The endless days of summer are so fun for children, but as parents it is sometimes difficult to find things to keep them engaged all the time. When I took my children on a pretend African safari hunt, it kept them engrossed in creating and playing for over half a day (some of that time with me, and some of it on their own). In this post, I’ll go through all the details of creating a memorable African safari for your children at home.
A basic overview of the process would look something like this:
Learn about safaris,
Print and hide animals,
Go on a a safari
1. Learn About Safaris
When I told my children I wanted to take them on an African safari, they didn’t know what I was talking about. Whoops. So we started by watching a YouTube video about safaris. We saw the people riding in jeeps and using their binoculars to search for animals and that gave them the background they needed to be excited about our safari here at home. It also gave them a clear picture of what they were trying to make, so they could use their own creativity and problem solving skills to make their jeeps.
2. Make Jeeps
Making jeeps was a critical component of what made this activity last so long. I tried to give them as much autonomy as their age allowed to create their own jeep. I gave each child an old cardboard box with the flaps folded inside. I then let them color and paint their jeeps however they wanted. To help the jeeps stay up while walking, we punched holes in the boxes and put some rope through them to create our jeep suspenders. We also created wheels and a steering wheel for each jeep. One child chose to staple their wheels and the other chose to glue them. Spoiler alert: the hot glue worked significantly better than the staples.
3. Make Binoculars
This was as simple as stapling two toilet paper tubes together, attaching string to it, and letting them decorate it.
4. Print and Hide Animals
While your kids are painting and decorating their jeeps, you can find and print off pictures of various African animals. I printed off pictures of about 12 different animals. (If you’d rather not take the time to find your own pictures of animals, we have pictures of animals on an African map and the associated animal pictures for sale here for $1.99)
Hide the pictures of the animals around your yard.
5. Go on a Safari
After the animals have been hidden, and your children have made their jeeps and binoculars, they can actually go on their safari hunt! Make sure they know how many animals they’re trying to find. After they find all the animals, they can hide them over and over again for each other.
BONUS IDEA: If it’s really hot outside, you could give each child a squirt gun to help “cool off” the animals when they find them