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FUN ACTIVITY

 

This is a game called "Stormy Seas" and it's a sort of large-scale mashup of musical chairs and Twister!

 

Place several bits of large paper (or other material) around the room/hall. Explain that each person is the captain of their own longboat and they are free to sail the high seas (the floor) but when a storm hits they must get to dry land as quickly as possible.

 

Allow them to roam the space freely. When the leader shouts "STORM AHEAD"' the children must make their way to a piece of "land". They are safe as long as they are touching the paper with any part of their body, and there is no limit to how many people can share a piece of land.

 

As the game continues, remove the islands one by one until there is only one left. No-one is ever "out" in this game as the emphasis is on building ensemble and support - it is the teacher versus the children, they are all part of the same Viking tribe so they should help one another reach safety. Game should take 5-10 mins.

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Did you know?

 

William the Conqueror (the Normans) was descended from Vikings that settled in Normandy. The ships that he used to cross the channel when he invaded England in 1066 were basically Viking warships.

The Viking longships had much shallower keels than their contemporaries and this meant that they didn’t need a quay or jetty to unload onto – they simply had to beach the boat on the shore and jump off. This is one of the reasons they were able to conduct such quick raids from the sea.

Depending on the size of the ship it would need between 24 and 50 oars to power it.

 

The men would often take shifts in rowing so that the boat could be powered constantly over long distances or when the wind was weak.

When out at sea they used a large rectangular sail but nearer the coast or when sailing up rivers they would use their oars.

 

The warriors aboard the ship would often use the trunk containing their possessions as a seat. Other goods could be stored beneath the deck planks that were deliberately loose for this purpose.

The Vikings always preferred to sail in sight of land but when they needed to cross expanses of water they had a great knowledge of winds and wave patterns to call upon to help them to navigate. They were able to sail using either sun or stars as a reference.

Though sailing ships had existed before the Vikings came along their longships were more flexible and faster than those that had come before and enabled them to reach places that others could not.

Viking Longboats had a removable figurehead that would normally be carved into the shape of a fearsome creature and painted in bright, vivid colours.

 

They would mount the figurehead when going in to battle to scare their enemies (and evil spirits that they believed lived in the sea!).

Which animal would you use as a figurehead on your Viking boat?

Viking longship Pirate Chest Compass for website Star Sun

Navigating by the sun and the stars

A sailors trunk, seating and storage!