One fun thing to do with your girls is to teach them about another country. Everything from the people of the country, the weather, culture, food, and more. You can center an entire meeting around teaching girls about Iceland. I’ve included some general facts about the country, and highlighted a few games, activities, craft suggestion, and other resources to make your meeting fun and educational.
Learn Everything You Can About Iceland
This is the content you can print and use to put together a poster, or share with your girls during a meeting. If you want easy-to-use games and activities to teach your girls these facts, be sure to keep reading.
Did you know? Icelanders have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Icelanders are of Scandinavian descent and are generally tall, blonde, and light-skinned. Since there is little diversity in the population, genetic researchers have studied diseases among Icelanders. These studies have helped find cures for many hereditary diseases.
Geography of Iceland: Iceland is a small island nation that is Europe’s westernmost country and contains the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik. Iceland is located between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The land is plateau with mountain peaks, and ice fields, with a coastline marked by fjords, which are deep inlets carved by glaciers. Eleven percent of the country is covered in glacial ice and surrounded by water. Iceland is known for explosive geysers, geothermal spas, and glacier-fed waterfalls. The ice of the glaciers can be up to 3280 feet thick! The Gulf Stream current and warm southwesterly winds make the climate moderate and pleasant. Iceland also contains about 200 volcanoes and has one-third of Earth’s total lava flow. One-tenth of the total land area is covered by cooled lava beds and glaciers.
Where are the people in Iceland? People living in Iceland are called Icelanders. Approximately 357,000 people live on Iceland, with most residing in the country’s capital. The capital, Reykjavik, means ‘smoky bay’, and contains about 130,000 residents in the city and 216,000 people living in the capital’s region. About 80% of Iceland is not inhabited.
Government in Iceland: Iceland is a constitutional republic and is governed by a president. The president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. There are no term limits, so the president can stay in power until another is elected. In 2008, the election was not held because no one ran against Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who served that term and was then re-elected in 2012. The nation assembly, called Althingi, was established in 930 and is the world’s oldest continuous parliament. The world’s first democratically elected female president was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and she was the president of Iceland from 1980 until 1996!
Animals in Iceland: Foxes were the only land mammals in Iceland when it was settled. Newcomers brought in domesticated animals and reindeer. You will also see many seabirds like puffins. Puffins are black and white birds with large orange beaks that reside in large colonies on cliffs.
Economy in Iceland: Iceland’s main industry sectors are tourism, power generation, aluminum sheltering, agriculture, and fishing. Most Icelanders work in the service industry, and only 1 in 12 Icelanders work in occupations related to farming and fishing. The main trading partners of the country are Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. Iceland is also the largest green energy producer (per person) and has the world’s highest share of renewable energy. Because Iceland is volcanic, almost all of their electricity and heating comes from hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves.
The currency in Iceland is called the Islandic Krona (ISK), and one ISK is equal to 0.0081 United States Dollar.
Armed Forces in Iceland: Iceland is the only NATO country not to have a standing army, air force or navy, but Iceland does have a Crisis Response Unit (ICRU). This is a small unit which is a peacekeeping force of about 200 staff. These employees do not carry weapons or wear a uniform in most circumstances. There is a national coast guard and air defence system, but the lack of a standing army means that there is no permanent, professional, full-time military force.
Religion in Iceland: The religion is Iceland is mainly Christian, with 95% of the population practicing some form of Christianity.
Education in Iceland: School is free for all Icelanders all the way through college, and every student is taught to speak both Danish and English in school. Today, Iceland’s educational system has four levels, and only one of these is required. The first level is pre-school education, where children from the age of 12 months to 6 years may attend. The second level, compulsory education, is mandatory by law for children between the ages of 6 and 16. Upper secondary education is not required, but those who have completed compulsory education have the right to enter an upper secondary school. Students attending upper education are usually 16-20 years of age. Anyone who has completed upper secondary education in Iceland can apply to study at a university, and with the exception of some courses like medicine and dentistry, the University of Iceland is obliged to accept all students who have an upper secondary diploma.
Iceland has eight higher education institutions, the largest of which is the University of Iceland, founded in 1911. Most traditional programs are offered in Iceland, with the exception of some highly specialized courses. Many Icelanders also conduct at least part of their university education abroad.
Food in Iceland: The Icelandic main dishes contain lamb, seafood, and dairy products. The bread you will get in Iceland is mostly dark rye bread or rye flat bread. Reindeer meat is also available in Iceland, but is quite expensive. One specialty in Iceland which takes a bit to get used to is “Hakarl,” which is rotten shark meat.
