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The Olympic games are great fun to watch. They can also be a great learning experience for the kids and the whole family. We always do an Olympics unit study. We learn about the food and customs of the host country. Sometimes we have learn the rules for new sports. How much time you spend on this will depend on your family and the age of your kids.
Homeschooling With the Olympics
We always spend time learning about the host country, which is England this year (the year this was originally written!). A study of England will naturally lead to the independence of the United States. You can cover both World History and United States History at a level appropriate for your kids.
As interesting things come up during the Olympics, we learn about other countries. I like to keep a globe in the room with us while we are watching the Opening Ceremonies. That makes it easy for the whole family to see where the countries are located. Don’t have a globe? Use the computer to look the countries up. You’ll actually get more information about the countries that way.
We’re also making lapbooks this year. Yes, even the teenagers! The one we’re using (linked below) is for high school, too.
Another fun learning activity is for each child to pick a country to root for. They can learn about that country and share with the rest of the family. Have the kids keep track of the medals won by their countries by making a chart.
Homeschooling with the Olympics – Decorating
We also love to decorate for the Olympics. Pull out any flags that you have and the room will feel festive right away. Paper chains are fun to make and hang across doorways or windows. Use red, white, and blue or the colors of the Olympic rings. There are several links below that have coloring pages that can be hung as decorations. One year, I had the kids draw different world flags on index cards and hung them up. The kids loved it when they recognized a flag they had drawn while watching the Olympics.
Here’s my favorite Olympic decoration that we have.
It’s a pennant made in Vacation Bible School by one of my two oldest kids. This was made in 1992, and we’ve used it every Olympics since then. It would be very easy to recreate. Red felt, white felt on the left hand side had a dowel glued to it. The rings are also made out of felt. The words are silver fabric paint.
Check the Linda’s Lunacy Olympics Board on Pinterest for more decorating ideas.
Homeschooling with the Olympics – Food
As part of our Olympics study, we always try a few foods from the host country. China and Italy have been some of our favorites. Two dishes that are popular in England are fish and chips, and bangers and mash.
Fish and chips are breaded, fried fish and french fries. Use your favorite fish and make some fries. Kids will only eat fish sticks? That’s ok. You can still serve them with french fries (from the freezer section, too, if you want).
Bangers and mash are sausages and mashed potatoes. Another easy meal. Serve your favorite sausage with your favorite mashed potatoes. Make sure to tell the kids they’re bangers and mash, though. An interesting tidbit, during the war, the sausages were made with less meat and with added water. So when the sausages were cooking, the water would explode and they would “bang”, and that’s when they started calling them bangers. (That’s from a video I watched online on how to make bangers and mash.)
There are a lot of ideas for Olympics food on Pinterest, I have several pinned.
Amanda Bennett has a great unit study titled Olympics: History, Geography, & Sports.
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