Searching for fun, hands-on activities for your Africa lesson plans? Your kids will love these ideas and projects. The book list, resources, and hands-on activities will give your elementary aged child a peek into the sights and history of Africa.
We have loved traveling around the world for kindergarten. Our Africa Continent Study was one of the most engaging and memorable parts of our “travels.” I’m excited to share some of our favorite Africa activities!
Africa Activities for Kids
◊ Make a Map of Africa
One of the very first activities he did was color a map of Africa by region. We referred back to the map often.
I love having a map he worked on up on the wall while we study. Coloring our own is much more memorable than pointing at the laminated world map on the wall!
As you create your map some things to talk about:
- Names of countries
- Biomes of Africa (dessert, grasslands, rainforest)
- Animals that live in each region
- Point out the Nile river (2nd longest river in the world)
◊ Build an Africa Puzzle
He did a more map work with our Africa Geo Puzzle. Puzzling right through breakfast!
The pieces are study, thick, and each piece is shaped like the countries to form the continent. Puzzles are great exercise for the brain!
Putting these puzzles together is fun. After working on it together, my son was able to put it together on his own. He found it to be easier than “regular puzzles” because the pieces were all different shapes, colors, and sizes.
As you’re putting the puzzle together:
- Name the countries
- Compare the size of one country to another
- Compare the puzzle to the regions of Africa map you created
- Talk about places you’re familiar with or have read about
◊ Tell an African Folk Tale
Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folk Tales was a fantastic, fun, and funny introduction. This collection of stories retold by many authors shares the lively and fantastic tales from Africa.
You will also love the gorgeous illustrations of Africa and all its beauty. Each folk tale has its own unique voice and image.
These stories range from 1 page to several pages, so take it in small bites. You don’t have to read the entire book. It’s a big one! Many of these make lovely bedtime stories, so don’t be surprised if you child wants to hear about Africa from morning to night!
More ideas for African folk tales:
- Talk about how many of the folk tales personify the animal characters
- Find the moral of the story
- Compare the animals in one tale with another
- Write your own folk tale with animals or pets you know -or-
- Continue a tale about the same animals from a favorite story
- Watch the (now familiar) stories come to life with Tinga Tinga Tales on YouTube
◊ “Visit” Africa
Cosmic Kids Yoga is a favorite in our house for all three of my kids. Even the little guy gets in on the downward dog. I just love using Cosmic Kids with our units. A great way to incorporate a little movement into our day.
◊ Learn about African Animals
One series that we have referred to again and again this year is National Geographic Kids First Big Books. These books have such beautiful images and give a kindergartner facts in an easy-to-understand and engaging way.
This is a fantastic series to begin practicing using text features like table of contents, index, captions, page titles, and tables.
Take a look at cheetahs, giraffes, gorillas, and more in Big Book of Animals where you will find animals arranged by habitat. Then have fun with some African animal activities:
- Put a sticker on your Africa map where different animals can be found
- Find African animal patterns in real life – can you spot a zebra print? Leopard spots? Patterns that look like a giraffe?
- Take on the characteristics of African animals for pretend play
- Run like a cheetah
- Roar like a lion
- Hide and pounce like a jaguar
- Climb a tree like a monkey
- Beat your chest like a gorilla
- Reach like a giraffe
◊ Go on a Reading Adventure to Africa
If you are traveling around the world, I highly recommend this Magic Tree House. The mix of fact and fantasy is very engaging, and Mary Pope Osborne does a fabulous job bringing the characters to life through Audio Book. I swear my oldest reads with her cadence.
- Mummies in the Morning took us inside a pyramid inside ancient Egypt
- We saw a pride of lions on the African Savannah in Lions at Lunchtime
- In Good Morning Gorillas we visited the mountains and found huge gorillas in the jungle
- Be sure to check out the Fact Trackers in the series, too. This was the third time he read through Mummies and Pyramids!
Kids Movies based in Africa
I was so excited to share The Lion King with my kids! It is one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. I talked it up all week. Then, I put it in on Friday night and my oldest says, “Oh yeah, we watched this one at camp.” My three year old says, “I saw dis one at da gym.” Well, there goes that!
We still all enjoyed movie night together. Friday night is movie night at our house, here are some movies for kids that are based in Africa:
What’s your favorite African animal? Tell me in the comments below!
You may also enjoy learning about Jane Goodall and the chimpanzees.
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