Viking Kids Activity - A Viking Scavenger Hunt of Clothing, Words and Food
Keel of viking boat

4 Easy Steps to Plan an Adventurous Viking Kids Activity

What your kids know about Vikings may be limited to the latest Avenger’s franchise release, or what they’ve gleaned from Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series. However, they might be surprised to discover there are tons of Viking “artifacts” they encounter every day. We’ll bet there are even some in your house! See what you can dig up when you take the kids on a Viking Scavenger Hunt …no Asgard passport necessary! It’s a Viking Kids Activity that you can launch from anywhere.


Getting in character is half the fun of this around-the-town adventure! So consider finding your Viking outfit step 1 of the Scavenger Hunt. If your kids know anything about Vikings, they’ll probably be fighting over who gets to wear the horned helmet.

But don’t fall for it. The horns on Viking helmets are a myth! Instead, Viking raiders wore simple long tunics, linen shirts, pants and a long fur coat or cloak. Around their waists they used a leather belt to hold knives and swords, and leather boots kept their feet dry. Viking women wore similar clothing, long dresses and tunics in layers to keep them warm. And you could count on a shawl or robe held together by a handcrafted metal broach to be part of their attire. If you’ve got a bonnet, throw it on because many Viking women wore head coverings, especially when it was cold or wet outside.

Add to your outfit with some Viking accessories—like a leather purse that would have been worn messenger bag style, a round shield (Vikings were known for their shield building skills), swords, battle axes and spears. Create these weapons from cardboard boxes waiting to be upcycled, or raid your dress up box for cast-offs from other dress up gear, like knights or wizards. Now you’re ready to start the hunt!


Viking Words
Start your scavenger hunt with a round-the-house word hunt, on the lookout for vocabulary with roots in the Norse tradition. If you host the hunt on the Thursday you’ll get started on the right foot because “Thursday” means “Thor’s Day.” But you don’t need an all-powerful hammer to find some other influences in our everyday language.

Simply choose words from the ones below to make your own list of items your kids can track down around the house. Once they find the item (or a picture of it if they don’t happen to have any “reindeer” (stuffed or otherwise) laying around the house) check it off before moving on to the next. Have fun finding these words:


Viking Place Names

After they’ve collected their Viking vocab words, it’s time to get out a map and look for Viking-influenced place names. Be on the lookout for street names, towns, lakes and parks that include these suffixes, all of which have their roots in Viking history.

  • -by (meaning: farmstead, village or settlement)
  • -dale (valley)
  • -ness (promontory or headland)
  • -kirk (church)
  • -fell (mountain)

Did you find any in your town? If not, expand your search to include surrounding areas and then keep a tally. Do any of the place names match the geography indicated by the word’s origins? How many did you find?


When they weren’t out exploring and conquering, the Vikings invented useful and common items we still use today. So, next up on the scavenger hunt… tracking down Viking inventions. We think you’ll have a few around the house, but others might be reason enough to venture out to museums, marinas or shops to find what you’re looking for. Be on lookout for:

  • Combs. Although Viking combs were made out of antlers, yours is probably made from plastic.
  • Spectacles. Your kids probably know these as glasses. Oddly enough, Vikings didn’t wear glasses to improve eyesight, they were definitely more of a fashion statement and were made with crushed rock dust.
  • Magnetic Compass. Magnetite was plentiful in Norway, and once the Vikings connected its properties to the magnetic field, they put this mineral to good use by designing a magnetic compass.
  • Longboats. Many historians believe this particular invention gave the Vikings an edge when it came to exploration, trade and war. The long, shallow boats they built let them sail in many different directions, for long periods of time, and even allowed them to sail upstream where they often launched surprise attacks against unsuspecting people on shore.
  • Keel. This 8th century Viking invention helped stabilized otherwise easy-to-capsize flat boats designed by Roman and Celtic mariners.
  • Tents. There are plenty of camping tents that follow Viking tent design, although we’re guessing yours doesn’t have intricately carved wooden dragon heads at the top of the frames like the ancient Viking tents unearthed in Norway do. Viking tents were simple in their design, using two wooden A-frames at either end, covered with fabric.
  • Skis. Although the Vikings didn’t invent skis (the Russians and Chinese both developed similar methods of transportation), they were the first culture to introduce Western-style skiing. In fact, the word “ski” comes from the Old Norse “skio.”

Were you able to find all 7? How many were in your house? How many did you find elsewhere? Which one do you think is most important?


The final step in the scavenger hunt is all about food. And a good old-fashioned cupboard hunt is the easiest way to start. Look for dill, juniper, caraway, mustard seed, coriander, marjoram, mint and thyme in your spice rack. All of these were spices the Vikings grew and used in their cooking. Then look for garlic and horseradish in your fridge—two other Viking staples. If you’ve got tea in your house, and it’s made with chamomile or chicory, those are Vikings finds too. As for veggies, cabbage was tops on the Viking list of eats. Do you have some in your veggie bin?

If you’ve worked up an appetite from all this searching, consider ending your hunt with some traditional Viking cooking. We’ve got a few simple recipes that the Ribe Viking Centre in Denmark rounded up, and they’re surprisingly easy to modify and make with kids. Check out some recipes for flatbreads, crackers and bread. Serve them up with your favorite spread or lunchmeat after they’ve cooled (psst… if you want to eat like a contemporary Viking, open face is the way to do it—that means one piece of bread, piled with spreads and meats, no top.).

Kids might also enjoy these Viking twists on oatmeal at breakfast time… just don’t tell them they’re eating gruel! This hearty cabbage soup is so easy to make, kids can definitely take the lead in the kitchen when you cook it. Finish it all off with sweet apple slices or baked apples for a healthy spin on dessert. Filling up on Viking food is a great ending to this educational scavenger hunt.


When you’ve finished exploring the Viking world with your kids, be sure to check out Whole Wide World Toys’ World Village Playset, China Adventure Kit. Just like the Viking scavenger hunt, the playset brings the world to your doorstep and encourages global citizenship. Plus, it’s all about imaginative play, for kids ages 4 and up, as they navigate a small Chinese village depicted on the fabric playmat using wooden puzzle pieces, story cards and a detailed China Travel Journal to guide their play time. Add the China Companion Pack to really expand their horizons.

How many Viking artifacts did you find on your Viking Scavenger Hunt?

–Allison Sutcliffe

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