Olympics Homeschool Unit Study – 9 Great Ideas Your Kids Will Love

olympics homeschool unit study

This Olympics unit study can be incorporated into any school year, but of course it’s best in an actual Olympic year! 

The Olympics is always an awesome event and one that’s hard to ignore due to the heavy media coverage. 

Whether it’s the summer or winter Olympics, there are tons of great ways to turn the Olympics into an educational experience and make it part of your homeschool!

Here are 9 great ideas for an Olympics homeschool unit study, as well as lists of recommended books, videos, and projects too.

Free Homeschool Unit Study Planner printable pack

If you haven’t already grabbed the Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s free Homeschool Unit Study Planner printable pack, you’ll definitely want to do that now!

You’ll get 8 different pages to help you plan your homeschool unit study so it’s well organized and perfect for your homeschool. 

free unit study planner

{{Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase at no cost to you. For more information, click here.}}

1. Study the ancient Olympics

A great way to kick off an Olympics homeschool unit study is by spending a few days covering the ancient Greek Olympics. 

The original Olympic Games began in Greece in 776 BC and took place every four years until about 393 AD, over nearly 12 decades! 

There are several great websites that detail the ancient Greek Olympics. Here are some of our favorites: 

The International Olympic Committee has a wealth of information about the ancient Olympics, from the history, information about spectators and athletes, and details about all of the events as well. 

5 Myths About the Ancient Olympics from the History Channel. There’s a wealth of intriguing articles about the modern Olympics here too!

Ancient Greek Olympics for Kids. While this isn’t the prettiest site around, there are lots of great, kid-friendly links about everything from the Greek gods, mythology, and life in Ancient Greece. 

ancient greek olympics

2. Study the location where the Olympics are held

Another fun aspect of your Olympic homeschool unit study would be to study the locations where all of the modern Olympics have been held. 

For a great geography study, your kids could mark each Olympic location on a world map. 

Additionally, your kids could look for historical information about why each Olympic Games were held in a specific area.

Finally, you could find out the announced locations for the upcoming Olympic Games and put them on your map as well. 

3. Learn about the Olympic torch 

The story of the Olympic torch is inspiring and well-worth learning about! 

You could dedicate some time during your unit study to finding and mapping the most recent route of the Olympic torch. 

Or you could learn about those people who have had the honor of carrying the torch or lighting the Olympic cauldron at each of the modern Olympics. 

Pin the image below to come back to these ideas in the future!

olympics homeschool unit study ideas

4. Learn about the Olympic rings, colors and craft

While you’re learning about the Olympic torch, it’s also a great idea to teach your kids about the symbolism of the Olympic rings.

There are also many simple crafts you could make centered on the Olympic ring motif. 

olympic flag with rings

5. Study the different sports in the Summer Olympics

If your kids are interested in learning more about various sports or Olympic events, here is a list of all the of the events in the most recent Summer Olympics held in Tokyo in 2021:

  • Aquatics
  • Artistic swimming 
  • Diving 
  • Marathon swimming 
  • Swimming 
  • Water polo 
  • Archery 
  • Athletics 
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Softball 
  • Basketball
  • 3×3 basketball
  • Boxing
  • Canoeing – Slalom 
  • Canoeing – Sprint 
  • BMX freestyle 
  • BMX racing
  • Mountain biking
  • Road cycling
  • Track cycling 
  • Equestrian – Dressage
  • Equestrian – Eventing
  • Equestrian – Jumping
  • Fencing 
  • Field hockey 
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics – Artistic
  • Gymnastics – Rhythmic
  • Trampoline
  • Handball 
  • Judo 
  • Karate – Kata
  • Karate – Kumite
  • Modern pentathlon 
  • Rowing
  • Rugby sevens 
  • Sailing 
  • Shooting
  • Skateboarding 
  • Sport climbing 
  • Surfing 
  • Table tennis
  • Taekwondo 
  • Tennis 
  • Triathlon 
  • Volleyball
  • Beach volleyball
  • Weightlifting 
  • Wrestling – Freestyle
  • Wresting – Greco-Roman

6. Study the different sports in the Winter Olympics

Or if your kids are interested in learning more about various sports or Olympic events, here is a list of all the of the events to be held in the Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022:

  • Biathlon
  • Bobsledding – Bobsleigh 
  • Bobsledding – Skeleton 
  • Curling
  • Ice hockey
  • Luge
  • Figure skating 
  • Short track speed skating
  • Speed skating
  • Alpine skiing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Freestyle skiing 
  • Nordic combined 
  • Ski jumping
  • Snowboarding 

7. Hold your own at-home Olympics

To culminate your Olympic unit study, you could stage your own at-home Olympics!

