Iceland and the United States celebrate Leif Erikson Day. The Viking may have discovered North America in the year 1000. Idea: Children could research the evidence and decide which European found the Americas first. October 9 has no association to Erikson; the date was picked because the first ship filled with Norwegian immigrants landed on October 9, 1825. The day was first recognized by Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. Every president since then has honored the day. Some people believe we should honor Leif Erikson Day rather than Columbus Day. Children could learn more about the debate at: Leif Erikson Day.
Aurora Borealis was first documented in North America in New England in 1719. Stories state that Cotton Mather observed the natural phenomenon and considered it an omen of evil. An aurora borealis (northern lights) occurs when charged particles from a solar wind interact with earth’s atmosphere. Children can visit the Library of Congress website with some great questions and answers about the aurora borealis: Aurora Borealis.