Children role-play following the rules while they get on and off the bus.
Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards 3 and 4 year olds Social Studies
Standard 1: Demonstrates basic understanding of the world in which he/she lives.
Benchmark 1.4: Recognizes and/or follows rules within the home, school and community.
Vocabulary: patience, rules, expectations
For this activity you will need: Two or more chairs set in a line to resemble a bus, photograph of a school bus, stop sign, stuffed animals or dolls, steering wheel
Show a picture of a school bus. You might present the picture on a tablet or phone. Ask the child, “What are you supposed to do when you ride a bus?”
After a brief discussion of what the child or group understands about school bus behavior, introduce the video “Let’s Ride the Bus”: “Let’s watch this video to see if there are other things we should do when we ride the bus.”
Watch the short, animated poem “Let’s Ride the Bus.”
Role-play riding the bus. Adults and children can take turns being the driver, passenger, door, and bus stop sign. At first, the adult could model being the driver, giving verbal cues such as “I’m driving to the bus stop. When I stop, the stop sign goes out. The door opens. Someone gets on the bus. Hello, Amy, please find a seat.” The children pretending to be the door and the bus stop sign respond to the driver opening and closing the door. In a classroom circle setting, the teacher could repeat this sequence and pick up all the students in the room. Students could walk slowly behind the teacher once they get on the bus, or they could sit on a row of chairs behind the teacher.
You might use this activity as a transition to the playground or the car line. If just one adult and one or two children are playing, the “driver” could use one hand to represent the stop sign and the other to represent the door opening. Stuffed animals or dolls could stand in for other passengers.
Create a center for more bus play. You might include a steering wheel, chairs, and a stop sign.
Modifications for Children with Special Needs:
For students who need a wheel chair or harness on the bus, role-play the procedures specific to this equipment.
After watching “Let’s Ride the Bus” once, it may help some students to watch the video again, this time without sound and with an adult narrating and pausing to ask questions. During a third viewing, again without sound, the child could describe the behavioral expectations.
Sharing realistic photographs of a child waiting for the bus, boarding the bus, riding, and getting off may help children visualize appropriate behavior.
The video “Let’s Ride the Bus” describes what children should do to make bus rides safe and enjoyable. Riding a bus involves different safety considerations than riding in other vehicles, so children need to learn the specifics about bus safety. The majority of children will ride the bus at some point in their schooling for daily transportation, field trips, or clubs. In most cases, the driver alone is the adult responsible for driving the bus and monitoring student safety. Talking about riding the bus helps children know what to expect and how to self-monitor their behavior.
Children need to understand the rules in boarding and leaving the bus. Waiting can be very difficult for young children. Children must wait until the bus stops and the driver opens the door to approach the bus. When the door is open, the bus’s stop sign is present for other vehicles. Children need to know where to stand while waiting and the importance of keeping a safe distance from the road.
Some children need to cross a road when getting on or off the bus. Teaching them to “look both ways” before crossing any street is very important. In a more general sense, riding a school bus helps children learn how important it is to follow rules if they are going to be good citizens and productive participants in their communities.
Young children may have trouble with transitions. Routines and clear expectations can help them make these transitions. The video is a very positive model of how riding the bus can be a pleasant experience.
Children’s anxiety often has roots in perceiving their parents’ anxiety. Knowing the facts can encourage parents who may be anxious about their child riding the bus to school. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that school buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. Riding the school bus is also an environmentally friendly choice. Preparing children to ride the bus is a great way to make the experience positive and routine.
Have you ever ridden a bus? What do you like about riding the bus?
What rules do you know about riding a bus?
What is a good standing and talking game you could play while waiting for a bus? [Counting cars and predicting (e.g., How many cars will be red?), guessing games like “I’m thinking of something round. What is it?”]
What can you do while you ride on a bus? (Talk quietly, look out the window, play “I spy” with a friend, etc.)
Assign directly to your students using the code or link above, without having them log in. Simply tell your students to go to
www.pbsstudents.org and enter the Assignment Code, or click on the Assignment URL to share the assignment as a link.