The temperature is rising, the heat index is well over a 100 and the kids cannot go outside. But of course since they can’t be outside on a hot summer day they are board and have some extra energy to burn. I encountered that same problem not too long ago so we came up with a cool idea that kept the kids busy all day. The cool thing is that the idea below can also be used outdoors once the temperature decreases.
Create an Indoor Safari to Beat the Heat
First, set the tone. While you are setting up the ‘safari’ have the kids watch a background video about the animals found in Africa. A good example is below. Its only 5 minutes long but it’s a nice overview.
Next provide the kids with a copy of these blank coloring sheets and have them color them in. They can color one or all depending on level and time.
Print out a few more animals (in color if you can), multiple copies if you wish.
While the kids are coloring the blanks ones, cut out and hide these animals around the house. Hide them all over (behind doors, on chairs, behind cereal boxes on the counter, etc) and be creative. I generally hide them where they are visible to the kids and tell them that they are not in drawers, cabinets or under couches. This rule does help out. Try not to let the kids see where you hide them and keep a count of the number you hid so you can make sure they find them all before they move on.
After the kids finish coloring the sheets from earlier cut them and hide those as well. The kids love when they find the one(s) that they worked on earlier.
Let’s Go on a Safari
Once everything is hidden, tell the kids they need to ‘document’ the animals in the desert. This is the part that can vary and the sky is the limit to how you proceed. When I do this I give the kids a notepad so when they find the animals they can write down their name. You can also have them document where they found it. If you printed multiple copies of the same animal you can have them tally the number of each species they found also.
If the kids have a digital camera have them take pictures to document the animal ‘habitat’. It also serves as a way for the kids to find the animal again should they need it. If they do not have a cheap digital camera I highly recommend them getting one. You can grab one for fewer than 40 bucks. It’s truly amazing what they can do even at a young age with a camera.
If the kids are old enough they can even create a map of the house with the location that each animal was found. After they find all of them you can have the animals ‘migrate’ to different parts of the house and the kids can document their locations. I typically do this 3-4 times. The kids are that excited about it!
Before you send them on their way you can have them gather all of their ‘tools’ into a bag or backpack. It adds to the excitement of what they are about to embark on. Some tools they can bring if they have are binoculars, bug nets, hats, cameras, books, pens, compasses, etc.
Once the kids are done you can have them research each animal they found or you can show them videos about each unique animal.
Have Fun and Stay Cool
If it’s too hot to be outside play into the theme of the heat by pretending to be on an African Safari while letting the kids imagination take them to an exciting place. Let the kids have some fun, learn a few things and stay cool all while pretending to be someplace hot. Once the weather cools you can easily adapt this to outside to make it even more realistic. Enjoy!