Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics


Olympic_rings_without_rims.svgFlash forward a couple weeks from today: It’s a sticky summer day, and to cool down and spend some quality time with your kiddos, you decide to go home, sprawl out on the couch, and watch the Olympic games. Your child becomes disengaged, or maybe your kid loves the games and is glued to the television. Either way, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to teach your children Portuguese and make them feel a deeper connection to Rio than the screen in your living room. We, here at Little Pim, recognize this language learning opportunity, and luckily, we offer lessons and flash cards in Portuguese that will make your son or daughter speak as well as Gabby Douglas flips in the time of a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash.

olympic-games-kidsSports Vocabulary

The most obvious vocabulary to introduce to your child during the Olympic games would be basic sports vocabulary, like the words for: ball, referee, pool, court, and field. To try to cultivate the strongest correlation between the words you are teaching and an image, it is probably smart to introduce the vocab as its corresponding image appears on the television.

Additionally, since the words you will be teaching them are about being active, you can make the language learning active. Play a game of catch while watching the 2016 games. When you have the ball, say the English word, and have your child say the Portuguese translation upon catching the ball. They can learn more about how to discuss playtime in Portuguese with the Little Pim “Playtime” lesson, which is available for online purchase. This online accessibility means they can sit on the couch and learn Portuguese on any device with the Olympics on in the background.


The Olympics has a record number of countries competing this year, so now more than ever the Olympics is a melting pot of cultures. This presents you with the ability to expose your child to a plethora of different countries. With that, you can teach them how to say each country’s name, main languages, and prominent religions in Portuguese. You can pull out a map and point at the country in question as you go along! If your family has roots in a certain country, this is a great time to introduce a bit of that country’s language too; Little Pim lessons could probably help you do so!


The number system is critical to any language, so it is a good place to start when learning Portuguese. As the shot clock winds down or the race is about to begin, have your son or daughter count down in Portuguese. They will be ready by New Years to count down to 12 AM in Portuguese!

Start by counting numbers 1-10 in Portuguese, then go backwards to start the countdown:

10 – dez 5 – cinco
9 – nove 4 – quatro
8 – oito 3 – três
7 – sete 2 – dois
6 – seis 1 – um


As each athlete’s statistics are plastered across your television screen, you can teach your little one the words for goal, assist, point, etc. This can be a particularly great exercise with little boys and girls who have already developed a passion for sports

(it is probably genetic) and enjoy memorizing statistics from player cards and a teams’ websites.

sports-vocabulary-kidsPersonalize the Activity

If your son or daughter is especially fond of one sport that will be performed during the summer games, make sure to focus on the vocabulary relating to that sport. This will make the language learning of greater value in their eyes, and thereby more fun for them.
For example:

Basketball Soccer Tennis
Hoop = aro Cleats = chuteiras Tennis net = rede de tênis
Rebound = ricochete Corner kick = escanteio Volley = voleio
Foul line = linha de falta Header = cabeçada Advantage = vantagem

Get Involved As a Parent

If you are fluent in Portuguese or have never heard a word of it, speaking the language with your kid makes it a group activity as opposed to a chore. Additionally, if your whole family wants to extend your exposure to Brazilian culture beyond language learning, please refer to a post coming out soon about fun activities infused with Brazilian culture that you can do right at home.

Portuguese Flash Cards Volume 1Vocab Reinforcement

For the words to stick, a child needs to become familiar with them by hearing them a number of times. On your way to a mall or weekend get-away, you can review the Portuguese vocab in a fun trivia-like format. The Little Pim flash card set could serve this purpose really well!


Teach Love and Kindness

Sports have the power to transcend countries’ borders, racial divides, and social differences. That power is what makes the Olympics such a beautiful thing to watch, especially today when these issues run rampant in our society. Teaching your child the English words for unity, equality, fairness, and sportsmanship, for example, is a powerful action in it of itself. Imagine the power of teaching them these words in yet another language, like Portuguese.

By teaching your child another language at a young age, you accomplish many things. You make them smarter, you differentiate them from other children their age, and you ultimately make them more valuable to our society and a potential employer. Above all of those things, you make them sensitive to and connected to another country, culture, and way of life. In learning a new language, they are learning to respect differences instead of hate them, just as sportsmanship teaches. Language learning is powerful. Sports are powerful. Rio is the perfect opportunity to combine sports with language learning, an action that could have an amazingly powerful impact on your child.

P.S. It will also be fun!!

To get you started:

“Creating Peace” Vocab List
Unity = unidade
Fairness = justiça
Equality = igualdade
Sportsmanship = espírito desportivo

Sochi Olympics Bingo!

olympics bingo header

olympics bingo header

The 2014 Winter Olympics is being held in Sochi, Russia, creating the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to not only the excitement of Luge and Speed Skating, but to basic Russian winter sports vocabulary as well.

We’ve made learning even more fun with this Sochi Olympics BINGO! To create your own bingo card using our word list, or your own special Olympics words, click here.

olympics bingoWinter Olympics Russian Vocabulary List

  • спорт [Sport] – Sports
  • зима [Zi-ma] – Winter
  • снег [Snyek] – Snow
  • Лёд [LYOT] – Ice
  • Cнежинка [snye-ZHEEN-ka] – Snowflake
  • Снежная буря [SNYEZH-na-ya BOO-rya] – Blizzard
  • Холод [HO-lat] – (The) cold
  • Коньки [kan’-KEE] – Skates
  • Лыжи [LI-zhee] – Skis
  • Санки [SAN-kee] – Sled
  • Сноуборд [snow-BORT] – Snowboard
  • Кататься на коньках [ka-TAT’-sya na kan’-KAH]
 – Skating
  • Кататься на лыжах [ka-TAT’-sya na LI-zhah]
 – Skiing
  • Кататься на санках [ka-TAT’-sya na SAN-kah]
 – Sledding
  • Кататься на сноуборде [ka-TAT’-sya na snow-BOR-teah]
 – Snowboarding

If you’re interested in exploring Russian more with your children, check out our great Little Pim Russian programs here.