Here are some popular Icelandic foods:
- Skyr: yogurt like white cheese a bit like low fat cream cheese or quark
- Dried fish: usually haddock, cod or catfish
- Porrablot: mid winter feast
- Lax: salmon
- Pickled herring
Recreation in Iceland: Handball and soccer are the two most popular sports for children, but many Icelanders also enjoy swimming, horseback riding, spas, hiking, cave exploration, glacier adventures, ice-walking, ice-climbing, snowmobiling, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Whale watching is also a popular activity from May to September and humpback whales can be seen from Reykjavik harbor during this time. The Northern Lights, which can be experienced between November and March, are also an exciting and once in a lifetime experience to have in Iceland.
Iceland Fact Bingo Game Activity Booklet
You may enjoy teaching your girls facts about Iceland while playing a game of bingo. In this bingo game there are 24 different Iceland facts your girls will learn about playing the game. When you draw a fact listed on the bingo cards you can also tell your girls a little bit about what each of them mean. After one game play again and have girls tell you what each fact means. Learn more and get your Bingo game to play with your girls.
Group Games and Activities
Koob: Played with 2-12 players divided up evenly between two teams. Use the pegs to mark off a rectangular area that is approximately 5yds x 7yds. Place the king in the center. Both teams randomly place five blocks (koobs) on their baseline. To see who goes first, one person from each team tosses a baton at the king. The closest, without knocking the king over, goes first.
Objective is to tip over all of the opposing team’s koobs and then tip over the king.
Team 1 starts by taking position behind their own baseline and tossing six batons at any of the opposing team’s koobs. Batons must be thrown underhanded. If a team knocks down the King before they’ve knocked down all of the opponents’ koobs, then the game is over and that team loses.
When Team 1 has tossed all six batons, Team 2 tosses any koobs that were knocked down back over into Team 1’s half of the playing field. The tossed koobs should be stood up again wherever they land. You get two attempts to land each downed koob in the opposing team’s half of the playing field. If you fail to do so, the opposing team gets to place that koob wherever they would like. (Placing these koobs behind the King is a popular strategy.)
Now it is Team 2’s turn to toss the batons. Any koobs that Team 1 knocked down and were thrown back onto their side of the field must be knocked down first. Only after that can Team 2 attack Team 1’s five baseline koobs. If a koob on the baseline is knocked down before a field koob, then it is set back up again.
Play continues with each side taking turns throwing the batons until one team has knocked over all of the opponents’ koobs. When a team succeeds in knocking down all their opponents’ koobs, they must knock down the King. When this happens, they win the game.
How to Play Koob (Video)
Manni (little man or chap): Manni is the name given to the spare hand of cards dealt to the table, which may be used to improve a player’s hand.
Three players use a 48 card pack, made from a standard 52 card pack by taking out the twos. The cards in each suit rank in the normal order from ace (high) to three (low). The four twos are used as trump indicators; the trump suit rotates from deal to deal in the sequence hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs, hearts, etc. 12 cards are dealt to each player, in packets of four. The remaining 12 cards form the Manni, which is placed face-down in the center of the table.
The player to the dealer’s left has the opportunity to change all 12 cards with the 12 cards of the Manni (whose cards are unknown). If the player to the dealer’s left chooses not to exchange, the opportunity to do so passes clockwise around the table. Once a player has exchanged the other players must play with the cards they were dealt. If no one exchanges all play with their original cards and the Manni is not looked at.
The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible; if unable to follow they may play any card. The trick is won by the highest trump in it, or, if it contains no trump, by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick leads to the next.
A cumulative score is kept, with everyone starting at zero. Players who win more than four tricks score one point for each trick in excess of four; players with less than four tricks lose a point for each trick short of four. Players with exactly four tricks neither win nor lose. The game continues until one or more players have a cumulative score of 10 points or more. The player who has the most points is the winner.
How to Play Manni (Video)
Iceland Flag Craft
Learn how to make a Iceland Flag Pin using these directions from MakingFriends.com
Iceland Book Recommendations
If this is still not enough Iceland inspiration.
Checkout my Iceland Pinterest board where I share all kinds of other great ideas people have shared online for Iceland that you can incorporate into your event. I enjoyed learning more about Iceland, I hope you did too.
Before You Go…
Here are few other around the world ideas I have shared in the past that may be great for your event as well if you are doing more than learning about 1 country.
- Airplane Ride Activity Girls will take an airplane ride around the world.
- World Trefoil Game Girls will learn the meaning of the Trefoil pin.
- 12 of the Best Resources on the Web to Plan Your International Event Here you will find a pile of amazing resources I have found online that will help you plan your event.