Handa’s Surprise is one of the children’s favourite story. Building on their interests and likes, we decided to focus our activities on the story for a month. We did book clubs, arts and crafts, role play and ended with a trip to the zoo to enhance their learning and understanding of the animals that Handa had encountered on her way through the savannah while taking a basket full of fruits to her friend Akeyo.
You can read about our other activities here.
For the zoo trip, we made a checklist with the animals from the story and the children carried the list around the zoo, ticking off the boxes as they found them.
The children engaged fully in searching for the animals on the list and felt a sense of accomplishment everytime they were able to tick one off. And the story of Handa was always in their chats as they tried to remember what fruit each animal took, which was exactly our aim.
But the trip turned out to be much more as the children took the lead. They stopped when they saw a map and asked for our help to find the way. When the map wasn’t helping, under our guidance, they asked a zoo worker for directions to find the elephants.
The highlights of the trip were the chimpanzee encounter and the elephant feed.
For the chimpanzee encounter, we were able to watch the chimpanzees while they had lunch. It was truly an experience watching them swing on the ropes as they raced to get to their food. The children commented on their bodies and ability to move so fast.
The elephant feed was an amazing opportunity to come close and observe the elephant, even feel the touch of his trunk on the hands as it took the food and moved it to its mouth. The children weren’t afraid, surprisingly and talked about the experience a lot after it happened.
The zoo we visited is so big and kind of impossible to complete in one day, especially with young children needing many toilet stops, a long lunch and an interest for anything that looks fun.
I’ll leave you with a challenge.