Recently, I was in beautiful SE Oklahoma enjoying a gathering with my husband's very large family. Each year, my hub and I take one day to explore the tiny parks, overlooked historic markers and completely random farmhouses that someone has turned into a local attraction. We take along four of our nephews who are particularly interested in science and history. This year, we went to a more famous spot, the Heavener Runestones.
We've been trying to make it to the runestones for the last three years, but everything from a bear on the loose at the park one year to taking a 100 mile wrong turn into Arkansas the next has kept us from seeing this mysterious site. This year, we finally made it. To prepare for the adventure, I studied up on Viking habits and culture so I could amaze the boys and my husband with all my Viking knowledge. Some of the best resources in the library included:
• "The World of theVikings" by Richard Hall, which explains Viking history and culture, touching on their their origins in Scandinavia to their last settlements in 15th-century Greenland.
• "Secrets of the Viking Sword," a DVD about the elite Vikings who used a formidable weapon baring the mysterious name "Ulfberht." The DVD uncovers who Ulfberht was, where the sword came from, and how it was made.
More fun Viking fiction I suggest is the “Hiccup the Viking" series by Cressida Cowell or"Runewarriors" by Jim Jennewein.
Anyway, the point of my column today isn't really to tell you about the specific items we have about Vikings, but to encourage you to check out materials before and after a trip to provide history, science and stories for your vacation activities. Having that information made our trip much more fun for the boys as they applied the material in the books to what they were seeing. It made the trip much richer, made the boys excited about learning and even encouraged our reluctant readers to pick up a book. Plus, it will make you very popular when you can tell them creepy facts. Their favorite fact? That Vikings drank out of the skulls of those they conquered by plugging up the eye sockets with wax!