Safety

New game teaches school bus safety

Posted on November 1, 2006

School bus safety is important, but teaching it can be a challenge. Many children just don’t listen to safety lectures, and even when they do, some concepts can be difficult for them to learn.

Fortunately, colorful animation and talking animals can hold a child’s attention and quickly illustrate concepts like the school bus danger zone.

“Ride the Bus Game,” from the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT), is an interactive, computer-based presentation designed to teach primary school children the basics of school bus safety.

The game is incredibly easy to start; it doesn’t require any installation or start-up screens. Just load the CD into a computer CD drive and a purple dragon introduces himself and shows kids how to play. The controls and games are so simple that children as young as first grade can easily play without assistance.

“Ride the Bus Game” actually consists of five sections, all linked by a colorful main menu. The lessons are taught by “The Safety Squadron,” four animated animal characters and a talking school bus. The games are mostly animated safety films, with interactive activities like an electronic coloring book and an animated multiple-choice safety quiz. The focus here is on safety, so the disk is more like an interactive safety film than a traditional video game.

It takes 20 to 30 minutes to finish the game, after which kids can print out a “Safety Expert Certificate” with their name on it.

“Ride the Bus Game” requires a PC with Windows 2000 or better, or a Mac running OS 9.0 or higher. The game encourages kids to print three to five pages, including a “personal information tag,” so a color printer with plenty of paper is recommended.

The game is available for as little as $1 a copy from the MAPT’s Website, www.mnapt.org.

— ROB SLUSSER

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