We headed to Africa to learn about the mighty pachyderms- elephants, rhinos and hippos. When we arrived, one of the first things we did was work at the Wildlife Animal Rescue Hospital. Injured and sick animals are taken there to be examined and treated. We took turns checking in the "patients" and treating them. The hospital's specialty is animals from the wild, but we never turn a sick or injured animal away.
After reading, "Stand Back, Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!",we tried on some elephant trunks of our own, and tried using them for picking up peanut butter crackers and eating them. Elephants are so skillful with their trunks, they can even hold a paintbrush and paint! We gave it a try with our pretend trunks.
Elephants, rhinos and hippos love to play in the mud. We learned that the reason they do this is for protection from the hot African sun- the mud is like sunscreen for these huge creatures. It's also very cooling to their tough skin.
Dipping marbles and golf balls in brown paint (mud), we rolled them around on elephant, hippo and rhino shapes, as we sang to the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider":
The great big elephant (or hippo or rhino) went out one day to play.
Down came the rain and then he (she) couldn't stay.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
Then the great big elephant (or hippo or rhino) played in the mud all day!
We read Hiccopotomus
and Hippo Goes Bananas...fun books about hippos, and we learned that hippos spend a lot of time under the water. They can't breathe under water, but they hold their breath for up to 5 minutes. We practiced holding our breath. We didn't quite make it to 5 minutes.
We played Hippo River Jump. We made a river with jump ropes and took turns jumping over the river filled with hippos. Hippos are pretty aggressive creatures, so we had to be careful not to land in the river. The river became wider as we mastered jumping.
We've had such a great time in Africa learning about mighty pachyderms. We're going to continue to explore the savannas as we head out on an African Safari.