Have you heard of the nation of Togo? Could you find Andorra on a map? Me neither.
With a record 207 nations qualifying to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, now could be a great time to learn a little about world geography. Here are just a few ideas:
- Watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday, August 5. Write down the names of some unfamiliar countries, then go online to look up their location, flag, population, main exports, or other interesting facts.
- Purchase a giant world map and a box of pushpins or some gold, silver, and bronze star stickers. Whenever you watch an Olympic sport, mark the country of the winner (or top three winners, or person with the most interesting name) with a pushpin or sticker.
- Choose a participating country from each continent — North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa — and find some kid-friendly dishes to cook up for dinner over the next week or so.
- Choose a participating country from each continent and learn to say "Hello," "Thank you," and "I love you" in that country's native language. A quick internet search will bring up the results, and often an audio sample too so you can pronounce it correctly.