Here are some simple “Olympic” events your kids may enjoy:

Running races. Mark out a short distance such as the 100m dash or long-distance races such as the half-mile or mile. Be sure to mark the finish line! 

  • Hurdles. Use small upside-down buckets for your kids to jump over.
  • Trampoline. If you own a trampoline, have a best trampoline tricks contest.
  • Shot put. Have your kids throw a heavy rock in a (very!) open field and see who can throw it the farthest.
  • Discus. Use a simple frisbee instead of a real discus.
  • Javelin. Long, thin, and fairly blunt wooden garden stakes worked well for us!
  • Arm-wrestling. This was our stand-in for real wrestling and it was great. 
  • Gymnastics. Have a handstand contest to see who can do the longest handstand or the prettiest cartwheel contest. 
  • Swimming. If you have access to a pool, have swimming races in several of the different strokes. 
  • Tennis. Find a nearby tennis court and have a mini-tournament.
  • Table tennis. If you happen to have a ping-pong table, you could have a contest to see who can hit the ball the most number of times or carry out a simple ping-pong tournament. 
  • Shooting. If you own a BB gun, set up a target in a large open field and see who can hit the bulls-eye most frequently. 

Pin this image to come back to these ideas later!

homeschool unit study ideas for the olympics

8. Watch “best moments in Olympic history”

YouTube contains a wealth of amazing Olympic videos! Searching for “best Olympic moments” will give you tons of options to watch some of the most iconic Olympic moments in recent history. 

9. Have each of your kids “sponsor” a country

If the Olympics are currently ongoing, each of your kids could choose to “sponsor” a country. This means that he or she would keep track of their country’s medal count, and cheer for their specific country in each event.

Of course, your kids could also learn as much as possible about their country and share what makes their country unique in a book report or oral presentation to the family. 

olympic flags

Best books about the Olympics for your unit study

All of these titles can be found on Amazon and possibly at your local public library too: 

How to Win the Gold Medal in Pajamas by Kobe Nhin – a growth mindset and grit picture book

What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman – from the popular Who Was? Series

The Story of Simone Biles: A Biography by Rachelle Burk – a simple biography for kids ages 6-9

How to Train With a T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals by Michael Phelps – a fun picture book about the value of hard work

Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne. Part of the Magic Tree House series, there is also an accompanying non-fiction Fact Tracker book called Ancient Greece and the Olympics

You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Ancient Greek Olympics by Michael Ford. 

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull. Illustrated by Caldecott-medal winner, David Diaz, this picture book tells the true story of how Wilma Rudolph overcome polio to become an Olympian. 

The Boys in the Boat (Young Reader’s Adaptation) by Daniel James Brown. A wonderful book about the 1936 American rowing team chasing the gold medal in Berlin. 

Total Olympics: Every Obscure, Hilarious, Dramatic and Inspiring Tale Worth Knowing by Jeremy Fuchs. A fun reference book published in 2021!

The History of the Olympic Games: Faster, Higher, Stronger by The Olympic Museum. A beautiful reference book for the entire unit study!

Recommended movies for your Olympics homeschool unit study

Chariots of Fire – the quintessential feel-good Olympic movie. Rated PG. 

Miracle – Disney’s awesome retelling of the story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. Rated PG. 

Cool Runnings – another great Disney adaption of the true story of four Jamaican sprinters turned bobsledders. Rated PG

American Experience: The Boys of ’36 – a PBS documentary about the 1936 U.S. rowing team in Berlin, Germany. Not rated. 

I Am Bolt – the story of Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive and winner of 8 Olympic gold medals. Not rated. 

Fun supplies for an Olympics unit study

While none of these are essential to your Olympics homeschool unit study, they would definitely add some fun and festivity to the whole event!

Plastic “gold” medals with red, white, and blue ribbons

Gold, silver, and bronze plastic medals

Flat plastic rings in Olympic colors

International flags party decor – tablecloth, flag banners, and flag toothpicks

Pin this image to come back to these ideas again!

unit study olympics

Final thoughts about this Olympics homeschool unit study

If you have athletic kids who love sports, or kids who enjoy learning about ancient cultures, an Olympics homeschool unit study could be a great idea for your family!

Be sure to download your free Homeschool Unit Study Planner printable from the Reluctant Homeschool Mama Resource Library to help you get started planning your own Olympics unit study!

Related articles about homeschool unit studies:

5 Easy Steps to Creating a Homeschool Unit Study

Homeschool Unit Studies – What Are They? And Why Do People Love Them? 

Have you considered doing an Olympics homeschool unit study?

Olympics Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Great Ideas Your Kids Will LoveOlympics Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Great Ideas Your Kids Will LoveOlympics Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Great Ideas Your Kids Will LoveOlympics Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Great Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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