Undoubtedly, a good many of you are presently enjoying watching the Olympic games which are taking place in London at the moment. Our family has been following along and enjoying them as well. We’ve also been taking the opportunity to learn some geography as we hear about the different countries.
One of the tools we have used in this process is Barefoot Books World Atlas, which was written by Nick Crane and illustrated by David Dean. This awesome 56-page book is tailored for ages 8 and up, but my 5 and 3 year old like it just fine. The reason we find it so fascinating is because of all of the illustrations of animals, people and landmarks which are placed on their location on the globe. In which ocean would you find a giant squid? Where is the longest railroad located? What is the Corn Palace (and where is it)?! This Atlas does a good job making kids curious about the world in which they live. We have enjoyed looking at and highly recommend it to you.
Now, this iPad app is just plain fun, that’s what! I sat down with my boys and we explored the globe together, double-clicking on the icons which most struck our fancy. We took turns selecting icons as we were all drawn to different items that we wanted to learn more about. (Mommy was the one who tapped on the Corn Palace. I had to know.) When you double-click on any icon, information about that person, place or thing pops up on the screen. There is an audio selection which is nice for children who cannot yet read but want to know more about the items in question. Sometimes there is video information and always there is a real-life photograph. Zoom in on any particular area or region or zoom out for the “big picture” of our earth. You can “choose your own adventure” so to speak as you surf the globe and see how unique each person and place really is.
Likely many of you are finding ways to bring the Olympic games into your home. Barefoot Books has offered some suggestions for how you can teach Geography to your children by using the Olympics to create interest. Here is a list of activities which they have suggested. It’s not too late to try any one of these and make your Olympic experience all the richer!
- Enjoy some food from the country of your child’s favorite Olympic athlete
- Have a World Atlas app or book handy while you watch the games and learn one fun fact about each country in the competition
- Make flags representing the countries competing in your child’s favorite competition
- Get out that world map and mark it with medal counts as you watch the Olympics together
- Learn how to say Hello in the different languages of the countries represented in your child’s favorite sport
- Read books with your children about the different countries and cultures represented in the Olympics
- Have your child pick an athlete from a different country, then research their training conditions, and discuss why the land the athlete comes from helps contribute to their athletic abilities (ie: marathoners from Africa train in desert heat and higher elevations, etc.)
- When the medals are handed out and the flags go up, the winner’s national anthem is played. Find out what the words of the national anthem mean and sing it with your child
- Learn the capital cities of the countries of the athletes participating in your favorite Olympic sport
- Figure out what time it is in the home country of the winning athlete and help your child calculate the best time for the athlete to call home and share the exciting news with their family
It would be very fun to hear how you and your households are enjoying and participating in the games.
In the meantime, Barefoot Books hopes to encourage youngsters in their fascination of the world in which they live. To encourage you to learn geography along with your chilren, they have offered to give away ONE book and ONE iPad app to one of you! Would you like to win? Use the Rafflecopter entry form to earn several entries each day. This contest is open to U.S. Residents only. We’ll announce the winner on August 13.
Carrie blogs about books and the things she learns from them at Reading to Know.