Cultural Safari: Digging Up Africa's History

By Jeanette Larson

Books to Share

African Beginnings by James Haskins

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From by Catherine Thimmesh

Sundiata: Lion King of Mali by David Wisnieski

We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs

Books to Show or Booktalk

Mary Leakey: Archaeologist Who Really Dug Her Work by Mike Venezia.

National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Africa: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Africa's Past by Victoria Sherrow

Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 by Patricia McKissack

Rift by Beverley Birch

Bulletin Board

Jambo Means Hello

Cover the bulletin board with colored paper. Cut out hand patterns in a variety of colors (use skin tones but also other colors, if desired). Use a multilingual dictionary or website to find out how to say "hello," "welcome," and other words in a variety of African languages. For example, Jambo is hello in Swahili. WikiHow, http://www.wikihow.com/Say-Hello-in-Different-Languages, is one website that provides translations.

Refreshments

If your community has an Ethiopian restaurant, ask the owners to prepare typical dishes for the children to sample. If that is not possible, make some injera bread following the instructions available from the University of Pennsylvania's African recipes website, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Cookbook/Ethiopia.html#Recipes.

Songs

Walking Through the Bush

(Traditional Zulu children's chant.)

Walking through the bush, what do I see?

I can see an inyoka (een-yoh'-gkah)looking at me. (a snake)

Walking through the bush, what do I see?

I can see an ufudu (oo-foo'-doo) looking at me. (a tortoise)

Walking through the bush, what do I see?

I can see an indlovu (een-dloh'-voo) looking at me. (an elephant)

Walking through the bush, what do I see?

I can see ikhozi (ee-koh'zee) looking at me. (an eagle)

Action Rhymes

We're Going on a Lion Hunt

(Traditional. Adapted by Jeanette Larson. The leader speaks the lines and has the children repeat them in a call and response fashion while making the indicated actions. In between repeating lines, the children can slap their hands on their thighs in rhythm.)

We're going on a lion hunt.

I'm not afraid. (point to self, boastfully)

I'm going to catch,

A big lion! (spread arms out wide)

But look! (hold hand over eyes, looking into the distance)

What's that ahead?

Uh-oh!

There's mud ahead! (lift feet as if wading through mud)

Can't go over it. (lift up feet)

Can't go under it. (make a swooping motion with hands like digging)

Can't go around it. (move hands in a round motion)

Better go through it. (shake head indicating "yes")

We're going on a lion hunt.

I'm not afraid. (point to self, boastfully)

I'm going to catch,

A big lion! (spread arms out wide)

But look! (hold hand over eyes, looking into the distance)

What's that ahead?

Uh-oh!

There's a lake ahead! (make swimming motions with arms)

Can't go over it. (lift up feet)

Can't go under it. (make a swooping motion with hands like digging)

Can't go around it. (move hands in a round motion)

Better go through it. (shake head indicating "yes")

We're going on a lion hunt.

I'm not afraid. (point to self, boastfully)

I'm going to catch,

A big lion! (spread arms out wide)

But look! (hold hand over eyes, looking into the distance)

What's that ahead?

Uh-oh!

There's a gate ahead! (swing arms like opening and shutting a gate)

Can't go over it. (lift up feet)

Can't go under it. (make a swooping motion with hands like digging)

Can't go around it. (move hands in a round motion)

Better go through it. (shake head indicating "yes")

We're going on a lion hunt.

I'm not afraid. (point to self, boastfully)

I'm going to catch,

A big lion! (spread arms out wide)

But look! (hold hand over eyes, looking into the distance)

What's that ahead?

Uh-oh!

There's grass ahead! (raise up on tiptoes like you are peeking above the tall grass)

Can't go over it. (lift up feet)

Can't go under it. (make a swooping motion with hands like digging)

Can't go around it. (move hands in a round motion)

We'll have to crawl through it. (shake head indicating "yes")

We're going on a lion hunt.

I'm not afraid. (point to self, boastfully)

I'm going to catch,

A big lion! (spread arms out wide)

But look! (hold hand over eyes, looking into the distance)

What's that ahead?

Uh-oh!

There's a cave ahead! (raise up on tiptoes like you are peeking above the tall grass)

Can't go over it. (lift up feet)

Can't go under it. (make a swooping motion with hands like digging)

Can't go around it. (move hands in a round motion)

We'll have to walk into it. (shake head indicating "yes")

It's dark in here. (speak quietly)

I see two shining lights. (raise two fingers)

I feel something furry.

I feel a c-c-c-cold nose. (stutter the words a bit)

I feel s-s-s-s-sharp teeth.

