Year 2 History and Geography

history and geography owl

Scandinavian Geography

scandinavia map

See a larger version of this activity here.

The British Isles are quite far north, but there are other countries in Europe that are even further north. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland are often known together as Scandinavia. Can you find these countries on the map (click to see a larger version)? Some of them are quite a long way north of the British Isles. Since, as you learn in What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, it gets colder the closer you get to the North Pole, you can probably guess what the climate is like in Scandinavian countries. It can be very, very cold in winter.

Because of this cold climate, it can be difficult for plants and animals to survive. They have to have ways of dealing with the snow and ice and freezing weather. If you were going out in the snow, you would put your coat on. In the same way, many animals in these northern European countries have thick fur all over to keep them warm. Trees and other plants also have to deal with not getting a lot of sunlight. Plants and animals need lots of special tricks to survive in these really cold places (and other climates, too), which you will learn more about in the Science chapter of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know.

It is not just plants and animals that have to be smart to survive in northern Scandinavia, but it is hard for the people who live there, too. It can be exciting in Britain when it sometimes snows in winter, but can you imagine what it would be like to have lots of snow for many months of the year? That is what it is like for some people in northern Scandinavia. It is important for them to keep warm and wear lots of clothes. It is also very dark in winter, and even dark all day and all night right in the middle of winter very far north in Scandinavia. However, those who live that far north might see the beautiful Northern Lights.

The northern parts of the Scandinavian countries are full of mountains, valleys and lakes. It is hard for people to live there, so most people in these countries live further south, where is it usually a bit warmer. The capital cities of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland are: Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Reykjavík (in that order). These places are big, important and modern capital cities, and living there is very different from the cold, snowy northern areas.

Do you see the ship with a man in it on the map (click to see a larger version)? This Viking comes from Scandinavia and is sailing to Britain. You will learn more about the Vikings in Britain in What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know. This book also includes a story about the man riding the Norge airship, Roald Amundsen, who was a great explorer. In 1911, he led the first successful expedition to the South Pole. Amundsen also flew in the big airship, called the Norge, to reach the North Pole. Off he flies now!

This activity is adapted from pages 155 - 156 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.