You may think that a family tree project isn’t necessary, but really, it is. We learn so much from digging our roots and learning about where we come from and there are a lot of great lessons children can learn as well.
There are many ways to create a family tree. You can allow your children to create trees on Ancestry.com or Family Search, the latter is free. Using online resources is going to give you and your children a lot of information quickly and easily. Ancestry, in my opinion, is more user friendly. Family Search is great if you want to treat the tree as a group project.
If you have young children or do not want your kids online, then you can do it all on paper. There are albums, scrapbooks, and paper diagrams available online. If you go this route then your children are also working on building their creativity, penmanship, as well as learning history. You can also print state maps and have older children locate where their ancestors were born, lived, and died. That way they’re also learning geography.
If you happen to live where your ancestors dwelled, then you can visit their homes, cemeteries, etc. Last week when we were in North Carolina we took the kids to see where their ancestors were from. They saw their great great grandparent’s house, their great great uncle and aunt’s house, and the family cemetery that dates back to the 1700s when my dad’s family came here from Scotland. All three of our children enjoyed the tour for different reasons.
This is also a great time to pull out the old family albums and share stories with your children. Don’t make up anything. Just pass along what you know. My kids love seeing old pictures and hearing about what their ancestors did, where they traveled, and where they lived. Look up historical events that would have affected them and talk about those, too. That’s what brings history to life and makes it interesting.
Also, food has changed over the years. Look up what your ancestors may have eaten and you can teach your children how to cook. A lot of kids, not my eleven year old, are more willing to eat something they’ve made.
There are a lot of other things that you can tie into a family tree project if you use your imagination. If you have a Newspapers.com subscription you can look into even more details on your family and your children will learn even more. This can even be a religious lesson if you want to include where your family went to church, what the church taught then, etc. For instance, I found out that part of my family belonged to The Church of the Brethren. I learned that this year, but my father in law was a pastor with The Church of the Brethren and I was married, by him, in that church. I love sharing that with my children because I find it fascinating.
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