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Viking People

This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. You can explore the Viking people with your whole family together!

1st thru 4th grades
5th thru 8th grades
9th thru 12th grades

Layers of Learning Unit 2-4
Unit 2-4: Vikings, Norway, Special Effects, Viking Art

The Viking people activity is a history exploration from Layers of Learning Unit 2-4. Layers of Learning has hands-on experiments in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.

The Vikings were northern people, sometimes called the Norse, who lived in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and sailed the seas in search of trade and plunder.  They lived in long houses and huts made of wood.  Their raiding period lasted from 793 when a Viking ship raided and destroyed Lindisfarne Abbey in England until 1066 when William of Normandy, himself a descendant of Viking settlers, invaded and took over England.

Step 1: Library Research

Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about Vikings. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about Vikings, Leif the Lucky, or Eric the Red. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.

Eyewonder: Viking

by DK

Especially geared for younger kids, this book has presents the perfect amount of facts coupled with lots of vivid pictures.

Guts & Glory: The Vikings

by Ben Thompson

Does and excellent job of being full of facts and entertaining at the same time. Should appeal even to reluctant readers.

Sons of Vikings

by David Gray Rodgers & Kurt Noer

Tells the story of the Vikings through biographies of real people who were Vikings. Easy to read.

Step 2: Viking People Exploration

You will need colored pencils (or crayons or paints) and a Viking World Map.

viking_world_map_1
Click on the map to the printable.

Color a map of the raiding routes and areas of trade and settlement of the Vikings.  Many countries of Europe would eventually be run by Viking people, including Britain, France, Russia, and Southern Italy.  Vikings also fought as mercenaries in places like the Byzantine Empire.  On the map below you can see some of the routes their ships took when they were raiding or trading.  You can also see where they made permanent settlements.

1st thru 4th grade
5th thru 8th grades

For younger ones only: Viking People Craft

For the Viking People Craft you will need crayons, glue, scissors, and the Viking People printable.

Click on the image to get the printable.

To make the Viking people craft, print onto regular paper or card stock. Color the people and their belongings. Cut out all of the parts. Glue the rectangular bodies into a cylinder. Then glue together the head, arms, hair, feet and other body parts. Finally glue on the weapons and belongings.

You can try making your own hairstyles, helmets, weapons or other objects for your people.

Step 3: Show What You Know

Present your map to a group. Explain the map out loud. Take questions from the group.

If you made Viking people, write a short biography about your person. What is his or her Viking name? What does she or he do to support their family? Have they been on a raid? Do they like going on ocean voyages? Make it interesting by learning as much as you can about how Vikings lived their every day lives.

Additional Layers

Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.

On the Web

Visit the BBC Bitesize web page about the Vikings.

It has interactive images you can click on to learn more about a Viking’s weapons and ships.

Additional Layer

Vikings wrote in runes, or at least their priest class did. Maybe others did as well, but we don’t know because they mostly wrote on skins, paper, or wood, which disintegrated long ago in the northern climates.

This is a rune stone that was found near Uppsala, Sweden. The only runes we still have are those carved on stones like this.

Learn more about the runes of the Norse.

Famous Folks

Vikings settled at least temporarily in North America in around 980 or so, about 500 years before Columbus.

In this picture Erik has horns on his helmet, but real Vikings never actually had horned helmets.

The leader of the earliest expedition to America was Erik the Red. Learn more about him.

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