How to make a Viking longship for children

Written by tamara christine van hooser | 13/05/2017
How to make a Viking longship for children
The Viking longship's square mast and dragon prow were easily recognisable. (MR1805/iStock/Getty Images)

Viking longships ruled the medieval seas, striking terror in the hearts of all those who witnessed the dragon-headed ships executing their quick and efficient raids on coastal towns and villages. Students of ancient history and maritime lore can relive the excitement of the era of Viking military dominance when they make a Viking longship craft. Children's imaginations guide the process of designing a longship out of simple materials with all the majesty and mystique of the original ships.

Lay the container on its long side and cut off one rectangular side, leaving the spout intact. Tape the spout closed with masking tape. If you are using a tissue box, cut the top off along the long edges, but leave a triangular flap at each end. Cut a long curving arc from the front corner to the back corner along each side. The low point should be about half the depth of the container or box.

Wrap the entire ship shell in several layers of masking tape, overlapping the edges to resemble ship planks. Sketch a tall dragon head and tail from an old cereal box and cut out with scissors. Paint details and designs on both sides of each with tempera paint. Tape the head at the front and the tail at the back securely.

Punch a hole at each corner in the front and back and tie a long piece of string or yarn through each one. Cover a straw with masking tape and cut a small slit in both sides of one end. Tape the other end of the straw securely to the floor in the centre of the ship. Pull the corner strings taut and pull the ends through the top slit.

Cut out a 13 cm square from a paper bag, poster paper or white cloth. If you use paper, strengthen the edges by covering them with masking tape. Using a needle and thread or string, create several loops along the sail's top edge. Insert a wooden skewer through the loops and trim ends to size. Repeat at the bottom edge. Tie the sail to the lines at the top edge and the mast at the bottom edge.

Punch five equally spaced holes along each side of the ship. Cut the wood skewers to the length you desire for your oars. Wrap the end of each skewer in a piece of masking tape or modelling clay. Cut or mould it into the shape of the paddle. Alternatively, you can cut paddle shapes out of construction paper and tape them to the end of each oar. Insert oars into the holes on the side of the ship.

Cut small circles out of leftover cereal box scraps. Decorate them with paint as war shields. Tape or glue them to the side of the ship to add a finishing touch that gives your Viking longship a feel of authenticity.

Things you need

  • 4.5 litre milk or juice container or large rectangular tissue box
  • Straw
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • Masking tape
  • String or thread
  • Paper bag, poster paper or white cloth
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Cereal box
  • Modelling clay
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons, markers or coloured pencils

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