It’s easy to get caught up in the sport and competition of the Olympics – the medal count and the finish line seem to be all-important, and sometimes you forget what the true point of the Olympics is – cultural exchange, learning about other traditions and promoting harmony.
So although your child might be charging about wanting to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Jessica Ennis, there is also an opportunity to learn about different cultures. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling (pardon the sport analogy):
- Talk about the athletes who were involved in the games– which countries have you heard of? Which countries haven’t you heard of? Why do some countries have lots of athletes but others only a few?
- Talk about Olympic and Paralympic values – respect, excellence, friendship, courage, determination, equality and inspiration. What do those words mean? How are they shown by the athletes?
- Do some research with your child about some of the countries they’re not familiar with. Where are they on the map? What languages do they speak? What are the features of their cultures? What is their history?
- Make a collage based around your child’s favourite nations in the Olympics. Include athletes, flags, national symbols and landmarks.
- Explore the Ancient Greek Olympics. What relationship does it have to today’s Olympics? Why was it an important part of Ancient Greece
- Find out about the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin
Make your own Olympic wreath. You will need:
Green card or fake leaves
A plain, stiff headband
1) Cut the card into the shape of leaves (you might want to use a real leaf as a template)
2) Find the middle of the headband and make a mark.
3) Glue the leaves to the band, working from each end of the headband back towards the middle (leaves should be pointing to the front). Leaves should overlap each other a little, making a slight V-shape
Have you used the Olympics to talk about culture with your kids? What has the discussion been about?
Vivienne Egan is a content writer for kids arts and crafts company Yellow Moon.