Who’s ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics? We love it all! From the opening ceremonies to the competitions to the heartwarming athlete stories all the way to the closing ceremonies, we will be watching. And as a homeschooling mom, I love the Olympics for another reason: it’s a fun way to teach geography.
This year I put together a little activity that uses our interest in the Olympics to motivate the kids to study geography! It’s super fun and super easy. I’ve included links to the printables I’ve created for this activity, so feel free to use the same activity in your home!
Learning Geography with the Olympics
To begin learning geography with the Olympics, we chose six different countries, one from each of the main continents. My kids chose the United States, Brazil, The Netherlands, Japan, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand. I printed out simple worksheets for each country, and divvied them up between the kids. They researched things like each country’s type of government, leadership, economy, and primary religion.
I also had them name one Olympic athlete from each country and name three sports in which each country will compete. (We only listed one event for Zimbabwe, as they only have one athlete competing.)
Finally, I had the kids past onto the worksheets the country’s flag. We hung the worksheets around our world map, along with a medal count chart I printed out and laminated. On the map, we marked the capital city of each of our countries with a thumbtack. We also put a thumbtack on Sochi, so they could see where the Olympic Games will take place.
We used yarn in Olympic colors to connect each worksheet first to it’s corresponding capital city on the map and then to connect to Sochi. The yarn provides a nice visual as to how far each country is traveling to get to the Olympics!
Learning During the Olympic Games
As we watch the Olympics, we will keep track of how many medals each of our countries earn. Since I laminated the medal count charts, we can just use dry erase markers to update the results each day.
We will also make it a point to check in on the specific athletes we’ve named on our worksheets. It helps make the Olympics a little more personal. I know I’m already rooting for Luke Steyn, Zimbabwe’s first ever Winter Olympics competitor!
And as an added activity, we will commit to praying for “our countries” and their athletes for the duration of the Olympic games.
Would You Like to Participate? Here’s What You Need!
This activity is super easy to put together, If you don’t have all of these supplies around the house, they can easily be purchased at Walmart. We had a lot of supplies on hand, and our purchases at Walmart cost less than $20 total.
- World Map
- Olympics Worksheet (PDF)
- Medal Count Chart (PDF)
- Printable Country Flags. You can search the internet for images. I found many available in this geography activity (PDF) from Homeschool Creations. This is a great geography activity on it’s own, too!
- Laminator and laminator pockets (I’ve used this one for a couple of years. It was a great purchase for our homeschool.) Alternately, you could use page protectors to save money if you don’t have a laminator.
- Yarn in Olympic colors. Walmart carries big skeins of Red Heart yarn in many colors at $2.77 a skein. We have PLENTY left over for other homeschool activities.
- Dry Erase Markers
- Sochi 2014 Banner (PDF) – Optional
Overall, this little Olympic geography activity has upped our enthusiasm for both geography AND the Olympics! Bring on the opening ceremonies! We are ready to count some medals! Learning geography with the Olympics is a lot of fun!