Freddie is very obsessed with safari animals at the moment, and in the UK the zoo’s and safari’s are reopening so it seemed like the perfect time to pretend to visit Kenya. I have never been to real Kenya and so I have had to do lot’s of research for this pretend visit and the more I have discovered – the more I want to visit for real!
Freddie has a book full of safari animals that he makes me read to him every night and so he was very excited about the trip. He couldn’t believe that the animals he was seeing were real and he loved the fact that he knew all their names. I think his favourite were the monkeys, but he really loved the rhino’s too. I love how pretend travel not only furthers horizons but also gets us out having adventures that perhaps we normally wouldn’t. Knowsley has done a great job reopening after the lockdown, and I know that Zoo’s and Safari parks had been struggling financially so it felt great to be supporting them.
Digging for gems
Kenya is the sources of lots of beautiful gem stones from rubies to amethysts. I found this amazing gem digging kit from Amazon and the kids loved getting stuck in! Penny absolutely loves gems and jewellery and so she was in her element. She also loved learning all about the gem stones. I’m not sure that any of them were from Kenya, but I like to think the amethyst might have been. This was a long project as it was a lot less easy than many similar things the kids have had and so they would come back to it through out the day which I really liked.
Making a Maasai Warrior
Last year, Penny learned about the Maasai at school and so she enjoyed making her warrior and telling us what she remembered. I actually felt rather smug about this craft as I totally made it up from what we had in the drawer rather than scouring Pinterest. We painted our peg dolls and made them a little robe out of the centre of an egg box. We painted the robe red and then waited for it to dry and then drew on the faces and the details. This is also the first time that Freddie has been able to fully join in with a craft activity – he painted his warrior completely himself and even held the pen with me as we drew its face,
Our friends had actually visited Kenya and were kind enough to lend Penny a Maasai tribe outfit with a children’s necklace which they bought back from there. As a History Teacher I am a very firm believer that nothing is better for learning than doing and touching so this felt really exiting for Penny and I and bought Kenya much closer to us!
I found out lots of interesting things about Kenyan food – from the delicious sounding curry to the less amazing sounding fried ants! One thing that surprised me was how popular Indian food is in Kenya, with samosas and biryani’s being some of the most popular food. So because of this we decided to get samosas and make chips masala which I believe is the ultimate comfort food in Kenya. To add a more authentic Kenyan twist we added ugali, which is a sort of soft mushy cornmeal and although we found it rather bland I could see how it would act as a bread or rice. Disclaimer: Cornmeal is hard to find in the UK so we used Polenta.
Mandazi and Chai
When I was looking for Kenyan breakfast ideas I came across these awesome Kenyan doughnuts called mandazi which I thought I would try to make. They are made with coconut milk and the kids especially love cooking so it was super exciting. The verdict was a big thumbs up and they really reminded me of beignets from New Orleans but (probably because I used baking powder rather than yeast for speed) they were rather heavy. Kenyan tea (chai) also sounded delicious and so, although I am the only tea drinker in the house I made myself a pot. I even managed to persuade Penny to try a cup. She hated it (but then she does hate all tea) – I thought it was really quite nice.
The Lion King
The best way to end the day was with one of our favourite movies – we chose the live action version to remind us of the safari and we had a wonderful cuddle on the sofa.