#TravelingThroughLearning – ICELAND Unit!

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Massive glaciers are protected in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, which features Iceland’s Viking history.

My husband and I fell in love with Iceland on a layover to Paris, France. We only had a few hours, but took a bus to the Blue Lagoon and saw a little of Reykjavik. We never imagined having so much fun in just a few hours and dream of coming back someday as a destination.

I love to see what other parents and caregivers do for their little ones, so please post on Instagram (savybabyactivities) under #travelingthroughlearning and follow my feed, and I will feature my favorite activities at the end of the month. You can also share what you have done on this blog or PM me with Iceland-themed activities that you have done/and or blogged about and I’ll include links to them in this post once the unit is complete.

Geography:

  • Placemat & Flag of Iceland – This full color printable shows some interesting stats of the country as well as some pictures of major landmarks. I like to put it in a plastic sheet protector and use it as a placemat for meals. It is excellent to promote learning at the dinner table. This also includes a Icelandic flag to post as part of your unit.
  • Map Outline & Major Cities of Iceland – This outline map can be transferred to foam or felt and the city tags can be printed off and attached with map-pins, to help learn about the major cities.

Model of Landmark/Dwelling:

Mathematics:

  • Learn about the Icelandic Króna – Great hands-on activity to describe the monetary differences of coin currency and how they differ from your own countries (in our case, the United States).

Life Cycle: 

Montessori-Themed Indigenous Fauna Cards:

Worksheets:

  • Transforming Viking – This might look like a viking, complete with a horned helmet and long beard, but show your preschooler what can happen when he simply folds the worksheet on the dotted lines. It’s like magic!

Science Experiment:

  • Diet Coca Cola & Mentos – Learn about geysers (which can be found in Iceland) and create a easy amazing faux geyser through the magic of science.

Sensory Play:

  • Glow-stick Sensory Bath! Pretend to be enjoying Aurora Borealis or the northern lights by using glowsticks, bubble bath for this warm fun activity.

The Arts:

  • Icelandic Troll Dolls – Learn about the rich history of the Icelandic Trolls and make fun little dolls out of dried apples and toilet paper tubes.

Practical Life Skills:

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Rune Alphabet – Learn about the 16-character Rune Alphabet from Iceland’s Viking History with these cards, and work on writing skills and promote fine motor skills of tracing detail in sand.
  • Create a Nordic Star out of string using a round wooden base with nails – easy to set up and creates a beautiful star.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Play Tug-a-War – During Viking times, this was called toga hönk which literally means tugging on a loop, or a hank. The competition uses movements and muscle groups similar to those used in rowing a ship. Perhaps the game was also a way to sort out who might be a capable rower and thus a desirable candidate for the crew of a ship.

Music:

Björk – is an Icelandic musician with an eclectic musical style that spans electronic, pop, experimental, classical, trip hop, IDM, and avant-garde music. She was born and raised in Reykjavík, and began her music career at age 11 and first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes. In 1993, Björk embarked on a solo career, and rose to prominence as a solo artist.  

Art Mannequin:

We dressed our art mannequin as a Viking Warrior this month! We gave him black pants and shirt, a faux brown leather tunic secured with leather cord, a black faux fur vest and brown faux fur boot tops and arm bands. His hat is from a Easter-egg covered in knit fabric, decorated with clay horns edged with brown pipe cleaner and aluminum foil detail. His shield is a aluminum foil covered plastic lid, and his sword is a pewter play sword.

Influential Figure:

Our Influential Figure for this Month is Leif Erikson or Leif Ericson, a Norse explorer from Iceland. He was the first known European to have set foot on continental North America, before Christopher Columbus.

Recommended Reading:

  • D is for Dala Horse, by Kathy-jo Wargin – Located in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, the Nordic Countries/Territories are comprised of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Aland. And while they may share a region and some traditions, each has its own distinct geography, history, and heritage. Explore Greenland where, contrary to its name, more than 80 percent of the land is covered by an ice cap. It is home to the polar bear, as well as walrus, reindeer, and seal. Stop off in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmar – the statue of the Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale can be found near the harbor. Visit Sweden’s lively Jokkmokk Winter Market which draws visitors from around the world, or sample the tasty fare of a Swedish smorgasbord.
  • How to Be a Viking, by Cressida Cowell – Hiccup isn’t like other Vikings. He’s afraid of everything… including the sea. When Hiccup heads off for his very first ocean voyage, his seasickness is the least of his worries! The Vikings are lost in a terrible storm, and it’s up to Hiccup to help them find their way home again.
  • Chicken Pot Turtle Goes to Iceland, by Angela M Scheideler – Chicken Pot Turtle Goes to Iceland is a perfect read aloud book about travel and friendship for children ages 2-7 years. Chicken Pot Turtle is no ordinary chicken. He wears a pot on his head like a turtle shell and loves to travel. On his adventures in Iceland he almost gets eaten by a big blue whale, sees a geyser powerfully erupt in the air, and meets a happy new friend. Join Chicken Pot Turtle as he discovers the fun, friendly and unique culture of Iceland!

I love to see what other people have done for Iceland themed activities, so if you have something you think I need to add to this list, please DM me! 🙂

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