The World Cup is the perfect chance to bond with your children over a month of top quality football. But it is also an opportunity to help them learn. With so many teams from across all corners of the globe converging on Qatar for the tournament, you can enjoy a thrilling festival of sport and widen your kids’ knowledge of the world at the same time. And, let’s face it, learning when you don’t realise you’re learning is often the best kind of learning, right?
How to use the World Cup for learning
One of the most obvious ways to use the World Cup as a tool for learning is to look into the geography of the teams. One of the real joys of major tournaments is settling down to watch two random teams battle it out on the pitch. Yes, you have no connection to either Portugal or Ghana, but there will always be one team that you favour for some reason.
When one of these games happens (they meet at 4pm on Thursday 24th November, by the way), you can build up to it by seeking out the countries on a map and learning some fascinating facts about them. You never know, you might discover a bit of trivia that tips the balance in their favour and means that your household backs them on the day.
As well as understanding the facts about the countries in the World Cup, you can also get online and discover more about the wide array of cultures in attendance too. This can be a real eye-opener for kids who might not have travelled to other countries or might have only visited other western European nations.
The World Cup is a perfect chance to find out how other people, including children their age, live in different countries and continents.
When building up to a game, once you have decided who you are going to support, get your kids to design posters backing their chosen nation. They could create banners, flags and more, celebrating their adopted team for the day. Get those crafting skills working and then decorate the living room ahead of kick-off.
As you build up to the big match of the day, you can build the excitement by researching and creating edible delicacies from the countries in action. This is particularly handy because your kids learn vital kitchen skills and you all get delicious goodies to scoff as you cheer on your adopted teams. This is very much to be encouraged.
You know when you visit a country on holiday and you learn a few words like “please”, “thank you” and “two beers please” just to show willing? Well, transfer that to the World Cup by learning some words of support for your chosen teams with your kids. You could learn the words for “go [insert country]”, “shoot!” and “goal!” ahead of kick off.
The World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to practise maths with your children. In the group stages, you can look at the points each team gains as well as their goal difference and then work out what each team needs to do to qualify. With so many stats, you can work out who has the best minutes-per-goal ratio, as well as all manner of other insights into the performance of the players and teams on display.
Prepare for the World Cup
To properly prepare for the World Cup, get hold of the latest edition of BBC Match of the Day magazine. It’s packed with features and previews of the world’s most exciting sporting tournament. These include an exclusive interview with Gary Lineker, a World Cup quiz and the chance to make a magic World Cup dice to predict what is going to happen!