Family history is often considered a hobby for adults, but children can get involved in the details of their family legacy and learn to love genealogy work too – and it’s easier than you think! Gather the family and get to work on a few of these 7 great family history projects for kids and watch their eyes light up as they learn about the people and places that have made them who they are.
1. DIY “Family Tree” ornaments
For a simple ornament for any tree, copy family photos and employ the kids to cut them down and paste them to sturdy cardstock, attaching ribbons to the backs for hanging. You can see examples of this idea here. Make notes on the back regarding names, dates, and events so children can learn the specifics regarding their heritage.
2. Family photo puzzles
Puzzles are a great way to familiarize children with the faces of their ancestors. Copying family photos and pasting them to a piece of cereal box cardboard is a great way to make your own puzzle. Cut the photo into pieces and help children put the puzzle together, discussing who is in the photo. Puzzle blocks or popsicle-stick puzzles are another way to create a family history puzzle. Walmart and Walgreens also offer special printing services for puzzles made from your photos.
3. Kid-friendly family cookbook
Pass down your favorite family recipes by asking your children to help you create a “heritage” cookbook. Ask them which family dishes are their favorites and get them into the kitchen for recipe “testing.” You may want to photograph each of your foods to add to your book. Once you’ve selected several recipes together, create pages using family photos, food photos, the recipe and notes on whom it came from, and fun things like colorful paper or stickers. Use a binder, simple photo book, or create your own recipe booklet to turn your recipe pages into a book.
4. Easy family photo book
Even the youngest members of a family can enjoy photographs of the people who came before them. Scan family photos into your computer and use basic photo editing software to add captions telling about the people in the photos or make copies of photos and write the information a slip of paper you can place with it. Purchase a simple photo book like this one to put your genealogy photo book together. Place the book among other books the children like and they’ll be sure to pick it up again and again.
5. Family memory game
This family memory game will keep kids entertained while also helping them to learn about their heritage. Make copies of family photos and paste them to an old deck of playing cards or simply mount them on thick cardstock and cut them out, as seen here. You may want to scan the photos and use editing software to add boxes containing text that tells about the person or moment in the photo. Memory is a great game to play with even young children, but if you like, you can make a couple of sets of the cards and combine them in order to play games like “Go Fish.”
6. Family “tree” wall
Allow children to help you choose and arrange photos on a wall in an area of your home where they will be exposed to them often. Frame special items like handkerchiefs, medals, and pocket watches to add interest. You may even want to go bold and paint a “family tree” on your wall or purchase one of these wall decals to create a display. This family wall at Design Mom also includes a genealogy fan chart.
7. Family map
Knowing where your family came from can give a sense of pride and love for family history in a way few other things can. To make the idea more tangible to children, purchase a large map like this one on Amazon. Use tacks and colored string to pinpoint the countries and cities of their ancestors. You may decide to add photos and identifying information on small pieces of paper to further knowledge of the family’s origins.
Your kids will surely be eager to engage and learn more about their family history when you complete these projects together. Personalize each craft and idea to suit your family’s needs and add new photos and items from time to time. They will love watching your genealogy come to life once more!
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
Featured image courtesy of Jones Design Company.