problem solve to get out the fire and rescue the victims! Your kid will build confidence that he can save the day!
Finally, you can take the role playing to another level and let your child become the firefighter. This Melissa & Doug Firefighter Costume is so realistic. You get a coat, hat and badge. It also comes with firefighting tools. Complete the ensemble with these Fire Chief Rain Boots by Western Chief. They are great for imaginary play and do double duty for puddle jumping after a good rain storm.
Real Fire Trucks and Firefighters
You’ve read all the fire truck books over and over and you’ve imagined a hundred and one different rescue scenarios when playing with your mini-firefighter. Thanks to all that reading and all that role playing and imagining, he’s pretty sure he has what it takes to be a real firefighter now. Why not make his dreams come true for a day and go hang out with real firefighters?
Most fire departments offer tours of the station. Look up your local fire department online to see how tours are arranged. For example, one city we looked at set tours up through the fire department headquarters for the entire city. In other cities, you can contact an individual station directly. A fire station tour consists mainly of time with the fire trucks. Your kids can climb all over the fire trucks. They can sit in the seats and see what equipment is really inside the truck, ready for an emergency. Some trucks may have an old time bell on the front just begging to be rung by excited kids. Encourage your child to ask questions. If your child knows the names of equipment on the truck or parts of the truck from all your reading, ask him to point some of those things out to you.
To increase fire safety education, firefighters also attend community events regularly. They visit schools, fairs, libraries and races. Keep an eye out for fire trucks at events like these and take advantage of the opportunity. A quick visit with a firefighter will make your kid’s day!
We hope you and your little firefighters will have as much fun learning about fire trucks and pretending to rescue as we do with our kiddos! Through the love of fire trucks and firefighters you will see their confidence bloom, their problem solving skills sharpen and their ability to work together with others increase. Firefighters are real heroes and we should be so lucky to have our children grow up to be as brave and selfless as the men and women they admire now.
Photo Credits: Kristen Lee Douglas