Maegan Kasteler | Oct 19, 2018

Family History Is for Everyone: Kids

This is the first in a series of four blog posts designed to help you find fun ways for those of all ages to get involved in family history.

Finding ways to make family history relevant for the whole family can be difficult. We are here to share some fun ideas to get the whole family involved in our new series Family History Is for Everyone, starting with the youngest historians, the kids!

Kids are notorious for their short attention spans and need to be on the move at all times, so getting them involved in family history can seem like a task that is destined to fail.

Here are some of our suggestions of ways to make family history fun for kids:

Interview your kids

Do you record home movies? Have you ever used that time to ask your kids questions? It may not seem like a way to get your kids involved in family history, but it actually is! You can ask your kids questions about their dreams and aspirations, maybe what they see their future being, what career they want to pursue, what things they like doing, their favorite food, what they think of their siblings, etc.

The interviews and other candid moments you catch on film can help add to your family history. If you do this consistently you can track changes over time and maybe some of their predictions about their future will come true.

Create a visual family tree

It’s time to sit down with those art supplies! Break out the glitter, macaroni noodles, and crayons! Let your kids create their own family tree and express their creativity. Maybe the tree is made out of bark off a tree from your yard and the leaves are real. Or maybe it’s a blue and pink glitter tree. Perhaps your little one will make their tree with pipe cleaners and pom-poms. Whatever method you and your kids use to create your tree, let them make it theirs, and then help them fill in the branches on their tree and find a place to display their artwork proudly so they can always be reminded of their family.

Recreate old photos

Do you have old family photos lying around? They can be of those who are still living or those who have gone before. You can use the photos to teach your kids about those photographed and then recreate the photo! Get in full costume, and try, as accurately as possible, to recreate the photo precisely.

This can be a great teaching moment for your kids, and they can learn about their ancestors, how they lived, dressed, and interacted with each other. If you are recreating a newer photograph, perhaps of your kids, it can act as a great marker for how they have changed through the years.

Interview your grandparents

Take your kids over to grandma and grandpas and turn the cameras on them! Sit down with your kids in advance, and come up with some questions so they can be involved in the process from start to finish. (If you need some ideas for questions, check out this blog post [link to new post about questions to ask your elders].) You can record or film your kids interviewing their grandparents or other aging relatives. This is an easy way for your kids to learn about their family history, and as an extra bonus, you have the recording to add to your family history files. When your kids are grown, and the grandparents are gone, they can look back to see and remember how they and their grandparents interacted with each other.

Explore your ancestor’s homeland

Traveling with kids can be a disaster, so introducing your kids to their ancestral homeland may seem like an impossible feat. Not with modern technology. Have you ever explored Google Earth or Google Street View? These free features allow you to explore the globe with three-dimensional interactive maps and street views.

 

Use these features to help your kids, and you, learn more about where you came from. You can track down past homes that you’ve lived in with your kids, or homes of your progenitors. You can use these tools to see if those homes are still standing and how they have changed through time.

Have other ideas for ways to get kids involved in family history? Tweet us @RootsTech, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for future installments of this series.

Maegan Kasteler

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