Like their dad, my kids love most sports, but particularly of the football variety, so we are getting pretty excited in our house with the imminent start of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I can still remember waking them up in the middle of the night last World Cup to ride the roller coaster of emotions that was the Socceroos story in Germany. Back in 2006 when my oldest was 7, I thought that to sneak some learning into his love of soccer we would set up the Word Cup Draw on our kitchen cupboards, using the flags of each country.

As soon as the pre World Cup frenzy started, my eldest son suggested that we set up the World Cup draw on the kitchen cupboards again. This is a great activity to do with the kids and there are so many learning opportunities involved with the fun:

  • Geography – We are learning names and locations of countries that the younger children hadn’t even heard of before like Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast in Africa).
  • Maths – So many opportunities here, even the set up of the World Cup itself (see explanation below) with grouping, division, counting by twos, probability etc.
  • Reading – There is so much information available in the media on the World Cup and this can provide excellent reading material for kids of all ages. Not long after the arrival of Sunday’s paper with the World Cup lift out, my nine year old was repeating to me stats about the chances of particular countries and other pertinent bits of info that he had digested.

To set up the World Cup draw you will need to have a basic understanding of how the World Cup works, so here is a very quick summary:

  • There are 32 teams divided into 8 groups of 4.
  • There are two stages: the group stage followed by the knockout stage.
  • The group stage involves a series of round robin games within the group, with every team playing three games.
  • The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage, which is known as the “round of 16″.
  • At the round of 16 there are 8 elimination games played. (Socceroos were knocked out at this point last World Cup.)
  • The winners of the 8 games go through to the quarter finals, where there are 4 matches.
  • The winners of those games go through to the semi-finals, where there are 2 matches.
  • The remaining 2 teams then play out in the World Cup Final.

To set up this activity for the kids at home here is how it works:

  • Print out the flags of all 32 participating countries. Have the kids colour the flags in the right colours.
  • So as you will see in the photo at the beginning, we have 8 groups of 4 flags. All flags will remain on the cupboards until the end of the group stage.
  • Once we know which countries didn’t make it through to the round of 16, we will take their flags down.
  • The teams that are eliminated in the knock out stage are then removed and we will be left with only 8 flags.
  • At the end of the quarter finals another 4 will be removed.
  • Then after the semi- finals it will be down to the last two, then of course only the winner is remaining.

This was a lot of fun with the kids and I have to say that along with them, my knowledge of the countries flags increased last time we did this. The table below has all the teams in the 2010 World Cup set out in their groups. You can click on the links and go through to a picture of that country’s flag that you can print out and the kids can colour in.




South Africa
Korea Republic




New Zealand
Korea DPR
Côte d'Ivoire

Go the Socceroos!

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  • Kelly Be A Fun Mum June 07, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Will have to show husband this. I’m sure he would love to share this with our daughter.
    .-= Kelly Be A Fun Mum´s last blog ..Glass Meets Nature Wind-chime =-.

  • Meeks June 07, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    New Zealanders are sooo excited about being in the world cup! Thanks for all this info!!

  • Gin June 07, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    This is a fantastic idea!

    Thought you might like to know my kids have spent all afternoon colouring in flags, and looking at the countries on our globe.

  • PlanningQueen June 07, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Kelly – My daughter loved it too!

    Meeks – I can imagine. It is such a great sporting event.

    Gin – Thanks for letting me know, lovely to hear that others are having fun with it.

  • Tj June 07, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    What great information – there should be more international events like the World Cup where kids can learn about the world around them.

    Thank you

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