We have been studying the Vikings for history the past few weeks. I don’t recall learning much of anything about the Vikings when I was in school, and I distinctly remember being surprised when I learned (in upper elementary) that they were real people and not just a mythical civilization. Maybe I just wan’t paying very good attention to my teachers.
The kids (and I) are having a ton of fun discovering how amazing the Vikings were and reading the sagas and histories of the Viking people. I would guess that my children’s favorite fact they have learned about them so far is that four days of the week are named after Viking gods or goddesses. (Tuesdays – Tiu, Wednesday – Woden, Thursday – Thor, and Friday – Freya.) We have also read the biography of Leif Erikson who sailed to North America in 1000 a.d. and wrote detailed sagas about his short stay there. (Take that Columbus!) And some Scandinavian fiction like Sticks Across the Chimney and The Children of Noisy Village.
We also learned a song about the capitals and countries of Scandinavia as well as a song about Greenland. Both songs are incredibly catchy, and they have been stuck in my head for weeks. I may want to box my own ears, but at least I will not forget the capitals or attributes of the Scandinavian countries. Ever. Seriously – the song is stuck in my head right now. Help.
The kids have also been doing some pretty fun Viking crafts. We had already studied Vikings in less depth two years ago and had made Viking shields and swords. We may have to do it again, though. It was so much fun!
This year Isaiah made a dragon ship out of Legos
And the kids worked as a team to build a long house. We cut the rounded ends off tongue depressors for the siding and used grass for the thatched roof. They looked up Viking furnishings in a few of their books and got busy making the inside look as authentic as possible.
We’re nearly done with Vikings for the year, and there are still a few crafts and activities I want to try. They were truly an amazing people (although Melora has pointed out several times that they could have been a lot nicer,) and it’s wonderful to explore something new with my kids!