It's a lion!!! (scream quickly and make a frightened face)

(Recite the next section as quickly as possible, quickly making the actions indicated)

Run out of the cave! (run in place)

Crawl through the grass! (raise up on tiptoes)

Open the gate! (motion like opening and closing a gate)

Swim across the lake! (make swimming motions)

Wade through the mud! (raise feet like they are mired in mud)

Run into the house! (run in place)

Close the door! (pretend to slam the door)

Run up the front stairs! (run in place)

Jump in bed! (act like you are jumping into bed)

Pull the covers over your head! (act like you are pulling the covers over your head)

Safe!(pantomime relief by wiping your brow)

Audio Recordings

Multicultural Songs for Children by Ella Jenkins

Reader's Theater

Faraway Home

Make copies of the script created for Jane Kurtz's book, Faraway Home, available at http://www.janekurtz.com/books/farawayhome_rdtheater.pdf and invite the children to do reader's theater.

Crafts

African Sand Paper Art
Materials
  • Sandpaper, various grades
  • Crayons
  • Patterns provided for this activity
Directions

Purchase sand paper in various grades of coarseness. If necessary, cut the paper into half or quarter sheets so that they are a reasonable size for the children to use. Copy the patterns provided in this activity, as well as examples from books, to show the children examples of African sand art. Families and animals are popular topics. Recreate the sand paintings of the African desert by using crayons to color on sandpaper. Use black or brown crayons for the outlines and then fill in with other colors.

Safari Binoculars

Materials

  • Toilet paper tubes (or paper towel tubes)
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons and markers
  • Scissors
  • Thick yarn or string
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • Hole punch
  • Colored electrical tape

This is a photo of a pair of Safari Binoculars crafted from two tubes covered with turquoise paper and held together with black electrical tape and a string of blue yarn to go around the neck.

Photograph by Debbie Gonzales; used with permission.

Directions

In advance gather enough toilet paper tubes to allow each child to have two. Alternately, cut paper towel tubes into two equal pieces. Distribute two tubes to each child. Use the crayons and markers to decorate the tubes. Decorate one edge of each tube with colored electrical tape. Cut a 2½" inch-wide strip of construction paper lengthwise in a color that complements the electrical tape. Decorate the construction paper. Punch a hole at the end of each paper tube. Glue the two tubes together lengthwise to create binoculars. Wrap the construction paper strip around the tubes and glue in place. Glue a plastic bottle cap in the middle of the strip to simulate a knob. Thread a thick piece of yarn through the holes and tie it to serve as a strap.

Paper Camera

The best safaris include photography. Follow the instructions from EHow, http://www.ehow.com/how_4471927_make-paper-camera.html, to make an easy to fold paper camera. You can also view a video of someone folding a paper camera at Paper Camera Just In 1 Min. at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/420043/paper_camera_just_in_1min/.

Games and Activities

Archaeologist Puzzlers

By using a few pieces of evidence, archaeologists try to determine what happened long ago. Try your hand at using what you can see to figure out what might have been by playing this game. In advance, gather a lot of old jigsaw puzzles that feature animals, scenery, and people. Put a few pieces from a single puzzle in a Ziploc baggie. Try to have a few pieces that actually fit together and be sure not to mix up the different puzzles. Prepare enough baggies so that each group of three or four children can have one. Don't tell the kids that the puzzles are missing a lot of pieces. Let them work for awhile and then stop the activity and discuss what has been going on. Then provide paper and pencils and let the children go back to work. Ask them to write down what they see and what they can infer from the few pieces that they have. For example, they might be able to figure out how many people are shown in the puzzle or what type of animal is represented. After they have finished, show the pictures from the puzzle boxes and see how close they came to figuring out the puzzle.

Web-Based Activities

Critter Cam

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Games/ActionGames/Crittercamafrica

This National Geographic interactive game challenges players to help explorers find the animals of Kenya.

Goody Gold Digger

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Games/MoreGames/Goody-gold-digger

Test your skill at finding gold in this online archeology game.

Odyssey Online

http://www.carlos.emory.edu/ODYSSEY/index.html

Explore the ancient worlds, including Africa, through factual information and games.

Guest Speakers

Ancient Artists

Ask a local art gallery or museum to bring pieces of African art, such as masks and drums, to show the children. Shops like Pier1 Imports may also have items to show.

DVDs/Films

Ancient Africa (23 minutes)

Websites

Lucy's Legacy

http://lucyexhibition.hmns.org/

This online site complements a touring exhibit which includes replicas of the bones of a 47-million year old fossil. Check out the extension activities created by the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences for additional activities and ideas related to Ethiopia and the fossil finds.

Craft Materials

African Sand Paper Art Craft Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (194 KB) (Full Page)

This is a full page of three African animal outlines. One is a reptile looking animal, another is a giraffe, and the third is a rhino.

 



Texas Reading Club 2011 Programming Manual / Dig Up a Good Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011