Safari Ltd.

Safari Ltd. began in 1982 with a wide variety of hand-painted collectables and educational information to help educate children about Earth and it’s creatures. Now celebrating our 30th anniversary, Safari Ltd. is so much more than an educational toy. Spice up your next party with an “under the sea” theme, transform a room in to animal oasis, or create a fun cake topper with Safari Ltd. Your options are limitless. Safari Ltd. is the perfect way to add some excitement to your life!

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    Sorting and Classifying with Safari Ltd® Knights

    Sorting and classifying are important math skills for young children. Even the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics lists it as a standard for children in preschool and early elementary. You can help kids learn to sort with buttons and pictures, or you can really engage them by using their favorite Toobs®.

    Children love toys, and when their toys are connected to learning, they find learning even more enjoyable. But how do you teach sorting with a Toob®? Most any set would work, but we tried it with the Knights and Dragons Toob®.

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    You can start by setting the toys out together and having your child sort them into two groups. This is pretty simple with the Knights, as there are 4 each of the red and blue warriors.

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    Then you can make it more challenging by having your young learner sort them into different groups. Given some time, a child can work his way through several different ways of classifying all the knight toys. If he gets stuck, give him hints like these:

    Look at what the knights are holding.

    Look at what the knights have on their heads.

    The goal is for your child to sort the toys as many ways as he can and  to explain his reasoning for each group.

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    Our Toobs® are ideal for this educational activity because they contain around 12 toys and they have lots of variety, so your child can work on sorting and classifying with objects that he is naturally interested in. Then math time transitions into play time!  

    Posted on Friday, April 19th 2013

    Early Math Activities: Comparing Sizes with Toobs®

    Did you know comparing is an early math skill? For preschoolers and early elementary learners, determining whether an object is longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter than another object lays a foundation of math vocabulary that is critical for teaching measurement. Here’s a great way to help young children learn this basic math skill using our Ocean Toob®. image

    Many Toobs® would work for this because of their variety, but the Ocean collection is especially helpful because it contains such diversity of sizes in the animals represented by the replicas. Including models of creatures as small as a Sea Star and as large as a Sperm Whale, this set of ocean toys is ideal for teaching measurement.

    Start by checking that your child understands the meanings of light, heavy, long, and short. Many young children are more familiar with light in terms of illumination, rather than weight.

    Then, grab a few figures from the Ocean Toob® and ask her which one is heavier. The goal is to answer the questions based on the real creatures, not the toys, so she has to think of which animal is bigger and apply the vocabulary to the replicas.

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    There are numerous additional activities once you’ve compared long and short and light and heavy with all the ocean creatures. Try having your child compare three animals at a time. She might even attempt to arrange all 14 toys by weight or length. If you need a little background on the sizes of the creatures, visit the educational information on our website.

    With a basic understanding of the vocabulary of measurement, children will be able to transition more easily to more advanced skills such as standard and metric measurement, comparing geometric shapes, and using measuring tools. All because of a Toob®!

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    Posted on Tuesday, April 16th 2013

    Stages of a Butterfly

    The transformation a butterfly goes through is one of the most amazing miracles of nature. From tiny eggs on a leaf emerges a hungry caterpillar, which spends about two weeks munching on milkweed. 

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    When it’s had its fill, the caterpillar makes a chrysalis, where it again spends about two weeks. Here it makes the awesome transition into a Monarch butterfly. 

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    But how can kids get up close and explore this incredible life cycle? Caterpillars should not be touched because excessive handling can damage them. A chrysalis should certainly be left alone, as they are incredibly soft and fragile at first. That’s where Safari Ltd® Life Cycles can help. 

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    As you can see, the realism is evident, even down to the size of the toys.   Not only can teachers and parents use the toys as visuals when there’s no milkweed handy, but kids can explore them fully; touching, rubbing, and even dropping, with no creatures harmed in the process. 

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    With this collection, it doesn’t matter where you live or what season it is; the awe-inspiring life stages of the monarch butterfly are always available for close exploration. 

