Sometimes, the best way to get learning to stick is to weave it into something your kids are interested in. Like a movie. To be honest, I’m excited about this movie too. Once I saw the trailer and put the release date on my calendar, I giddily started searching for resources and wanted to share with you what I’ve found! I hope your family enjoys them too!
50 Links for Interest-led Learning with Disney’s The Lion King
If you were a kid in the ’90s, you probably saw The Lion King at least a hundred times. This classic animated film is being remade into a “live action” version. How did they train all those animals to talk? Ok, so it’s a modified version of live action that’s actually computer animated, but I’m sure it’s going to look as true-to-life as possible because of the amazing technology involved.
The latest trailer for the film was released on 4/10/19 and my teens huddled together over one of their phones to watch it over and over. And over. And then I got to see it… and I immediately put the release date of July 19, 2019 on my calendar!
Of course, as a homeschool mom, I’m not going to let such enthusiasm go to waste – neither theirs nor mine! I immediately started searching for resources to cover the many topics inspired by this film.
The Many Faces of The Lion King
The Lion King movie is chock-full of topics for examination: geography, animal study, ecosystems come to mind immediately. But if you’ve ever read an analysis of the storyline, you’ll encounter allusions to Shakespeare and Nelson Mandela, Hamlet and apartheid.
But Don’t Ruin the Movie!
Remember that any “study” like this is meant to bring learning to life, not beat it to death. Since this film will be released mid-summer, it’s a great opportunity to focus on making your home a learning-rich environment rather than sharply separating “school” from “life.”
Page through library books, look at the globe, watch a documentary, do some storytelling of your own… keep it light and loose, and your family will trot into the theater with gleeful anticipation rather than mournful dread.
I have two teens and a toddler, so many of these particular things won’t get used in our house, but I hope you find them helpful for having at your disposal to either build a unit study, or some project-based learning, or just to strew about and see what they inspire!
*I grouped the resources loosely by related topic and tried to order them by age-appropriateness from youngest to oldest. As always, please preview any resources or titles for suitability for your family. I’ve also included Amazon affiliate links for many of the books, but as a frugal homeschool mom myself, I’d recommend checking with your local library for availability first!
Unit Studies and Movie Links
Unit Studies 101 by Amanda Bennett for using this list to make your own unit study
Watching the original The Lion King movie with all of its bonus content is a study in itself!
Montessori Preschool Lion King Unity Study from Sugar, Spice and Glitter
The Lion King Movie Study from In All You Do
5 takeaways from the new ‘Lion King’ trailer, from a questionable Scar to heartfelt callbacks from The Washington Post
Arts & Crafts
Foam Zoo Animal Masks craft kit
The Lion King coloring pages from Disney
Make a paper plate lion mask from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Lion King foil art from Disney
African Birds to read, colour and keep by Sally MacLarty
African Wildlife to read, colour and keep by Amanda de Wet
Learn how to draw Pumbaa from Easy Drawing Tutorials
Draw Africa activity book by Kristen J. Draeger
Animation and Film-making
** note that these resources are mostly for older students, and some of the ads on the entertainment websites may not be family-friendly!
The Lion King Stars Look Back on the Making of the Animated Hit from Entertainment Weekly
Is Disney’s New ‘Lion King’ an Animated Film? From HollywoodReporter
Special Effects lesson guide links from NOVA
A Cinematic Journey Through Visual Effects – a TedTalk
Computer Generated Images: The Utilization in Hollywood Films from TheArtifice
The Science & Technology page from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Visual Effects Teacher’s Guide from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
If you’re in North Carolina, you might want to set up a Movie Magic class for your homeschool group at Discovery Place Science in Charlotte!
Take a Musical Journey to Africa from Globe Trottin’ Kids
World Music’s Role in the Construction of a Hyperrealistic Africa in Disney’s The Lion King – a graduate paper submitted to Texas Christian University
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig
Hamlet for Kids with Free Printable from My Learning Table
Reading of Hamlet by BBC Radio
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
[Shakespeare: The Animated Tales] Hamlet on YouTube
Think The Lion King is Hamlet? Think Again. from Playbill
Who Was Nelson Mandela? by Pam Pollack
Swahili for kids from Duolingo
South Africa and Apartheid from Look! We’re Learning
Swahili words in the Lion King from Animation Source
African Geography and Animals
Animals from Africa by Zein Kohzabay
National Geographic Readers: Lions by Laura Marsh
Living In… South Africa by Chloe Perkins
Let’s Explore… Safari by Christina Webb (Lonely Planet Kids)
Wild Cats of the World Coloring Book by John Green
Animals of the African Savannah Lapbook from Look! We’re Learning
See what the North Carolina Zoo is doing to help African Lions
**Don’t forget that if you have a registered NC homeschool, you can call ahead for free zoo admission. Out-of-state homeschools can ask about an admission discount.
Live Safari Cams from Africam
Expedition Africa unit study by Amanda Bennett
Africa :: A Homeschool Unity Study from Eva Varga
Explore Africa Through Streaming Video from BookShark
Do Elephant Graveyards Exist? from Slate