Oliver took a late nap, which meant he'd stay up after dark. I took the opportunity to finally play "Jungle Safari" with him. Jungle Safari is one of the activities in The Toddler's Busy Book. My cousin used to play it a lot with his toddler daughter, so I knew ahead of time that it had the potential to be a very fun activity.I took Oliver's stuffed animals, and I scattered them throughout the room. I think I made the mistake of letting him be in the room with me when I did this. All were right out in the open, except for 'Nanas. Andrew put that monkey in the Lego box with its head sticking out. I turned out the lights, and Andrew used the light from his headlamp to help Oliver find his animals. It wasn't really a game. Oliver ran up, grabbed his animals, and then grabbed his Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed book and asked us to read it. We tried to get him interested in searching for the animals in the dark, but all Oliver cared about was his book. Oh, well!
Andrew sat down and read Oliver his book by flashlight. It was fun and enjoyable, but it wasn't the type of fun I'd been imagining! After reading him the book twice, Andrew grabbed one of Oliver's toys: Twilight Turtle. Twilight Turtle was a shower gift for Oliver from my former coworker, Gail. It lights up with stars and moons. Oliver doesn't usually stay up past 8:30pm, so it's never dark enough to use it! Tonight was different. Oliver loved it. Andrew switched the colors on and off and spun the turtle around, to create a spinning effect. He let Oliver hold the turtle as he raised him up to the ceiling and back down to the ground to show the effect of distance. We'd pretend to "catch" the stars, and Oliver got really into it. It genuinely was enjoyable for the whole family, and next time he stays up late, we want to do both activities again.
Jungle Safari seems like a game Oliver will enjoy once he understands that it's a game. I doubt we'll play it much until the days grow shorter again. There's really no down side to trying out the game, and it's basically free (I assume most kids have stuffed animals and most families have a flashlight, but that might not be the case for everyone). I give the activity a C+, but it has the potential to be something great. As for Twilight Turtle... well, that activity was a blast, but I can't classify it as a cheap or free activity, which is the purpose of these activity posts.