“Be strong when you are weak.
Be brave when you are scared.
Be humble when you are victorious.”-Unknown
Welcome to our Viking homeschool unit! While reading this post, you will find ideas for putting together a unit study for your K-3rd students on the time period of the middle ages… ships, knights, Vikings, castles and more! This is a 2 week unit that incorporates history, math, art, language arts, & science — and we tied in wind and water energy into this unit, for which there is a separate post. You can find a suggested schedule and supplies at the bottom of this page. Hope you will find something for each of your students here. Enjoy!
Before every unit, I put books on hold from the library, because who doesn’t love free resources?! I specifically search for project-oriented books, such as art books & science experiment books. For this unit, I pulled out many books on The Viking, Castles, and Knights. One of my absolute favorite parts about studying this time period with younger children, is that we check out the entire “Sir Cumference” math series! These funny, cute math books (shown in the picture at the top!) have a knight and castle theme, and lots of Education included in the story!
In addition, the list below shows the other books I checked out for this unit. As usual, we pick out a magic tree house book on the topic to study. If the book has a Youtube read aloud, I have included the link as well:
- “Magic Tree House: Viking Ships at Sunrise” – Mary Pope Osborne
- “Magic Tree House: Viking Fact Tracker” – Mary Pope Osborne
- “The Last Viking” – Norman Jorgensen
- “Hands on History: Vikings” – Fiona McDonald – Awesome project ideas for this Viking Unit!
- “St. George and the Dragon” – Margaret Hodges – this is a longer story book, better used for kids 7+
- Great Medieval Projects you can Build Yourself” – Kris Bordessa
Sir Cumference Series:
- “Sir Cumference Series and the Off-the-charts-dessert” – Cindy Neushwander and Wayne Geehan
- “Sir Cumference and the First Round Table” -Cindy Neushwander and Wayne Geehan
- “Sir Cumference and All the Kings Tens” -Cindy Neushwander and Wayne Geehan
- “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi” -Cindy Neushwander and Wayne Geehan
- “Sir Cumference and the Sword and The Cone”-Cindy Neushwander and Wayne Geehan
Next, because my kids really enjoy historical shows about the ancient world, I always pick out a few videos for them to check out. Sometimes they can learn just as much from a video as a book. So, here are a couple of the ones we used this time around:
- Quick Clip about the Vikings – 2 min
- Another shorter video about Viking Ships – 5 min
- Viking Runestones Clip – 4 min
- NOVA Vikings Unearthed -we were not able to locate this DVD (it looks like its not available to steam) so please preview before showing to your child!
Geography & Cooking
Most of our history units start with geography. So for our Viking homeschool unit, we studied the entire area of Scandinavia on the map, and I discussed which countries are currently located in that region. We made a couple recipes to celebrate the culture in the area. First, we cooked an ancient “Viking Stew.” To make the stew, gather these ingredients to put in the crock pot:
- 1lb stew meat of choice
- beer (optional)
- vegetable or beef stock
I am including the exact link to the recipe here. The idea behind the recipe is to just stick all the items in the crock pot at the beginning of your school day, and by the time dinner comes around, it’s already done! In addition, if you are looking for a little dessert to go along with your stew you can try this recipe for Swedish nuts. Ingredients can be found on the supply list at the bottom of the page.
Viking Homeschool Unit Life and Culture
One easy way to introduce Viking culture is to talk about their written language. The language of the Vikings was called Old Norse. Luckily, the Old Norse alphabet has some similarities to the one was use today, and therefore is easy for children to relate to!
Here is a simple Viking alphabet activity – all you need is modeling clay and toothpicks! I used this great website to print a list of Viking Runes. Scroll all the way to the bottom and you’ll see a sheet that says “how to read Viking Runes”. (This website also has some awesome coloring pages from the book the Last Viking)
So I printed my kids the Viking rune alphabet, and let them see if they could write a message, or their name in our pretend Viking clay “runes.” Afterwards, I let them use the extra clay to create some interesting Viking pieces, such as the dragon pictured above.
Creating a Viking Ship
Next, for hands on activities, we chose to design our very own Viking Longship. As it was a hot day in the Florida Summer (when is it not hot here!), we opted to eat and carve a watermelon Longship! Although I have seen several on Pinterest that came out far nicer than ours, it was fun for the kids and they learned something about how the Vikings built their ships. For example, while building the ship we researched the exact number of oars on the original ships. There were Fifty!
Medieval Times Hands on Projects
When we finishing up our Viking projects, we moved on to a couple hands on activities from the medieval times. Both of these projects came form the book “Great Medieval Projects you can Build Yourself- Kris Bordessa.
The first craft uses dowels, felt pieces, and duct tape to create jester sticks. These sticks are used for juggling and balancing, and bonus – they are simple to make. If you don’t have the book on hand, don’t worry! You can easily find the exact instructions here. Also, the dowel size isn’t that important, as long as you have three of them!
Another exciting medieval project to check out is making a marshmallow cannon! This second project is slightly more complicated, but still doable. To begin, you will need several different sizes of PVC cut. The instruction tutorial is also located in the projects book, or online you can find a similar tutorial here. Although they are slightly challenging to assemble, my kids had an absolute blast with these cannons!
Viking Homeschool Unit Wrap up
And that is a wrap for our Viking Homeschool unit! At the bottom, you will see my suggested schedule for the two weeks. Also, I put together on my teachers pay teachers store a reading comprehension assignments on Vikings! Just click the link or click on the pictures. This packet is designed for 2nd and 3rd grade. As always, thanks for viewing my unit on the Vikings and the Medieval Times!
Vikings Homeschool Unit Suggested Schedule:
**Note, some of these activities are in the Wind & Water Power Unit, which we did as science alongside the Viking Unit
- Monday: Read 1/2 of Magic Tree House “Viking Ships at Sunrise”, Geography: Scandanavia
- Tuesday: Viking Runestones, Watching Viking videos
- Wednesday: Finish Magic Tree House book. Science: wind energy
- Thurs: Wind Energy Pinwheels
- Fri: Build a Viking ship
- Mon: Viking reading comprehension packet.
- Tues: Build a Wind Powered Boat, Sir Cumference Math Books
- Wed: More Sir Cumference Math Books
- Thurs: Make Jester Sticks and Marshmallow Cannon
- Fri: Viking Stew, Swedish nuts recipes
- modeling clay
- knife & spoon
- crock pot
- 1lb stew meat of choice
- beer (optional)
- vegetable or beef stock
- 2 egg whites
- 1 lb pecan halves
- 1/2 cup butter
- wooden dowels
- duct tape (can be patterned)
- PVC pieces (see cannon instructions)
- mini marshmallows