Adventuring Through Africa

We've been having a WiLd time learning about Habitats in our class for many months now.  But, one of our favorite stops is the Savanna Habitat. 
We tie in our Africa learning at the same time, which carries us through Open House.
Needless to say, this keeps us very, very busy at a time when we are just counting the days.  {Squeeeeel!!!}  But, we still have Open House this week and Report Cards due too.  Calgon, take us away...

One of our favorite Africa activities is the last one we do...not just because it is the last {well, okay maybe a little}, but because it is really such a fun, hands-on way to wrap up our journey through Africa.  Plus, it combines two of our favorite things...eating and shopping. :)

Welcome to Our African Marketplace & Food Tasting Party
This event has quickly become a tradition at our school.  We provide the recipes, but ask families to help us cook up some kid-friendly African recipes for an African food tasting party.  Complete with juice box to quench their little palettes between bites, and a "Food Review" form to fill out along the way, the kids are introduced to foods that they may not otherwise get to try.  Here's what was on our menu this year:

Okay, so it's a bit of a "Carb Fest"...we know.  But, we did say kid friendly and something just told us they may not really lick the bowls clean of some of the other options.  We also like to keep it easy for families because we are asking them to cook for 30.  Most of the recipes came from this book and are very easy to follow:
We had a few parent helpers set each plate with the food, then worked our way around the plate item by item as a whole class.  Stopping to briefly introduce each one, draw a picture and write the name of it on our Food Review forms, and taste.  After tasting a bite, we rate the food ~ not the cook.  
One friend so kindly shares that if they vomit, it wouldn't be very polite...One teacher reminds them that we also might want to use appropriate words while we're about ready to eat...Dig in!
If your class does a food tasting party and you're interested, 
you can grab copy for yourself 
This form would work with any food tasting activity, not just Africa.  
Bon Appetit!

After recess, we gather for our African Marketplace.  As part of their homework the week before, the kids were to bring in 15 items (handmade, gently used, or store bought), 10 pennies, and a beach towel to set up shop on.  We arrange them in aisles and let the fun begin.  
Each child is given a sign for their shop.  One side is "green" and says "Open", and the other side is red and says "Closed".  
Each card also has a number printed on it to determine each child's assigned number for the event. 
Depending upon how many kids we have, we call out a certain amount of numbers at a time to close their shop, grab their pennies and start shopping. It helps to spread the numbers out, so entire aisles are not closed at any one time.  They are able to browse the shops, purchasing items for a penny a piece.  Once time is up, the shoppers return to their stores to sell, while a new group shops. Notice the red megaphone in front...that's just seriously fun to play with so everyone can hear us in the busy marketplace.
While shoppers are shopping, we encourage the sellers to whoop and holler trying to get people to buy from them.  We tell them that in Africa you cannot just sit and wait for shoppers to come find you. You have to draw them to your store.  So the kids shout, "Bracelets! Get your bracelets!" "I've got gum!!"  "Drawings! Only a penny".  It is so eye opening to see America's future sales force in the making.  
We invite the families to come for the event and ask them to wait until the end to shop themselves.  They use their pennies or ours (we bring extras) to buy everyone out ~ So any shop that was a flop ends up selling out!  But, shhhhh....we don't think the kids realize this because there are always a few who go skipping back to class announcing how they "Cannot believe I sold out of everything!".  

Regardless of how their profits end, everyone feels great about their sale and it's an experience they talk about for years to come.  

For us, this event means one more check off our list towards back to report cards...ugh...

Fluttering Through First Grade


  1. This looks like so much fun! I love the food review. We do a little food tasting when we study rain forests, so I'll definitely use this. THank you!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  2. This is FABULOUS! I love the whole darn thing!!!
    Our principal would not allow the homemade foods. :(
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  3. Wow! Those are very cool activities. I admire your energy!!!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  4. We, too, couldn't do homemade foods. Outlawed throughout the district. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your marketplace idea.
    Dragonflies in First

  5. Such fabulous, fun activities! I bet your students had tons of fun and learned a lot, too!

    My brother was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and I recognize the chapatis and sweet balls (they were called maandazi where he lived) from when I went to visit him. Yum! Another really common street food/snack where he was that I bet kids would love is chipsi - essentially french fries cooked into an omelet.

    I'm hungry now!



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