It’s almost August and, if your family is like ours, you are eagerly anticipating the 2016 summer Olympics. From gymnastics to track and field to water polo, we eat up the sports, competition, and national pride. In fact, one of our favorite nights of the year is the night we gather to watch the Opening Ceremonies, reveling in the country outfits, flags, and drama that has become the first night of the Olympics. And, as homeschooling families, you are probably looking for educational Olympic activities for kids that will get them into the spirit of the games while keeping them focused on their school work. This year capitalize on Olympic fever by making it a springboard for learning with these Olympic activities for kids of all ages. We are not sure who will have more fun- you or your homeschoolers!
The Best Educational Olympic Activities for Kids by Subject
- Choose a country and have your children follow the Olympic standings, adding up the points for gold, silver, and bronze medals to keep track of the overall country race on their own. Be sure to predict who you think will win along the way and discuss how the predictions were right or wrong at the end!
- Spend time learning about the many Track and Field competitions. Then, choose a country and calculate their overall distances and times, charting out how fast they are at different distances and jumping trials.
- Study the trials of Track and Field and chart one country’s results by each competitor. Then, chart the actual race results to compare how each competitor did from trial to race. Predict who you think will win. Who improved? Who did not?
- Olympic water sports include swimming and diving, sure, but also many boating activities. Become Olympic engineers and learn about buoyancy and what it takes to make a boat float in this buoyancy lesson from sciencelinks.net.
- Become Olympic physical trainers! Study careers in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science. Learn about how the body works and how it must be trained and managed for optimal performance.
- Bodies, and forces in motion, stay in motion. Learn about the physics of movement with this fun Forces in Action lesson for elementary students! Want some hands on experience? Try these 19 resources and hands-on experiments kids can use to learn more about forces in action.
- Be an Olympics reporter! Choose a sport, country, or athlete and report on their results in the games each day. Create a newspaper with your articles. Don’t forget cartoons and advertisements!
- Challenge your children to do a character study! Choose one athlete you admire to study and research based on their character. Write a speech, letter, or biographical essay discussing the athletes life, what drove them to greatness, and the character traits you most admire.
- Encourage your writers to create a mock interview for their favorite athlete or coach. Draft questions then watch the news and athlete interviews on youtube.com before writing how you believe the athlete would answer. Consider sending a letter to the athlete or posting the questions on their Facebook page!
Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece (hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896
- Research the history of the Olympic sports and create a project to show you are learning. Think poster, PowerPoint presentation, play, etc for your final presentation.
- Have your children pick their favorite Olympic sport then research and identify the most famous events, happenings, and records. Not into sports? Focus on the history of the games as it relates to their origins and how they were instituted in modern times. Create a digital or poster timeline, like this one from zappas.org; that records these important events and what makes them so unique to the history of the sport.
- Experience the Olympics from other time periods. Travel through time by completing this Journey Through the Olympics WebQuest from WayBackMachine.org.
- How much do you know about each country represented at the Olympics? Take some time to research a country you and your students don’t know much about. Make sure to learn their history, customs, traditions, and specialties in the Olympics and write a report showcasing what you have learned!
Of course, you should also learn the rules and try each sport as part of your physical education unit. Be sure to log hours to gain credit for your sweat and toil! Make it into a competition by having each member of the family choose a country to represent, make flags, t-shirts, etc. and count points for each sport. Ask other homeschool or neighbor friends to join in on the fun!
Get into the games this summer with these educational Olympic activities for kids and adults. Then, tell us how they worked for you in a comment below!
How do you plan to celebrate the 2016 Olympic summer games?