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Using the Olympics to teach and inspire

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games are in full swing and there are many ways that you can enjoy them with your children.

Inukshuk on ice
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

On the official site of the Olympics (above), there is a Race for Gold prediction game that you can use to teach your child about prediction and probability. Use the Vancouver 2010 mascots to introduce the First Nations' culture, their legends of the West Coast, and the geography of British Columbia, including the mountains, Pacific Ocean and old-growth forests. Or there are online games that your children can play, including Operation Recycle, the Vancouver 2010 Official Minigame and Soaring Sumi.

Watching the competitions, you'll see many different flags and the hear the names of many countries.  Keep an atlas or map close to you and talk to your child about where the different countries are located around the globe. Google Earth is an amazing, free application that you can download for quick reference and incredible images. Ask your children questions about what they're learning. How far away is Lexington from Switzerland? Are there any Kentuckians on Team USA? Why are the Winter Olympics smaller than the Summer Olympics? Can they locate Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on a map?

Let the Olympics inspire global thinking and healthy activities. You don't need to spend a lot of money on hockey equipment or ski lessons to live an active lifestyle. Get outside together for a walk around the block in the snow. Shovel off the sidewalk and turn it into a snow pile that your kids can slide down or jump in. Coming together outdoors and being active is all part of the Olympic spirit.

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