Is there a more iconic figure from your childhood than Smokey the bear? The legend of Smokey originated from a real bear that was rescued from a wildfire in the forests of New Mexico in the 1950’s. He quickly gained popularity nationwide and became the symbol for conservation and fire safety everywhere. Stories, songs, and poems have all been written as a tribute to the great bear to teach kids the importance of fire safety. HelpsGood apps have now released an original story that will surely add to the legend of America’s most beloved bear with Smokey Bear Books: Campfire Kids. The app has a narrated version, read it myself, plus links to other books and information. All words are highlighted, helping early readers to become more independent and confident.
Dad and the kids are out for some camping fun, and fire safety tips are placed throughout the story. Did you know while in the open country that where you place your car may potentially start a fire if the exhaust pipe is too close to tall grasses? Hiking and lying on their backs staring at cloud formations are some of the nostalgic activities the family pursues. When Dad drifts off for a nice nap, Harold and June decide to gather wood for a campfire. I love how the authors relate to fire safety in such a natural manner, displaying both thoughtful planning and the potential consequences of being an impulse in our actions throughout the story. After constructing their campsite, who should appear – Smokey himself! The developers have really outdone themselves with the story, narration (in parts by the big bear himself), and art work. Seeing Smokey appear really gives the story that comfy cozy just give me one more s’more type feeling, and cements the lessons in your mind. There are promises for more in the series, and what a wonderful rotation of books this will prove to be in reinforcing both conservation and fire safety.
Building a campfire responsibly has quite a few steps and repeated readings will help kids learn. Playing games such as “what comes next?” or simply playing or reading around a play campfire would lend itself to sequencing the steps of building and putting out a campfire. This app would also be a great project based learning unit or perhaps a play. There is a link to the website…at http://www.smokeybear.com for teacher’s resources, Smokey’s history and games. Check it out!
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.