Barneblad: Viking camp for kids

Set out on an adventure right in your own backyard

viking camp

Photo: Hans Splinter / Flickr
Little Vikings can take inspiration from big Vikings as they put their Viking costumes together.

Brought to you by LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American

With COVID-19, not everyone will be able to attend summer camp, and many are turning to the internet in search of new adventures. This also includes little Vikings, who are enjoying virtual Nordic camps, as well as story hours, language lessons, games, and arts and crafts.

But while there is a lot of fun to be found online, there is still nothing like the real thing. After all, it’s summer, and that’s a time when all good Vikings head outdoors to bask in the sunshine.

The good news is that you still can enjoy a Viking adventure in your very own backyard. It just takes a little planning and true Viking spirit to set up a camp where even a warrior like Erik the Red would feel at home.


Dress like a Viking

To start, you must make sure that you look like a Viking, with a good helmet and shield. If they are not already part of your wardrobe, fear not: you can easily create your own.

viking camp

Viking helmet

Contrary to popular belief, Viking helmets did not have horns—but if you like them, no one will stop you from wearing your favorite horned headdress. But if you need to make your own helmet, you need only three things:

  1. Cardboard (not too stiff)
  2. Duct tape
  3. Foil

DIY instructions:

  1. Cut a strip of cardboard that is two inches wide and shape it into a ring that can comfortably fit around your head.
  2. Cut two more strips of cardboard that are 2 inches wide. Be sure to make one of the strips longer to create a nosepiece.
  3. Attach the strips to that headband with duct tape so they form an X across the top.
  4. Take a sheet of foil and form it to comfortably fit around your head.
  5. Insert the formed foil into the cardboard ring.
  6. Attach with duct tape as needed.

Viking shield

All good Vikings have their own shield with a personal design. This is what you need to make yours:

  1. Paper plate
  2. Paints or crayons, preferably primary colors (red, blue, yellow)
  3. Ribbon
  4. Duct tape

DIY instructions:

  1. Turn the plate upside down and sketch your design in pencil
  2. Color or paint the design
  3. Once dry, turn the plate over
  4. Tape a ribbon to the back to use as your holder (some Vikings also like to use the duct tape to put a cross on their shield, too)

Note: If you would like a larger shield, you can cut out a larger circle out of sturdy piece of cardboard to use in place of the paper plate.

viking camp

Take a liking to a Viking name

There is much in a name, and good Viking names abound. We suggest some that are fun to say and easy to remember:

For boys:

Ragnar – the army ruler

Leif – the beloved

Magnus – the big and mighty

Ivar – the archer

Thor – the thunder god

Odin – the god of Viking gods

For girls:

Astrid – the divinely strong

Saga – goddess of poetry

Solveig – daughter of the sun

Hilde – the fighter

Liv – the giver of life

Erica – the noble and strong


Set up camp and play

Your backyard space will make the perfect campsite.  Here are few things you may want to do there:

  1. If your family has a little tent, ask your parents to pitch it for you. Vikings liked to have a place in the shade where they could rest after a long raid.
  2. Ask moms and dads to fix you a lunch fit for Viking kings and queens: Norwegian cheese sandwiches, hot dogs (with lefse, if possible), ice cream (very Norwegian in the summertime).
  3. Play hide-and-seek: Vikings were always looking for something.
  4. If you have a little wading pool, set it up: Vikings love water!
  5. Sit in a circle in typical Viking style and read a Viking story. We recommend The Three Vikings by Adam Auerbach, but there are many to choose from at your local public library or favorite bookstore. Your parents can also help you find something on the internet.

Again, with just a little planning and some fantasy, you can have a fantastic day, filled with good Viking fun!


This article originally appeared in the July 31, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.

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