Probably our most beloved subset of the Thrifted Dress-up Chest is our safari gear. We have gotten so much mileage out of it that I started keeping safari items in their own separate bag so we don’t have to haul out the dress up chest each time we want to go exploring. Life is an adventure worthy of exploration for all children, and I’ve thrifted some items that help make that game come alive.
I can’t remember the first time Anthony and Isobel donned the child’s-size safari hats I found while thrifting, but after their first game of “Doctor Livingston, I presume?” we turned it into an elaborate game. I was on the lookout for toddler expidition items and gathered everything I needed while thrifting or at the dollar store.
Games we play:
Indoors: We look for animal tracks, search for kitties, or “save” some of her stuffed animals, a la Diego. We have lots of adventures using our imagination. Anthony gets so into this game that sometimes I just watch them playing together and I smile, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I married the right man.
Backyard: Backyard safari adventures never get old. There’s always bugs to collect, flowers to examine, and birds to watch.
Nature walks: Sometimes we’ll bring safari gear with us on our nature walks. It’s like the backyard safari but with an added “expedition” feel. Sometimes we’ll walk to the park and continue playing there. Sometimes we’ll attract the attention of neighbor kids and they’ll join the fun.
Ghost hunting: Ghost hunting is a subset of safari adventure. What we’ll do is we’ll turn off all the lights down the hall and in our bedroom and use the flashlights to hunt for ghosts. Kingston and Isobel really like to do this together. Obviously you’ll need to control the amount of spookiness to what your child enjoys. Isobel will sometimes scare herself to the point that she runs away, but then she’ll run back just as fast and ask for more.
Most often we play safari at home, but sometimes we pack up our gear and hit the road! Many exciting adventures are to be had:
Sometimes while out Isobel will get an inspiration about something she sees and she’ll turn to me and say, “Where’s my binoculars, mama? Where’s my safari hat?” Clearly I should just keep those on me at all times.
What I love most about this game, aside from how quickly and steadily it captures her interest, is that I feel like I’m teaching Isobel that the world around her is full of wonder and worth exploring.