6 MONTHS AND UP: - Place the mat within easy reach and guide the child's hand to pat various safari animals. Say aloud, "We can pat the lion--pat pat!" - During tummy time, place the mat on the floor and squeeze and shake the various safari animals to make noises. Guide the child's hand to do the same. - Guide the child's hand as you move the safari animals around the savannah, stopping at the appropriate locations on the mat (the hippo stops at the river, the giraffe behind the trees, etc.).
9 MONTHS AND UP: - Identify the different safari animals: lion, tiger, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, monkey, zebra, hippopotamus, and crocodile. Help the child to pat each safari animal as you say its name. - Encourage the child to hold, shake, and squeeze the different safari animals to hear the various sounds. - Separate the safari animals by sound (3 of each) and reinforce the commonality of each group (rattling, crinkling and squeaking). - Place a safari animal on the floor, facing the child but slightly out of reach, and encourage the child to reach and grasp to pull it near.
12 MONTHS AND UP: - Call out the name of one of the safari animals and ask the child to try to locate it on the play mat. Or, guide the child"s hand to find the chosen safari animal after it's identified. - Ask the child to identify the different colors on the safari animals. Say a color name aloud and guide the child's finger to point to a safari animal with that color. - Line up the safari animals in a row and count them aloud. Ask the child to pat them along with you as you count.
18 MONTHS AND UP: - Help the child to match the safari animals to where they live on the savannah--help him or her place the crocodile in the river, the lion on the rock, etc. - Help the child to count the safari animals as he or she puts them into the storage bag. Then, have him or her open the bag so they all spill out! Count them with the child as he or she places them on the mat.
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