Countdown is on for the Olympics and it’s a fabulous excuse to both celebrate sport and fit in some great learning! Fantastic teachable moments are tucked into most elements of the Olympics. With so much culture, competition, language, emotion and activity the opportunities to learn things is at an all-time-high.
Don’t miss the chance to follow the Olympics AND help your child broaden their mind. Here are our favourite ideas, for all ages, to enjoy and learn from the world’s greatest.
1. Pull out a map or globe and find all the participating countries (there are 204, this could be a good rainy day project!)
2. Pick 10 countries and identify their flags and watch for them during the Opening ceremonies.
3. Create a flag for the countries your family will be cheering for.
4. Pick 5 top Canadian athletes to learn about and find their Canadian hometowns on a map of Canada.
6. THEIR Sport: Watch the sports they play and let the inspiration begin. Have a soccer player or karate kid? Their jaw will drop in amazement. Many athletes have found the power to continue in competition based on the inspiration of the games - open that door wide.
7. What sport is popular in other parts of the world? Fencing is popular elsewhere in the world, why not here? Why is Soccer called Football in the UK?
8. History of sport – what were the first sports in the Olympics? What was the most recently added? Has our country always been in the summer games? Did we ever miss one? What countries have hosted the Summer games? What year did Canada host?
9. Host a Mini-Olympics in the backyard. Set up a pretend for races, cartwheels for gymnastics and laps in the pool. Invite neighbourhood kids to your local field for a soccer match or track and field races.
10. Watching humans achieve incredible feats is a fabulous science lesson. How DOES that athlete move his legs so fast? How does the gymnast flip like that? Pull out a basic anatomy book to talk about the extraordinary body and how its muscles work.
11. Nutrition and Fuel – what do their bodies need to energise themselves for such high level sport? Discuss healthy choices and how a protein packed breakfast is a better food choice than junk. Try eating like an athlete during the Olympics.
12. Science makes athletes faster – point out the diving caps and slick uniforms the athletes wear in order to be as aerodynamic as possible. Every half second counts and science makes them faster.
14. Read the daily standings together – even if you don’t get the newspaper at home, this is a great chance to pick it up together and read it daily.
16. Watch the times of the races and have your child do the math between finishers. Discuss the point of difference and what that means in a race placement.
17. Olympic Math: Add up the # of countries (204) and the # of athletes (10,000) and divide to figure out the average team size.
18. Look for the numbers in the news stories like: # of athletes, Olympic village has # number of beds, Canada has sent 277 athletes versus China with #..... Talking about numbers always leads to more numercy dicussion and more math!
19. Countdown the number of day until the Olympics and also during the Olympics.
20. See how many ways you can create the 5 Ring Olympic Logo – trace round plates and bowls, and colour or paint them in
21. Make your own medals and have a podium presentation to Gold, Silver & Bronze. Salt Dough is a super way to create permanent medals.
22. Create a series of flags or banners representing many participating countries.
24. Winning and Losing – great open discussion on this topic and how all athlete comes to the games to WIN but just being there is a privilege.
25. Perseverance, Persistence and Passion. Talk with your kids about the dedication it takes to become a world champion and the daily effort these athletes.
Most importantly, be open to learning something yourself about the Olympics. If you aim to open the world to your children and teach them, you will always learn more too.