December Preschool Theme: Scandinavia
Our December Theme for Preschool is Scandinavia, where we will be investigating the peoples and cultures found across the region, from food through to fashion and history, and the climate and environment - the animals and landscapes that can be found throughout. But first, your links to the educational resources to use across the month to reinforce the children's learning...
|Scandinavia - Presentation
|Banner & Display Pack
|Language List & Character Cards
|Danish Food & Fashion
|Danish Songs & Stories
|Sweden - Presentation
|Swedish Food & Fashion
|Swedish Songs & Stories
|Norwegian Food & Fashion
|Norwegian Songs & Stories
|Finland - Presentation
|Finnish Food & Fashion
|Finnish Songs & Stories
|Life in Iceland
|Iceland Food & Fashion
|Folklore and mythology
|Activities & More
|Vikings - Presentation
|Viking Food & Fashion
|Mythology & Culture
|Activities & More
|The Sami - see preschool overview
|Sami Food & Fashion
|Sami Mythology & Culture
|Sami Music (Joik) & Songs
|Inuit Food & Fashion
|Inuit songs and stories
Fore more activity packs and resources, click here and to see some of our myths and fables for the month, click on and read below....
Unveiling the Rich Cultural Heritage
Scandinavia is known for its rich cultural heritage, which spans centuries and includes influences from various Nordic countries. By reading children's books set in Scandinavia, preschoolers can explore this fascinating heritage and learn about the traditions, customs, and values of the people who call this region home. They will be introduced to the vibrant folk traditions, such as traditional dances, music, and costumes, which are still celebrated today. These books also provide insights into the daily lives of people in Scandinavia, from their food and clothing to their architecture and art. By delving into the rich cultural heritage of Scandinavia, preschoolers can develop an appreciation for diversity and broaden their understanding of different cultures.
Another aspect of the rich cultural heritage of Scandinavia is its renowned design aesthetic. Scandinavian design is characterized by simplicity, functionality, and minimalism. Many children's books set in Scandinavia showcase the unique design elements found in the region, from sleek furniture to clean lines and bold colors. By exploring this aspect of Scandinavian culture through books, preschoolers can develop an eye for design and learn to appreciate the beauty of simplicity.
In addition to the cultural aspects, children's books about Scandinavia also highlight the stunning natural landscapes of the region. From the majestic fjords of Norway to the picturesque forests of Sweden, preschoolers can embark on a visual journey through the pages of these books. They will learn about the unique flora and fauna found in Scandinavia, including reindeer, polar bears, and various species of birds. By unveiling the rich cultural heritage of Scandinavia, children's books provide a gateway to explore the natural wonders of the region as well.
The Ugly Duckling / 丑小鸭 - Hans Christian Andersson fairy tales are original, rather than ancient stories and there are lots of illustrated version of his tales so you won't have trouble finding any at your library. Caldecott award recipient, Pickney's illustrations of an ugly ducking who grows up to be a beautiful swan are gorgeous. Purchase here
The Maiden of Northland - This is a picture book retelling of Finland's epic saga, The Kalevala. Gorgeous illustrations and readable free verse make this story of the hero Vainamoinen and his quest to marry the Northern Maiden accessible to kids and a terrific read aloud. Purchase here
Princess Mouse - When it is time to marry, two brothers each cut down a tree. The way the tree lies determines the direction of their future bride's house. The younger brother's tree points to the forest. He walks into the forest, but all he finds is a mouse. Of course his older brother mocks him for bringing home a mouse for a bride but what happens next is magical. Purchase here
Introducing the Nordic Mythology
Nordic mythology, also known as Norse mythology, is a fascinating aspect of Scandinavian culture. Through children's books set in Scandinavia, preschoolers can be introduced to the mythical creatures, gods, and heroes of the Norse pantheon. They will learn about gods like Odin, Thor, and Loki, and their epic adventures and feats. These stories not only entertain young readers but also help them develop an understanding of the values and beliefs of the ancient Scandinavians. By exploring the world of Nordic mythology through books, preschoolers can expand their imagination and gain insights into the rich storytelling traditions of Scandinavia.
Elfwyn's Saga - Caldecott Medal reciepient, Wisniewski, crafted this original tale based on Icelandic lore about the origins of the Northern Lights. The heroine is Elfwyn, a daughter of a Viking warrior, and blind from birth. When the villagers are put under a spell by a troll's crystal, only Elfwyn is immune. Wisniewski's narrative and illustrative styles are informed by his work as a puppeteer, which adds a wonderful performative layer to the story. Purchase here
The Tomten - This book should be required reading for every child, especially at Christmas! The Tomten takes care of the farm animals at night in the winter, wishing them goodnight and making sure that they are fed. I wouldn't call Lindgren's story a folktale, but a tomten is a Scandinavian mythological creature and if your kids are put off by all the vulgar trolls in most of these books, read them this gentle tale. Purchase here
Embarking on Arctic Adventures
The Arctic region is a significant part of Scandinavia, and children's books set in this area allow preschoolers to embark on thrilling Arctic adventures. They will follow brave protagonists as they navigate through icy landscapes, encounter polar bears and seals, and witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. These books not only spark curiosity about the Arctic but also raise awareness about the importance of preserving and protecting this fragile ecosystem. Through Arctic adventures in children's books, preschoolers can develop an appreciation for nature and learn about the unique challenges faced by those living in this remote part of the world.
Seven Ways to Trick a Troll - This picture book-style collection of seven troll stories is a delight! Read one tale every night before bed and in a week, your family will be well-equipped to take on any troll in any circumstance. For example, did you know trolls hate loud noises and that they burst when angry? This kind of information, as well as good skiing skills, will come in handy! Purchase here
Discovering Scandinavian Wildlife
Scandinavia is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and children's books set in the region offer opportunities for preschoolers to discover and learn about these fascinating creatures. From the elusive lynx to the playful otter, these books introduce young readers to the wildlife that inhabits the forests, mountains, and coastlines of Scandinavia. Through vivid illustrations and engaging storytelling, preschoolers can explore the characteristics and habitats of these animals, fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Discovering Scandinavian wildlife through children's books helps preschoolers develop empathy and understanding for the importance of protecting and conserving these precious species.
Sister Bear - The traditional version of this tale boasts a male protagonist, but Yolen has adapted it with a girl hero. Halva finds a polar bear cub and naming it Sister Bear, brings it home to her family. Sister Bear brings food back to the family and also likes to dance to Halva's flute. One evening Halva and Sister Bear request shelter in a house on their journey to Denmark. Their host, however, fears the trolls which come and ransack the place. Halva and Sister Bear are not frightened and trick the trolls into leaving the place alone. Read this book alonside dePaola's The Cat on the Dovrefell. Lina Graves' illustrations are lovely. Purchase here
Unraveling the Viking Legacy
The Viking legacy is an integral part of Scandinavian history, and children's books provide a captivating introduction to this fascinating era. Preschoolers can learn about the fearless Viking warriors, their extraordinary seafaring skills, and their far-reaching expeditions. These books also shed light on the everyday lives of Vikings, from their homes and clothing to their customs and traditions. By unraveling the Viking legacy through children's books, preschoolers can gain insights into this unique chapter of history and develop an appreciation for the cultural contributions of the Vikings.