Can you believe Family History Month is nearly over? We hope you’ve had a great month of researching your family even further and sharing in new family memories!This is the last in our four-part series which highlights creative ways to get children interested in family history research. Here are three fun activities to do with the little ones in your family.
1. Create a Family Tree
It’s important for children to understand the familial relationship between them and the people around them and a great way to teach this is by having them fill in their own family tree.
You can visit Have Fun Teaching to access FREE printable family trees which already have the template designed for families with 1-5 children. If you want a more extensive family tree template to include great-grandparents and beyond, visit the Ancestry Learning Center forms which are also FREE.
2. Where In the World?
When I was little, I was obsessed with maps. Truth is, I’m still obsessed with maps. I had a 6′ x 6′ world map on my bedroom wall when I was 13. I used to stick little flag pins in the places I had visited and surrounded the border of the map with postcards from every place. It was like a giant Pinterest board before Pinterest even existed!
Why not use maps to teach your children where their ancestors come from? This is also a great exercise in teaching children how to read maps. Parents can visit our Pinterest board dedicated to our favorite maps. Be sure to connect the location to a story about the ancestor(s) who lived there. You can also use identifying information when you’re putting place markers in the map, like including a photo of the ancestor or an interesting fact about them so your child shares in the story.
3. Road Trip
When I was 11 years old, my grandparents and I traveled to Germany for an exciting overseas genealogical road trip. We went to research the Koger surname on my grandmother’s side to Auggen, Germany and visited the cemetery in their ancestral town with generations of Kogers. I vividly remember my grandmother doing a pencil trace of the tombstones and what appeared to be a family crest. Yes, yes, I know it’s unlikely it was a REAL family crest, but at that young age, I thought I was royalty! Also, check with the cemetery office to see if they allow tracing of headstones as some don’t allow this in an effort to keep headstones from deteriorating.
Make these special memories with your children by staying local or regional, if overseas isn’t an option. If your family stayed in the same place, you might even have a street, park or body of water named after your family. I have a lake named after my 3x great-grandfather, which I’m planning to visit for the first time next spring — pretty neat! Wherever the place or country may be, find somewhere that was meaningful to the generations upon generations in your family tree and share that moment with your children.