Viking history began around the 8th or 9th century AD, when they began fighting along the European coast, and ended around the 11th century AD with the Norman Conquest, according to History World. Vikings may seem a bit scary to kids, particularly since they are often depicted with horned helmets. Art activities are one way to educate kids about Viking history.
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Vikings sailed long journeys in their distinct boats, called longboats. With this craft from Hands On Crafts for Kids, kids can make their own Viking boat. You'll need to cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of a longboat (basically like a stretched "U"), then use that as a template to make another identical piece from cardboard. With a hole punch, punch holes along the outer edges of both pieces of cardboard, then set them aside. To make the flag, cut out a 7.5 by 12.5 cm (3 by 5 inch) piece of construction paper and let kids draw a Viking helmet on it. Poke two holes in the paper, then weave a straw or dowel rod through the holes. Secure the straw or dowel rod to the boat with tape. Lay the pieces of cardboard on top of each other, then "stitch" them together with black leather cord (available in the beading section of craft stores) and tie the ends. Kids may decorate the outside of the boat or glue decorated cardboard circles to the sides.
Viking helmets had a simple design. According to Hurstwic, an organisation whose mission it is to educate the public about the Viking era, there is no evidence that Viking helmets had horns.However, your kids can decide whether or not they want to include them in their custom-made helmets. You'll need to cut the bottom half of a clean, empty milk jug and discard the top. Trace a round plate that is 22.5 cm (9 inches) wide onto card stock, then cut out your circle. You'll need to cut out a small wedge about 11.2 cm (4 1/2 inches)into the circle and 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) wide. Grab the corners of the circle (where you cut the wedge) and pull them together to form a cone shape, then staple it shut. Tape this to the bottom of the milk jug you've set aside so your kids now have the base for their helmet. At this point, kids can cover their helmet in aluminium foil, taping it down on the inside to hold it in place. They can then crumple pieces of newspaper into horn shapes and wrap them in masking tape. Attach the horns to the helmet with more masking tape.
When they would fight, Vikings needed tools and gear to protect themselves. One such protective piece was a shield. Your kids can engage in some role playing with this craft idea. Help them trace a large circle onto a piece of poster board, then they'll need to cut that out (possibly with assistance). Provide kids with craft supplies, such as markers, paint, poster paints, glue and glitter, so they may decorate them any way they want. While the shields dry, they can cut out a handle from any scrap pieces of poster board -- just a 5 by 15 cm (2 by 6 inch) rectangular strip -- and tape it to the back of the shield when it's completely dry. They'll then be ready for some interactive Viking fun. This may be particularly enjoyable after they've read "Viking Ships at Sunrise," a Magic Treehouse book by Mary Pope Osborne.
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