Iceland Unit Study: Viking Runes Tracing Cards [Fine Motor Skills]

As we studied Iceland, I wanted to focus on the Viking history because much of this time period has utterly fascinated me. For each month, I like to do activities that promote fine motor skills and our tracing box has been a hit several times, so felt it would be perfect for this activity.

Iceland’s language has been centuries in the making, originating from Old Norse. Archeologist have discovered many examples of this, much of which was written in Iceland, including poems and stories about gods, kinds and history. Younger Futhark was a Runic script used to write Old Norse, and was the main alphabet in Norway, Sweden and Denmark throughout the Viking Age. Eventually it was replaced almost completely by the Latin alphabet.

I decided to make some tracing cards of the 16-characters of Younger Futhark for my daughter to trace in her tracing box. I also included the approximate sound of each character and the general meaning. You can download the cards HERE.

For our tracing box we used a Melissa & Doug Box that once contained some lacing boards. It is PERFECT for this activity – you just fill the larger portion with craft sand and use a small stick to trace. Great for promoting early writing skills, learning to hold a writing utensil and focus on fine motor skills as one copies the characters on the cards.

My kiddo loved tracing the characters. Each one we tried to pronounce and I told her the meaning. Some of them looked like the English alphabet and she assured me that those REALLY were a P, B, X, etc.

Although the major meaning of this activity may have been too advanced for a three-year-old, she did understand that different cultures may have or have had different languages and these often have different letters/symbols. I love seeing her mind challenged about the many different cultures in the world and hopefully instilling a passion to learn about the world.

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