Botswana: Elephants and Diamonds

Botswana is home to more African elephants than any other country. African elephants are the largest land animal on Earth and can live to be 70 years old! They use their long strong trunks to smell and breath just like we do with our noses, but they also use them to drink, trumpet and grab things. African elephants have two fingerlike features on the end of their trunks that they can use to pick things up in addition to wrapping around large objects to pick them up.

To get the kids thinking like elephants we did a trunk challenge!

Elephant Trunk Challenge

This is a fun, easy game for kids of all ages. The older they are you can create a multi-staged challenge where as with younger kids you can simply challenge them with single tasks.

You will need…

  • Gray socks
  • items to pick up

Instruct your little elephants to put the sock on their arms- this will be their trunk!

Present them with different sized, shaped and weighted items and see how they can pick them up like an elephant.

You can time them for added challenge or give them a series of tasks…

for example: Pick up a water bottle, pour the water into a cup, drink the water 🙂 It would be a fun addition to a summer water day!

Edible Diamonds

Did you know that in 2019 diamonds made up 60-85% of Botswana’s export earnings? It’s true! One of the largest diamonds in the world was found in Botswana last year and it is a 998-carat high white diamond. There are also blue diamonds that have been discovered in Botswana. So we decided to make our own blue and white diamonds!

You will need…

  • 2 cups water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • jars
  • string or skewers
  • coloring/ flavoring
  • close pins

Start by dissolving the sugar into the water in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat.

Once all the sugar is dissolved remove it from the heat to cool slightly.

Soak your sicks in water while the sugar melts and cools, then coat in sugar- if using sting simply get them wet and then coat with sugar.

Portion your sugar mixture into the different jars. Add color and or flavoring- 1/4 tsp should be more than enough of an extract. I used orange extract with orange color; cinnamon extract with 3 drops blue and 1 drop black; vanilla extract and no color for the white diamonds.

Place your stick or string in the jars- make sure that they don’t touch the bottoms of the jar. Cover with a paper towel and leave them for a week.

One week later you should have sugar crystals growing on your stick/ string and you can enjoy your rock candy!

However if you’re like me, it goes wrong and no crystals grow on the stick but instead on the walls of your jar….

This was after 1 week…

So after no change and waiting 2 weeks, I chiseled out the crystals on the sides and we enjoyed some delicious diamonds without a stick 🙂

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