The Iditarod starts this weekend - known as the "toughest race on Earth". Kids are intrigued by the idea of mushers and dog teams traveling miles through Alaska's wilderness. A unique topic of discussion with kids -- and here are a few resources that can help:
- Scholastic has some fun online activities for kids - have them decide which trail they would take as a musher in the race. You can also learn about the two different trails that are used in the races.
- Kids will have fun & learn when they play the Serum Run Game on the Official Iditarod site. This famous event in history shows how important dogs and mushers were to the Alaskan towns in 1925 when diphtheria threatened thousands.
- National Geographic for Kids has a quiz about the Iditarod for kids. They can also watch a video about kids who go dog-sledding.
- If your kids love mysteries, they need to read some of Carol Marsh's books. "The Mystery on the Alaskan Iditarod Trail" has quite a bit: mystery, animals and some great facts. (If you are using this in the classroom or for homeschooling, they also have a teacher's guide available.)
- "Storm Run: The Story of the First Woman to Win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race" by Libby Riddles is a first-hand account of what Libby had to endure in order to win the race in 1985 - very inspiring!
- Walt Disney's "Iron Will" is a wonderful family movie that showcases bravery, endurance and determination. Will, a teenager, enters a 500-mile dogsled race in order to help save his family's farm and go to college.
- Disney also produced "Snow Dogs" - a movie about a Florida dentist who inherits a dog sled team. Younger kids will laugh at the funny antics of these beautiful Huskies.