Get Outside: Create a Neighborhood or Backyard Safari - Free Printables Included!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
No matter what the situation, we are always looking for ways to spend more time outdoors, right? It's hard to encourage kids (and adults!) to unplug and take a walk or bike ride. For added inspiration, I created an idea for neighborhood interaction (although you can do this in your own yard, too). I hope you'll join me and spread the GET OUTSIDE initiative!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon, but you can also find some suggested products in your favorite local business shops, too!

I may just add some new ideas to this post if something pops in my brain, so be sure to Pin it for future use!

A Neighborhood Safari encourages families and neighbors to get outside and enjoy time together. It gives kids a fun, attainable goal and encourages creativity. How does it work? All instructions are included in this post, as well as free printable safari checklists and instructions for neighbors! Don't have any neighbors? Can't find participants? You can hold this same safari all on your own in your yard or neighborhood. You'll just be responsible for all of the animals instead of just one!

Neighborhood Safari

If you live in a neighborhood with many families (or even cooperative homeowners!) a Neighborhood Safari just might be in order. Here's what you need to do:

1. A designated Safari Leader should find a few neighbors who are willing to participate (there are twelve animals on my checklist, but less neighbors or more can participate, it's up to you!). There is a print-out of instructions that you can give each participating neighbor, with fill in the blanks for dates and contact info.
2. The Safari Leader should assign each neighbor an animal from the checklist. The animals on our list include:

lion, cheetah, giraffe, rhino, ostrich, gazelle, zebra, elephant, hippo, crocodile, gorilla, hyena

*note that I added a second printable safari checklist with more animals for larger neighborhoods. This list includes all of the above animals as well as leopard, wildebeest, vulture, meerkat, baboon, warthog

(if you need to add more animals, there are blank spaces on the checklist. Neighbors can also be assigned more than one animal, it's up to you!). *Addtional safari animals can include: warthog, wildebeest, vulture, leopard, baboon, meerkat and any others you can think of!

3. Safari Leader should keep track of which animal they assigned to which neighbor, to avoid duplicates and animals they can't locate.
4. Have your neighbors place a photo, drawing, paper cut-out, or some kind of creation of their animal in a visible location (can be in their window, on their lawn, on their front door, etc.). The idea is for children to be able to see the animals while taking a walk or bike ride. They should be in plain sight and easily identifiable.
5. Each participating child will get a checklist of animals to look for. When you venture out on your "safari," be sure to bring a crayon or pencil (for checking off what they see), and maybe even a pair of binoculars. A clipboard for your checklist is also helpful! Depending on the age of your participants, you can even dress the part, with fun safari gear and hats.
6. When your safari is through, you can celebrate with a surprise or treat, or just a high-five for completing the journey!

photos courtesy of D. Hotra

For a printable list of instructions for 
your neighbors, click here.

Below is the printable checklist of safari animals to look for. Click on the upper right hand corner of the image to print, or click this link for a basic print out. Safari Leaders can print a copy for each participating child or give them the link to this page so they can print their own.

*Please remember that this is all for personal use and not to be reprinted on another website or publication without my permission! That would be stealing, after all. Lastly, please share your adventures with me! Tag me @TheJerseyMomma on any social media page (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) so I can see how much fun you're having!!

Need a larger list? Here's a checklist featuring 18 animals for larger neighborhoods! Printing instructions are the same as above. You can also click and print for the pdf file here.

Looking for fun safari gear or books? Check out my Amazon affiliate links below:

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