    Posted on Friday, April 12th 2013

    Teach History with Toobs

    You already know that Safari Ltd® toys are great for learning about animals, but did you know they can help you teach kids about history too? The Space Toob® is an educational toy featuring replicas from throughout the history of space exploration; plus it’s perfect for 3-D timelines. 

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    Timelines are ideal for teaching history because they give a visual representation of events in the order they happened. This helps learners understand the scope of history, and with a topic like space exploration, a timeline shows how technology advanced and led to greater possibilities.

    That sounds great, and it is. But now imagine a 3-D History of Space Exploration timeline where children can actually fly the rockets and land the astronauts on the moon. 

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    The beauty of these Space toys is the range of history they cover. From Private Ham, the Astrochimp who made a trip to space in 1961, to the Space Shuttle, which made its first mission in 1981, to the International Space Station, which was launched into orbit in 1998, the 12 figures in the Space Toob® take children through over 50 years of space exploration history.

    Using construction paper, newsprint, or even plain copy paper, kids can draw a horizontal line to represent the period in history they wish to cover. Dates and labels may be added to complete the project, with the Space models replacing the pictures on a traditional timeline. 

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    Because children sometimes have a hard time connecting with events that seem to be in the distant past, add a few events to the timeline to give them some context. They might add the year they were born or the year a parent or grandparent was born, for example. 

    When finished, you have a 3-D timeline, but the fun’s not over yet. Children may remove and replace the toys from the Space Toob®, practicing identifying figures. Or you can shuffle them and have children try to put them in the right order.  

    History just got a lot more real and a lot more fun. What other lessons can you teach with the Safari Ltd® Space Toob®? 

    Posted on Tuesday, April 9th 2013

    Old MacDonald Had a Fluent Reader

    Did you know there’s a connection between Farm toys and early reading skills? Two of the five critical skills for developing reading are phonemic awareness and phonics, both of which you can help kids learn with Farm animals like the ones in our Farm Toob.  image

    Here’s how it works. Say, or have your child say, the name of an animal. Then have him identify the sound and letter that the animal’s name starts with. For example, you might pick up a Pig, and have the child make the sound, and then name the associated letter. 

    For more of a challenge, he can identify the sound and letter at the end of the animal’s name. This is more difficult because the sound has to be distinguished from the sounds that come before it. 

    And here’s how it helps. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and identify sounds. Research by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has overwhelmingly shown that phonemic awareness spurs initial reading and continued development of reading skills. 

    Phonics is the relationship between sounds and letters, which is also strengthened with this fun activity. 

    While this reading game could work with any toys, Animals like the ones in our Farm Toob are immediately recognizable and beloved by young children. Visual and Tactile learners especially benefit from being able to see and hold an object while discussing it. 

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    Happy Reading! 

    Posted on Friday, April 5th 2013

    Storytelling with Dragons

    Children love stories. And there are no better stories than the ones they make up themselves. Storytelling allows kids to express creativity, while building their vocabularies and teaching plot structure. Plus, they gain confidence when they get positive feedback for the tales.

    And what better subject for creative storytelling than dragons? Our Lair of Dragons Designer Toobs® contain six colorful dragons, each one a possible centerpiece for a fantastic tale.

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    In this fun activity, children make up legends about their favorite dragons, embellishing as they go. No supplies or planning are required, and this can even be done on car trips!

    Your little storyteller starts by picking a favorite dragon from the lair. Have him give it a name and decide where it lives before beginning his tale.

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    Then it’s off to fantasy land. With one child, she can add to the story as she sees fit, with you prompting if she gets stuck. Ask open-ended questions to get her thinking about her dragon and her story. You might try these:

    Who does the dragon meet?

    What does the dragon want to do?

    When is this story happening?

    With two children, dragon stories can be even more fun, as they can take turns adding a sentence to the story. This gives each storyteller a chance to think up his next twist, and it encourages them to work together to create an exciting adventure.

