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2012 Olympics: Celebrate and learn about London and the world

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With 205 participating countries, the 2012 Olympic Games offers families countless opportunities to learn about inspiring Olympic athletes and unusual Olympic sports, and also to learn a little about the wide world, which has come together for the Olympics.

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Learn about other countries

Try finding a country you've never heard of, perhaps Cape Verde or Kiribati, on a map or globe. Or explore different countries' colorful flags by making a fun flag handprint wreath, using flag printables from Activity Village. Foodies, young and old, may want to make some food from around the world to celebrate the diversity of the Olympics.

Celebrate London and England

London, which last hosted the Olympics in 1948, boasts a rich cultural history, which was on display during the Olympics opening ceremony. I love this clever double-decker bus made from a cardboard box, courtesy of Entertaining Monsters. Pamela Price at Red, White & Grew contributes this fun idea which teaches some map reading skills: "Download a London tube map and figure out how to get to the various events using public transportation. You could also use Google Maps to 'walk' between various locations."

If you enjoy celebrating with food, this British food glossary will supply you with traditional food items, from bangers and mash to the Ploughman's Lunch. You also can't go wrong serving tea (or juice) with these simple scones.

England has also provided the world with a lot of wonderful music. If you haven't introduced your kids to The Beatles yet, now is the time. Start anywhere in the catalog and work your way around. The earliest songs are great to dance to and the latest ones are fascinating for older kids. Speaking of dancing, British 80s New Wave music is sure to get toes tapping and heads bobbing.

Enjoy the Olympic Games and their window on the world.

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