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Savanna Safari Game

Nermeen
by
Dr. Nermeen Dashoush
Clinical Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
and Chief Curriculum Officer for MarcoPolo World School

Looking out the window on a long car ride can be pretty mundane. Let’s face it, how many times can you spy something green with your little eye? It’s a tree again! Looking for another game to liven up your car rides while nurturing your child’s curiosity and love of science? Try transforming your car experience into an African Savanna safari.

How To Play

One player starts by pretending to look out of the window and saying, ‘Did you see that?’ or ‘What’s that over there?’ That player is the safari spotter. The other player (the seeker) asks for information on what the first spotter just ‘saw.’ That’s when the fun begins! The spotter gives three clues, and then the seeker can ask as many as two questions, such as, ‘Is it a carnivore?’ or, ‘How many legs does it have?’ before guessing the animal.

The Benefits

Besides learning scientific information about living things, there are many other benefits to this game. When children are engaged in imaginative play, they develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. As they provide and listen to clues, they use deductive skills and develop descriptive language.

Furthermore, as you play with your child, you are modeling an interest in science. Children who see their parents or other role models demonstrating curiosity are more likely to develop their interest in science.

Animals

The African Savanna is full of some of the world’s most amazing creatures. Below are some fun facts to get you started on your imaginative safari.

Puff Adder

This venomous snake is found throughout the African savannas. Its diet consists mostly of rodents, amphibians, and birds. It’s not a very fast snake, so it depends on ambush to catch its prey. The puff adder hunts at night. It has been spotted sticking out its tongue and mimicking the movement of a caterpillar. It tricks its prey into getting closer to catch its ‘wiggly treat’ and then it strikes.

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Giraffe

Yes, we know they are tall! In fact, they are the tallest land animal, at three times the height of an average adult human. However, there are many more interesting facts about the giraffe. A giraffe only sleeps 30 minutes daily and has to sleep standing up to avoid predators. It also stays safe by staying in groups. A group of giraffes is called a tower! Although they are gentle herbivores, they are not helpless. If a predator makes its move, a giraffe can make a run for it or deliver a mighty kick with its back legs.

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Baobab Tree

Not only are the animals of the Savanna remarkable, but the plants are too! One look at the baobab tree and it's clear why this tree is often described as being upside down. Its impressively large trunk can hold up to 40 people, and some have been used as homes and even stores. Animals rely on the super vitamin-rich fruit of the baobab. The baobab tree is perfect for the African Savanna because it can store water from the rainy seasons that help it survive during the dry season.

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