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    Dragons are perfect for this activity because their unique colors and designs attract and hold attention. Each dragon toy lends itself to different ideas and creative thinking. Making up stories is an enriching activity for children, and it all starts with “Once upon a time there was a dragon…”

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    Posted on Tuesday, April 2nd 2013

    Goin’ to the Zoo

    Are you planning a trip to the zoo this spring or summer? Zoos inspire children’s imaginations and teach them about animals. We’d like to help make your next zoo trip even more educational. With minimal preparation and a little enthusiasm, this zoo activity may turn your next trip into an expedition, with plenty of learning along the way.

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    We want our children to be confident and outgoing; we also want them to be curious and seek answers to their questions. You can build all these skills at the zoo!

    Prepare your adventurers for this zoo activity by having them think of questions they would like to ask the zookeepers. You might have them brainstorm questions before they arrive, or they could choose an animal once they’re at the zoo and think up a few questions on the spot. Younger children love to learn what their favorite animals like to eat and where they live, while older children could think of questions about the animals’ status in the wild or how many young they have at a time.

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    Children gain confidence from interacting successfully with adults, and zoo workers are usually more than happy to take questions from curious kids. Speaking and listening skills are strengthened, and your kids learn some new facts about their favorite animals from a very reliable source. As your children get their questions successfully answered, the zoo and the people who work there take on a new meaning. 

    We hope this activity livens up your next trip to the zoo. How else can you make the trip more educational?  

    Posted on Friday, March 29th 2013

    Rainy Day Animal Art Project

    Spring is here, and with it comes new flowers, new life, and mud…lots of mud. So how can you keep your kids engaged and exploring on those days when it’s just too messy to get outside? How about an art activity that promotes learning about animals? We can help!

    Start by having your children grab their favorite animal toys. Then help them brainstorm ideas about where the animal lives. Focus on questions that kids connect with, such as, “Where does it sleep?” or “How does it hide?” or “Where does it find food?”

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    Next it’s time to get out the crayons or markers and design a setting for their favorite animals. They can easily use white printer paper if art paper isn’t handy. Encourage using many colors to create an appealing habitat for their animal.

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    As they draw, remind your kids about the ideas they came up with earlier regarding where the animals live and sleep. For an extra challenge, older kids can even paint their pictures rather than color.

    The project may take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes depending on the age of your kids and the complexity of their artwork. When finished, they may display their pictures and animals proudly.

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    Have your kids explain why the scene is perfect for their animal, and ask lots of questions about the details. This gets them thinking more about the animal’s needs, and about their artwork.

    Your kids have enjoyed an animal art project and learned about their favorite creatures. Hopefully this makes the next rainy day more enjoyable! What is your favorite educational activity for indoor days? 

    Posted on Tuesday, March 26th 2013

    Not your Average Easter Egg

    Easter is fast approaching! While everyone is accustomed to dyeing eggs, eating chocolate bunnies and partaking in an Easter egg hunt, we have a fun idea to mix up the classic pastel colors– dinosaur eggs!

    If you aren’t familiar with them, we’re talking about our Wild Safari® Dino Babies in an Egg. These fun figures are a unique edition to your kiddo’s Easter basket. Not only does it conveniently coincide with the basic “egg” concept, but it also adds a cute dino toy into the mix.

    What items are you including in this year’s Easter basket?

    Posted on Friday, March 15th 2013

    Tic-Tac-Toe Brought to Life!

    In a previous blog post we shared how to play checkers with our Domestic Cats TOOB® and Dogs TOOB®! For those children who are too young to understand the strategy of checkers, we have another fun game for you to start out with: the classic tic-tac-toe.

    Tic-tac-toe doesn’t always have to be a pencil and paper game!

    Instead of using x’s and o’s, you can use your child’s toys, such as our Frogs and Turtles TOOB®! In this specific TOOB®, there are six turtles and six frogs.  One player can be the frog and the other can be the turtle.

    Then, draw a 3x3 grid on a sheet of paper and let the play begin!

    What other Safari Ltd® toys can you use for tic-tac-toe? 

    Posted on Friday, March 8th 2013