01 October 2014

October is Family History Month! Day 1: Genealogy with Kids


A whole month dedicated to family history? Sign my up!
I thought I'd start out the month by looking into ways to involve my kids in family history. They are too young to do records research, but they are never to young to learn about genealogy. A study by Emory University showed that children who knew about their family history had better emotional well-being and faced challenges better. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. Sounds about right.
So here are some kid-friendly family history ideas
Create a timeline
Start with just a few generations back and look at the dates of different events in their lives. Births, deaths, marriages. You could also include some world/nation-wide events to put things into historical perspective.
Fill out a pedigree chart
There are lots of cute free 4 generation charts online that you can print and fill out. For younger kids, find one that they can color.
Interview an older relative
Have them visit or call an older family member and ask them questions about their life. Where they were born, what school they went to, favorite toy, favorite birthday, first job, what were their parents like...These are all great questions to get the conversation started.
Make a scrapbook
Make copies of family photos and have the kids create a scrapbook. Label the photos and talk about the stories that go with them. This is a great activity for kids who like cutting, coloring, and gluing things.
Make a family history Guess Who game
If you have lots of family portraits, you can make a personalized game of Guess Who. You may choose to just include living relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents), or go further back in the family tree and just use direct line ancestors.
I hope you make time this month to share some family history with your kids!