Knock knock.... who's there lesson plan

Aim of lesson

To inform children about doorstep safety.

Lesson objectives

By the end of the lesson, the children should:

  • know what bogus callers/ rogue traders are and what tricks they use
  • know about doorstep safety
  • be able to recall the 3 steps to stay safe at the door

Lesson plan

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Tell the children what they are going to learn about today.

Do not say the words bogus caller or official. Say….

'We are going to talk about safety at the door whether it is the front door or the back door to your home.

Unfortunately, there are strangers who call at doors and try to trick people into thinking they are somebody else. They do this so they can get into the house to steal things or fool the person who lives there into buying things. 

We will be looking at the different kinds of people who may come to your door wanting to trick someone. 

Once we have talked about safety at the door, we will do some activities to help you remember what you have learnt. After the lesson, I'll give you an activity leaflet to take home. I hope you'll also tell the people you live with and your neighbours and relatives about doorstep callers and what to do. 

So what's the aim of today's lesson?

It's to inform you about doorstep safety and what to do when somebody you don't know calls at your door.

We will learn about what we call bogus callers and rogue traders and what tricks they use when they call at your door.

I want you as well to learn and be able to say the 3 steps to stay safe from doorstep callers.

Ask: 'When the door bell rings or you hear knocking at the door, who goes to answer it?'

Write answers on the board.

Ask one question at a time and write answers on the board:

'Who comes to your door?'

"What do they look like? What are they wearing?"

"Do you ever get people coming to the door that you don't know?"

"What do they want?"

"How do you know that they are telling the truth about who they are?"

"How do you think you or your family can check that these people are telling the truth?"

Explain: "Unfortunately, people may come to your door and try to trick their way into your home, distract you or even mislead you about having some work done on your house, garden or driveway. They will make up a story about why they need to come into your home or why work needs doing."

Ask: "What tricks or excuses do you think they could use to get into your home or persuade you to let them do work?"

Write the answers on the board.

The children may come out with answers such as:

Asking to come in so they can:

  • check your water
  • use your telephone
  • use your toilet
  • wait until a neighbour gets home so they can visit them
  • get a ball they have lost in the garden

Saying they are from an organisation such as:

  • a charity
  • the council
  • the police

Offering to do work on the house, such as gardening or building work and saying things like:

  • there is a problem with the house and if you don't have work done it will get worse, for example your roof will leak if you don't get it fixed
  • I have loads of materials left over from another job so I can do the work cheaply
  • we're only in the area for a short time

Prompt these answers if needed - they are some of the most common tricks used.

Ask: "These types of people we have talked about so far have a name, I have already mentioned it earlier on, does anyone know what it is?"

Write answers on the board.

Explain: "The people we have been talking about are often called bogus callers or rogue traders."

(If the children come up with distraction burglars or doorstep criminals, this is also correct, but don't confuse them with these words otherwise).

"Anyone can be tricked, but bogus callers and rogue traders often look out for houses where older people are likely to live. Bogus callers can be men, women or even children.

They use many varied tricks to get into people's homes to steal money or valuables: we have already talked about some of these."

Ask: "Can anybody think about how they might guess where older people live?"

Write answers on board

Ask: "If someone did that to you, how do you think you would feel?"

(Angry – upset?)

Don't write answers on the board; just let them give some answers.

Ask: "People who are tricked are often very upset by the experience so it's important that we try to make sure everyone knows how to keep their homes safe from bogus callers.

What do you think people can do to stop these people coming into their homes?"

Write the answers on the board

Typical answers could be:

  • lock doors (front and back)
  • ask for ID, check the ID and ring the company to check they are who they say they are
  • ask them to make an appointment to come back when somebody else can be there as well
  • use a door chain
  • use a door viewer
  • look through the window to see if you recognise them
  • look for a vehicle parked near the road, has it got the company name on it?
  • ask yourself if the person is expected - if not, don't answer the door
  • password schemes
  • ring the police

Explain: "I am going to tell you about 3 important things we should remember when someone knocks at our door or rings the doorbell.

