Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Olympics Unit Study

The Winter Olympics begin in just a few short weeks (February 12-28). I am planning to do an Olympic unit study with my oldest daughter Gianna (almost 6), and my pre-school age son Charlie (4). Our family loves sports, so the Olympics provide a great opportunity to learn about history, geography, sportsmanship, healthy eating, exercise, and even virtues like perseverance and discipline. My children are very young, so I'm not going to go crazy with the idea, but I do want to use our T.V. time in the evening as a springboard for some great learning during our school mornings. I spent some time searching for inexpensive ways to incorporate the Olympics into our February curriculum. First, the free resources I found:

1. Download and print out free flags of the various countries here. They even have color by number options for the flags! I plan to have the kids color in the flag of the host nation--Canada, and about 10 other nations competing in the games.

2. For more in-depth information about the nations and their flags (for older kids), check out the enchanted learning site. Again, this is completely free!

3. For great Olympic print-outs, including coloring pages of Olympic torches, the medals, and different sports, try the awesome clipart for educators site.

4. For great links and more free resources, check out the ABC Teach Directory and also The Teachers Corner (there are helpful age recommendations for each resource on this site).

If you are interested in spending a small sum of money, and want something simple and easy to use--

1. Consider paying $4 to download The Winter Olympics 2010 Lap Book and Study Guide, from CurrClick. The Lap Book is recommended for children ages 2nd-7th grade, and it has gotten good reviews. Since it is only $4, I plan to purchase the book and use it with my K-1st grade daughter.

2. Consider paying $10.95 for The 2010 Winter Olympics Unit Study by Amy Bennett (this has gotten some good reviews on a couple of homeschool parenting boards).

3. Finally, consider purchasing a good world map for your house or schoolroom (or if you have one already, get it out to display it for the duration of the games). We have a U.S. map, but I plan to purchase and laminate a world map so that we can locate the various countries that win medals.

I'd love to hear about other resources that exist (especially free ones) and other ways to incorporate the Olympics into our home curriculum.


texas mommy said...

What about hosting your own Olympics at home with games, races, prizes, etc. on the weekend so Dad can help/participate? I'm sure there are ideas on the web for something like this!

Right Said Red said...

Now that's a mama of boys talkin!

Kat said...

If you wanted to be really adventurous, you could try to incorporate cooking some ethnic foods into your curriculum. This could be simple: You could have an Italy night and cook spaghetti and meatballs, a Germany night and cook sausages and sauerkraut, Morocco could be some kind of couscous, China could be stir-fry, etc.

I hope to have my act together enough to remember to tape the Opening Ceremonies for my kids so that we can watch them together! We still use a VCR for this, but I'm always forgetting to buy blank VHS tapes!

texas mommy said...

Red :-) In the back of my mind I was thinking that I could use the Olympics for justification for the insane and reckless games my boys invent! I have forbidden all racing games that involve blankets over your head or other obstructions to vision.

Mary Alice said...

tex, you wrote:

I have forbidden all racing games that involve blankets over your head

it is amazing that you have to come up with rules like this! I just read that Danielle Bean requires 60 minutes outside for her kids, no matter the weather, and I am thinking of instituting such a rule. An at home obstacle course is a big favorite here.

texas mommy said...

Oh, MaryAlice, if you only knew the half of it! We had to remove the pictures from the wall and the furniture from Dash's room about 6 months ago so he has a mattress on the floor.

B-Mama, your testosterone loaded house does crazy things, too, right??

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