Equipped with a hammer and magic belt and gloves, Thor is the Viking God of thunder. A small version of Thor's hammer was commonly attached to a silver chain and worn by the Norse as a symbol of Thor's protection. If you're teaching children about ancient Scandinavian history, include some Thor's hammer activities. These not only help children to learn about Norse religion but also about their values, traditions and their way of life.
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How Thor Got His Hammer
In this activity, students learn how Thor got his famous hammer, known as Mjollnir. Distribute a copy of the story to students. Read the story together and explain any unfamiliar vocabulary and characters to students. Students can demonstrate their understanding of the story by drawing scenes from it or creating a comic strip.
Split students into groups and designate a research subject to each. Topics can include Odin (Thor's father), Sif (Thor's wife), Asgard (the dwelling of the gods), and Magni and Modi (Thor's children). Each group finds out about its topic and presents it to the class including a representative image, information on origins as well as related Viking beliefs.
Thor represents the qualities of truth, loyalty and family fidelity. Discuss these qualities with the group and ask the children to think of examples of those qualities within themselves. This empowers the students and builds their self-esteem. Then ask them to find examples within their classmates, friends and family, encouraging them to think of the people surrounding them and strengthening their sense of security.
Making a Hammer
Now that children understand the significance and history of Thor's hammer, let them get creative and make their own version. To do this, students need to cut out a hammer from a piece of cardboard and cover with silver paper. After making a small hole in the top, students should measure out enough string to make a necklace and attach the hammer to it. Students can decorate their hammer with a black pen or paint. Teach the runic alphabet so children can write their names on the hammer in runes.
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