Get Ready for Sochi with an Olympics-Worthy Winter Moviethon

baby olympics movie

baby olympics movieThe 2014 Winter Olympics will be here soon (February 7, 2014)! To introduce your children to some of the events that will be featured in Russia this year, try watching one of our favorite family-friendly movies about winter sports. Added bonus? An excuse to snuggle up with your little ones and savor a movie during the Academy Awards season. And since we know not many parents have time to hit the movie theaters, we included one for you to watch without kids as well.

5 Family Friendly Winter Sports Movies

1. Miracle – The true story of the underdog United States ice hockey team that competed in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. This edge-of-your-seat story shows how a team comprised of US college students took on the might Soviets. Great movie; even greater story.

2. Mighty Ducks – For a more kid-centric introduction to ice hockey, try this Disney movie about junior players at the bottom of their league who come together to play in the junior championships. This is the Bad News Bears of winter sports, but with such soaring popularity that a real team was named after them – the Anaheim (home of Disney Land) Mighty Ducks. Note: If the kids like this one, there are two follow-up films, D2 and D3.

3. Cool Runnings – Jamaica has a bobsled team! No really, that’s the real-life premise of this movie about a team of Jamaican bobsledders who started out as warm weather sprinters, but went on to compete in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. This is both laugh-out-loud funny and inspiring, in true Disney style.

4. The Cutting Edge – Also set at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, this movie is about figure skating and the Olympics, but that’s as realistic as this pic gets. Still, there’s a love story, figure skating, a hockey player learning to skate and no gross-out humor, so it’s a sweet intro to figure skating for kids.

5. Downhill Racer – OK, it’s from 1969 and stars a young Robert Redford– but you don’t need to tell your kids that. They’ll just focus on the excitement of downhill skiing in this classic winter sports movie.

PS – Bonus for adults only*:

*Men With Brooms — A raucously funny look at curling – yes, curling, the winter Olympics sport that combines bowling with sweeping (yes, sweeping, like with a broom) on ice. Unfortunately, a few foul language choices give it an R rating, making it a late-night adult viewing option.

10 Ways to Teach Your Kids about the World through the Summer Olympics

10 Ways to Teach Your Kids about the World through the Summer Olympics

10 ways to teach your kids about the world through the summer olympics

The Summer Olympic Games offer a great way to bring your family together and expose your children to new cultures, places, and sports, as well as lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. This years Summer Olympics are being held in London ( , starting July 27th and ending August 12th.

Here at Little Pim we’ve come up with 10 ways to help kids engage with the Summer Olympics while learning about the world and having fun! Most of these activities are appropriate for ages 3 and up.


1. History of the Games


The Olympic Games are certainly fun to watch, but they also have a rich history. Tell your kids about how the ancient Greeks started the games to honor their gods and goddesses. This is also a great time to slip in a lesson on the Olympic flag whose five rings represent the five major land areas and the field of white represents peace.



2. Create A Dream Team


Have each child assemble a Dream Team of his or her favorite athletes from around the world. It’s a great way to practice budding writing skills—or make a collage! Select a few to focus on and learn about each athlete’s event and country or nation of origin. Make flags to support your athletes and if they win an event, celebrate by singing their national anthem or making a special treat from their homeland!


3. Medal Pool


Assign each child in your home (or team up with another family) a country for one of your family’s favorite events. If that country wins any medals, give the winning country’s patron a special prize. A great way to celebrate victory is by cooking/buying something from that nation or playing the national anthem. Taking on a country to support is a great way to expose kids to new places and people- help them do some research on their country and make flags to cheer on your team. You can also post a kid-friendly map of the world to help them see where these countries are. Here is one we like!


4. Geography Game


Every time a new country wins a medal, help your kids find it on the globe or map. If they can name a major city in that country they get points. You get extra points for knowing some words in that country’s language or languages!



5. Olympic Torch Obstacle Course


Kick off the Olympics with your own Olympic Torch run. Set up an outdoor obstacle course at dusk, and send each child through with a lit flashlight. Time their speed and the winner gets to pick the first event that your family watches! Here’s the schedule.


6. Create your own Olympic Games


Set up a series of fun outdoor activities for your kids and make it into your own mini-Olympics. Beanbag tosses, three-legged races, and jumping contests can all be incorporated into the Olympics theme. The winners of the events get to wear homemade medals. Make sure there are prizes for all participants and runners-up so no one feels left out.


7. Mascots!


Have your family create their own mascots for their countries or Dream Teams. Stuffed animals make great mascots and having your kids involve their favorite toys will help them stay engaged in watching the events.



8. Food


Preparing to sit down as a family and watch something together means you will have to have some snacks on hand. Make cooking into a cultural event! Make something from a different country represented in the games. Or, make Olympic ring cookies that your kids can decorate with different colors of frosting or sugar.


9. Flags of the World and Coloring Pages


There is no shortage of available Olympic-themed coloring pages and teaching tools online. A great way to help your kids stay engaged while you’re watching the games as a family is to have them color in these pages (good for an activity during commercials too). They can decorate your house with flags of the world or pictures of their favorite athletes and events.



10. Viewing Parties


Some families like to get together and have neighborhood Summer Olympics viewing parties.  You could even have different rooms be focused on different activities—some for learning, some for play, some for food, and some for watching the games!


Have fun! Amusez vous! Diverti!