Yesterday we went on a a safari.
A safari in the backyard, that is. A group of friends ages 7 through 9 came over, ready to have fun with the book Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The Great African Discovery.
We love the Flat Stanley books. They’re great for guiding a study of another country in a fun way, and this book was particularly conducive to fun safari adventures.
After summarizing the story, the girls found our home state and Kenya on the globe. We talked about how long it might take to travel there and what that kind of journey might be like.
Then it was time to meet Stanley. Oblong Stanley, that is. Like in the book, Stanley was preparing to jump out of a helicopter without a parachute – and it was their job to create a way to prevent any cracking. The girls had lots of fun with this. When the construction was complete, they took their project outside and dropped it off the side of the new deck. Although the basket landed pretty hard, Stanley survived.
Next they prepared for the safari themselves. Armed with party favor cameras and their very best safari outfits, they headed to the backyard to “photograph” plastic animals I had hidden earlier. This reminded me of a giant Easter egg hunt, and the kids were just as excited about finding plastic elephants and rubber snakes as they were about candy bars and quarters.
After finding and playing with the animals, we collected them and returned inside. We had a wide variety of animals, and we hid most of them – even the ones not native to Africa, and so this became the group’s next task: to identify which animals are native to Africa, and which ones are not. After much discussion, they correctly sorted each animal and were even able to identify where the not-from-African animals originated.
By this time everyone was hungry, so we stopped for a packed picnic lunch. After that, the girls “excavated” an assortment of candies from the dirt cakes that my Big Helper had made the night before. While not everyone was a pudding fan, we all had fun finding the hidden candy!
Books can be a lot of fun – the imagining, the pretending, yes; but also actually carrying out the activities happening in the book provide great learning experiences.
If you were to see an activity plan like this for a book and then go use it, what kind of book would you prefer?
** Shared at I Can Teach My Child.