50 Resources for an Interest-Led ‘Lion King’ Study

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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.

African sunset image credit: kai kalhh from Pixabay

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

The Lion King Remake Ignites Big Debate: Is it Animation or Live-action? From MovieWeb

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

Roaring Success of ‘Lion King’ Musician from CNN

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


Shakespearean Influence

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

Common themes in The Lion King and Hamlet Infographic on Tumblr

[Shakespeare: The Animated Tales] Hamlet on YouTube

The Lion King and Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Similarities and Differences from Owlcation

Think The Lion King is Hamlet? Think Again. from Playbill


African Culture

The Soccer Fence: A story of friendship, hope and aparthied in South Africa by Phil Bildner

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


Click below for a FREE PDF with journal pages
to go along with your ‘Lion King’ study!

1 thought on “50 Resources for an Interest-Led ‘Lion King’ Study”

  1. Pingback: Easy Lion Themed Snack for Kids - Homeschool Hideout

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