Updated: Jun 17, 2020
“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” ―Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
One of my favourite Norse stories for you today...with a little bit of teaching about onomatopoeia!
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BACKGROUND-BITE: These are the tales that Vikings told when they were together during those long winter nights - in dimly lit halls and around roaring fires! They are epic stories of love, war, betrayal, triumph, and ruin that continuing to engage and entertain modern audiences all over the world today! Norse mythology has a clear beginning in its creation myth, and a clear ending in its tale about 'Ragnarok' but the rest of the stories don't need to be told in any particular order. These myths speak to hearts and imaginations, and like any story they seem to have helped the Vikings make sense of the world as they experienced it. The gods and goddesses that feature in these stories were worshipped by many people in Northern Europe from Germany, throughout Scandianvia, Britain and all the way over to Iceland, right up until the 13th Century! They believed that there were nine worlds, all sprouting from a tree called Yggdrasil - the gods lived at the top in Asgard, humans in Midgard and the lower branches held the lands of ice and fire where the giants lived!
In today's tale, Thor (the Norse god of thunder and protector of mankind) has his hammer stolen (by Loki - the master of mischief) which then causes trouble for all the other gods. He needs that hammer (it's called Mjollnir) and he'll do just about anything to get it back!
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN - EYFS / KEY STAGE 1 (0-7 years):
1. Listen to Storynory's version of this tale - https://www.storynory.com/thors-wedding/
2. Find out about the Vikings - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/ztyr9j6
3. Read some more myths - https://www.storynory.com/category/myths/norse/
4. Grab some props - of the general household variety - and check out just how dramatic you can make your own re-working of our tale!
5. Try writing the story from a giant's perspective - here's a funny little video to help remind you how to organise your story - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWHZJZQDSE
6. Using story stones/dice (see my blog post about outdoor activities for kids), devise your own adventure for Thor now he's got his hammer back!
7. Educational resources for writing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bIgvAH4T5A
8. Draw and craft your own mythical hammer - https://cmongetcrafty.com/crafty-quickie-diy-thors-hammer/
9. Learn a bit more about the Norse Gods - which one is your favourite? https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/primary-resource/viking-primary-resource-old-norse-gods/
10. Step through the magic curtain and become a Vikings - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b053033z/lets-play-series-2-26-viking
11. Make a viking longship, figurehead or helmet - https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory/vikings.shtml
ACTIVITIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN - FOR KEY STAGE 2-4 (8-15 years):
2. Watch this documentary about wildlife in the eyes of the Vikings (nature) - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0006bhg/wild-way-of-the-vikings
3. Watch some more of their stories - https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/english-ks2-viking-sagas/zvrmy9q
4. Find out about runes (the Viking way of writing) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOcVy5dvwjs
5. Create an comic strip or animation of the story - https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/how-to-create-a-comic-strip/ , www.storyboardthat.com/storyboard-creator https://www.canva.com/create/comic-strips/
6. Sharpen your skills before you break out your story scribbling equipment. Check out https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zs4qn39/articles/zjdgrj6 , https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zfkk7ty , https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z3qsv4j/revision/1
7. Write your own version of what happened from a giant's perspective. This might help remind you about how to structure your story - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zwjsyrd/revision/1
8. Learn about how Norse gods and goddesses have been used in comics - https://www.cbr.com/most-badass-vikings-comics/
FOR GROWNUPS: ““The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.” ―Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
1. Listen to/read Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37903770-norse-mythology?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=gIwmVg8tB3&rank=1
2. Check out storyteller Jason Buck - https://www.facebook.com/JasonBuckStoryteller/ and listen while in lockdown!
3. Listen to podcasts about the vikings - http://thehistoryofvikings.com/
4. Watch the History channel's series Vikings - https://www.history.co.uk/shows/vikings
5. Challenge yourself with reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4407.American_Gods?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=6UdXmu0Snz&rank=1
6. Discover how the Vikings influenced our language, with Michael Rosen - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00074j4
The books I used today were Thiago de Moras's Myth Atlas - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41945947-myth-atlas?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=NV7e7AhKhC&rank=1 and Michael Morpurgo's collection of Myths and Legends - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42095617-magical-myths-and-legends?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=G6XiCC34XO&rank=4