To begin introducing Iceland for kids, you must first point out that it is one of the northernmost populated places on earth. This means that even though it is very far north, and consequently very cold, people still live there.
But that’s not to say the population is very great. Actually it’s quite the opposite. It has the least number of people out of all the European countries!
You may be wondering what Europe has to do with Iceland. After all, isn’t Iceland miles away from Europe, sitting all by itself in the upper Atlantic Ocean?
Well, yes. But Iceland has had a long history of ties to Norway and the Scandinavian countries. And old habits die hard. So Iceland is still considered to be a part of the European continent.
Which is even stranger when you consider that Greenland, its large neighboring island, is considered to be part of the continent of North America!
But let’s move on.
The Weather in Iceland
When explaining Iceland for kids, the subject of weather is always a question. And it’s a very good question because Iceland has surprisingly mild weather, considering it lies just outside the Arctic Circle.
The warm waters of the Gulf Stream flowing near Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean keep the temperature less frigid. Yes, the warm waters deep in the ocean really do warm the air above. At least a little. It’s still cold, but less cold than other places that sit as high on the globe.
The Norwegians were the first people to settle in Iceland. Over the years, others of Norse and Gaelic heritage also came to live there.
In fact, the Icelandic language has roots in the old Norse languages. Now remember, ancient Norsemen were also called the Vikings.
Icelanders are proud of their Viking heritage and even have a Viking Saga Museum to celebrate the ancient stories, or sagas. Storytellers passed down these sagas from generation to generation, not writing them down until the Middle Ages.
Geothermals in Iceland
But Iceland isn’t all cold and snow. Believe it or not, people say Iceland is both fire AND ice because it has some of the most awe-inspiring geysers in the world. In fact, our word “geyser” comes from the name of one of theirs, which they spell “geysir.”
The naturally heated water that bubbles out of the ground has some practical uses, too. In days gone by, some Icelandic dishes were cooked by lowering them in the hot water. And even today, people flock to Iceland to experience the hot springs and enjoy the health benefits from lounging in the warm mineral waters.
Animals of Iceland
Explaining Iceland for kids must include the animals. Every area on the globe seems to have its favorite animal, and Iceland is no different.
Although there may be other animals that stand out, one of the most lovable of Iceland’s animals is the Puffin. This bird is so colorful that it sometimes doesn’t even look real.
Which is a good reason why the Puffin is the theme for the craft in the Iceland unit of Let’s Go Geography. Kids love making this amazing bird to help them remember fun facts about Iceland
If you’ve never heard of Let’s Go Geography, it not only has a lesson on Iceland for kids, it has lessons on 27 other countries in Year 1. And that doesn’t even include the 30 lessons on even more countries in Year 2!