Nina reassured me that... "McGruff actually is as fresh and young as when we grew up learning from him to stay safe. He now even has his own web site and it is fun just for kids. OK, for grownups too!"
You can find some "stranger safety" tips at the FBI website -- share these while making the craft. Talk about hot, warm and cold situations (cold would be when mom comes up to them. Warm might be when they're uncomfortable that someone may be following them. Hot might be when they cross the street and the stranger crosses too)
Grownups -- when teaching stranger safety: BE WARY, NOT SCARY. We don't want our kids to be panicked -- they will be able to deal with stranger danger much better if they keep a calm head about them! Teach stranger safety the same as you would fire safety -- when you teach them fire drills, how to dial 911, etc you don't focus on what a horrible agonizing death it is to be burned in a fire, right? When you deal with stranger danger, focus on the skills and resources they need to avoid the situation, not the horrid things that can happen if they are taken.
Have the kids put on a puppet show (older children can do it for the younger ones). Put the crafts on popsicle sticks to make puppets
Make up a little skit. I like to use Bob the Builder as the stranger -- it's important that kids don't "see" strangers as they do monsters, witches, or ghosts. They need to realize that ordinary, even friendly, looking people are strangers. They aren't necessarily bad people... we just don't know them, so should be cautious around them.
For example, have the boy walk past Bob's house -- have Bob invite the boy inside to have a cookie. What should the boy do? McGruff can pop up to ask and answer the question. (read the
Or... have Bob drive up in his car (you can make one of the car coloring pages, cut out and put on a popsicle stick. Bob can ask the boy for directions to the shopping center. What should the boy do? (stay over an arms length away, etc). What if Bob asks the boy if he can get in the car and direct.
Or... have the boy walking down the street with Bob following. What should the boy do (cross the street). What if Bob crosses the street after him?