Today, we are exploring Africa.
First, we would read about Africa in a World Atlas book (buy here).
We love using these animals as language objects during continent unit works as well as for zoology. But what about taking a trip to a real savanna in Africa to see all those fascinating animals up close?
Serengeti Savanna (Africa, Animal Kingdom).
Adrian really enjoys Language Objects matching materials (read a post here), where a child would match a picture to a picture, then an object to a picture (we love using these animals as language objects), and finally, a word label to a label. Adrian, although not reading yet at 31 months, attempts to visually match the labels after matching an animal to a picture.
First, Adrian matches Language Objects: African Animals to a picture on a card that has a label.
All animal figurines are matched up.
Next, Adrian would match a picture to a picture.
Adrian's favorite animal is a zebra.
Matching language object elephant calf to a picture of an elephant with a calf ...
... to a real elephant.
Okapi is the only living relative of a giraffe.
Okapi is unsociable, shy, relying on sound to avoid predetors, with bigger ears than a giraffe.
Okapi is native to Central Africa and although bearing striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. It has a long neck, and large, flexible ears. Its coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs and white ankles.
The smaller skull is Okapi's, the larger one is Giraffes.
A lioness is usually dormant during the day, so it was a rare scene.
Lioness sleeps about 15-20 hours during the day and does most of the hunting at night.
Lions also mainly sleep during the day.
The final step for a non-reading toddler would be to visually match the cut-out label to the label attached to the card with the picture.
Adrian at 31 months was successfully able to visually match all the labels.
Gorillas: they were looking straight at us!
Comparing a scull of a male human to a female gorilla and to a male gorilla.
Giraffes are children's absolute favorite animal: so gentile, so graceful!
Giraffes' marks are unique, just like with human's fingerprints, and there are no two alike! For more on giraffe study, see here "Giraffe (Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study)."
The common ostrich is the largest living species of bird, laying the largest eggs of any living bird.
Ostriches are flightless birds native to Africa. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 70 km/h (19 m/s; 43 mph) - the fastest land speed of any bird.
White Rhino crossing in front of us.
See you soon - fascinating animals of African Savanna!
p.s. Just a Note: we are not in favor of a zoo: where animals are caged, unable to move, hunt, be wild - be themselves. The Savanna in Africa Disney is a completely natural habitat, carefully crafted to resemble closely Africa's ecosystem. It is 800 square miles of natural terrain, including forests, wetlands of the Safi River Valley, and the open bush country of the Serengeti Savanna. To create the 110-acre Serengeti, Imagineers moved 1.5 million cubic yards of earth and planted some 2.3 million exotic plants. Over 300 grasses (75 African) were seeded so that there would be ever-flowering grass.
Native African animals living there are: Antelope, Mandrill, Black Rhino, Cheetah, Crocodile, Elephant, Flamingo, Gazelle, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Lion, Okapis, Ostrich, Warthog, White Rhino, Wildebeest, and Zebra. Overall, there are over 200 different species of birds and animals found throughout this preserve. Notably, many species are endangered or are on the brink of extinction, but thanks to Disney Imagineers, those species might be saved!
p.s. For more pictures, read a post here the Animal Kingdom.