Animal Challenge: Botswana and Namibia

Our world is full of amazing animals who can do amazing things! While learning about different animals we challenged ourselves to see if we could do some of the cool things they can do.

Botswana: Elephants

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 šŸ™‚ It would be a fun addition to a summer water day!

Namibia: Cheetahs

Namibia is proudly known as the “Cheetah Capital of the World”, almost 1/3 of the world’s cheetah population lives in Namibia. Cheetahs are the fastest animal in the world, topping speeds of 70 miles per hour! They use their long muscular tails for balance, stability, and steering while they run. They are also masters of stealth, they can silently sneak up on their prey before breaking into high speeds in 3 seconds flat. Cheetahs are amazing creatures!

Cheetah Craft and Activity

To learn all about cheetahs and their speed, I set up a test for Martin. By setting up a few simple race courses I was able to time him as he ran through each test like a cheetah. But before we could test his skills he needed his own cheetah creature power!

To make Cheetah Feet you will need:

  • Yellow craft foam
  • Black paper
  • White paper
  • scissors/ glue

Start by measuring your athlete’s foot, you want the cheetah foot to be larger than their foot. Then draw the 4 toed cheetah foot on your yellow foam. Next draw rounded triangles on the white paper for the toe nails and varying sizes of squares, circles, and triangles on the black paper.

Cut everything out and have your athlete glue it all in place!

Once the feet are dry, cut out a hole for your athlete’s ankle and they are ready to wear.

The Challenge…

You will need: Space to run and a stopwatch (I used the one on my phone).

With the cheetah feet on, have your little cheetah run back and forth and time them, see if they can go faster each time!

Next place simple soft objects in the way so they can bob and weave around them, time them again and compare.

You can also place a stuffed animal at one end of the room and see how fast they can ‘catch’ their prey.

The options are endless, this can be played inside (like we did) or outside, you can up the challenge every time and other kids can race or you can focus on beating your own time! In the end cheetahs are super fast, but the big question is how fast are you?

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