Locked (write 'Locked' on the board).

We are normally good at making sure our front and back doors are locked when we leave home - we should always make sure we lock our doors and windows when we leave the house. But even when we are at home we should still think about locking our front and back doors.

Get the children to repeat 'Locked'.

Look (write 'Look' on the board).

When there is a knock at the door, it is important not to rush to answer it without checking who is there by looking through a window or a door viewer if you have one fitted. Don't open the door to a stranger.

(If children respond that they can't see the doorstep from inside, say that they should only answer the door with an adult). 

Get the children to repeat 'Look'

Get an adult (write 'Get an adult' on the board).

Even if the caller looks friendly, you should leave the door closed and ask an adult to deal with them if you don't know them. If you don't know the person, ask an adult to answer the door.

Get the children to repeat 'Get an adult'.

Repeat together – LOCKED - LOOK - GET AN ADULT"

Explain: "Let's try acting out what we can do to make sure we stay safe when someone we don't know comes to our door.

Does anyone want to help out?

Choose 3 volunteers and asks them to come to the front of the class:

1 plays part of unknown caller

2 plays part of child at home

3 plays part of adult at home

Give out role play script (see resources for printable script).

Explain: "OK– so we have a caller at the door – and a child and adult at home." (Make sure class knows who is who.)

"Can anyone tell me the first thing we should remember about keeping our homes safe from bogus callers?"

Prompt answer – The doors should be locked!

"Let's imagine that there is a door here, the child is going to hear the knock at the door first."

Start role play…
Caller - "Knock knock."
Child - looks through window and gets the adult.
Child - asks adult: "There's someone at the door and I don't recognise them. Please would you answer it?"
Adult  - opens door, says: "Hello."
Caller - "Hello. I'm just working down the road and wondered if I could come in to check that your water is coming through OK."
Adult  - "Hmmmm. I'm not sure."
Caller - "I really need to come in quickly and check that your water is safe to drink."
Adult  - "Have you got an identification card?"
Caller - "It's in the van down the road."
Adult - "We don't let anyone in without proper ID or an appointment." – Closes door.


Ask: "Do you think the caller was telling the truth and why?" "Should they have let the caller in?"

Prompt answers:

  • no - genuine callers should carry ID cards with them which can be checked
  • no - the water company normally write to people if they are doing work in the area that might affect the supply
  • no - they were making the people in the house worry that the water might not be safe so they would be more likely to let them in
  • no - if the caller was telling the truth they would go to the van and get the ID and come back
  • no - it was right to say "No" and close the door

Ask: "Is there anything else that the adult should do?"

Prompt answers:

  • ring the water company to see if they know about the caller
  • ring the police to say that it may be a bogus caller

Ask: "Is there anything else the adult could have done to answer the door safely?"

Prompt answer:

  • use a door chain

Explain: "Let's check what we've learnt today. Then I'll give out some activity sheets for you to take home". 

Use a beanbag or soft ball for the children to throw to each other to recall learning points. As each child catches the ball they provide an answer and throw the ball on.

Ask: "What tricks do bogus callers use?"

After a while…

"What are the 3 doorstep safety steps we should take when there is a caller at the door?"

Locked – Look – Get an adult

Explain: "I'm giving out some leaflets with fun activities you can do at home."

(See Resources for printable activity sheet download).

"If you talk to the adults in your house about what you have learnt and to grandparents or other older people you will have done your bit!"



Knock knock who's there lesson plan (Word, 316KB)

Knock knock who's there presentation (PowerPoint, 2.5MB)

Knock knock who's there role play script (Word, 15KB)

Knock knock who's there activity pack (PDF)

Supporting videos

Age UK - Bogus callers

North Yorkshire Police - Beat bogus callers


Further information

For any comments or questions, contact the trading standards team.



Page last reviewed: 21 September 2022