Think! Education

Activity 1: When do I need to hold hands?


10-15 minutes


  • A digital projector and screen connected to the internet for the interactive Flash activity

In this simple online activity a series of images of different places are shown. The question in each case is 'Do I need to hold hands with a grown up here?'

The scenarios are:

  • a busy town centre
  • a playground
  • a busy car park
  • a country footpath crossing a field
  • a quiet street.
  • outside school

Right and wrong answers are not provided on screen. Whether or not children need to be holding hands in a particular situation will depend on their age, where they live, their maturity and any special needs. Generally speaking:

  • Children aged 5–7 should be holding hands with an adult (or holding onto a pushchair pushed by an adult) near busy traffic in town, and in a busy car park.
  • Children at the upper end of the age group may not need to hold hands walking along the street – it is up to their parents or carers to decide.
  • Whether all children need to hold hands outside school will depend to some extent on the age of the child and the location of your school – again, it is up to their parents or carers to decide.
  • The children do not usually need to hold hands in a playground or on a country footpath crossing a field, unless other hazards are present, e.g. a pond or river, or animals.

Children should always hold hands if their parent or carer asks them to, even if they are in a place where there is no traffic. There may be other hazards present, or it may be busy and there is a risk that they'll get lost.

The objective is to get children to think about potential danger and why they should hold hands as well as when. It is also important to talk about the question 'Which side should the child stand on?' (If possible the side away from the road, though this may not be possible if there is more than one child per adult.) Ask 'What might you hold onto instead of an adult's hand?' (The side of a pushchair).

Another key issue to raise in discussion is distraction. Talk about the kind of things that distract children near traffic (talking, playing, animals, friends) and why it's important to pay attention.