Family History Projects for Children

family history projects for children

We love to incorporate family history throughout our homeschool learning.  You don’t have to wait until your children are writing essays or old enough to research online.  There are plenty of ways to bring family history into your learning and create a desire within your children to know their story.  In fact, I think starting young is ideal.

Here are a few ideas for that are suitable for younger children.

  • Story-telling:  Have a story-telling session and pass on stories of your own childhood and those you remember being told to you.  Children love stories, no matter how simple they may seem in the telling: camping trips, how their parents met, favourite places to visit as a child, stories of friendships, baking with Mum, what your childhood home was like, fixing a bike with your grandfather, how you became a Christian, and so forth.
  • Interview a family member: Choose an older family member to interview.  You might like to use Skype, letter writing, or e-mail if you can’t speak to your family member in person.  Have a list of questions ready to ask before interviewing them, and perhaps consider setting a length of time as well.  I did this with an older family member and used the questions in this journal, jotted the answers verbatim on scrap paper, and then carefully wrote her words neatly into the journal during my own time.  We did this over a series of conversations.
    You might like to ask permission to record them also.
  • Create a Family Record: If your child is writing competently, create a journal with them of different members of their family, both living and deceased.  Include vital information such as births, deaths, marriage, descendants, but also other information such as occupations, places of residence, and whatever interesting facts that can uncover through talking to you and other family members.  There are lots of family history record sheets online you can print off to record this information and add a photo or two (here’s a free one that we’ve used).
  • Write a Journal: Encourage your child to keep their own journal where they can record their thoughts and dreams, favourite things, friendships, prayers, and whatever else they would like to preserve in writing.
  • Timeline: Include family events on your timeline if you keep one (and consider keeping one if you haven’t!); be it births, marriages and deaths, religious events, immigration and naturalisation, military campaigns they were part of, and other important dates.  This makes for a fun exercise for your children to see what else was happening in the world at the time.
  • Geography: Map ancestral places of interest on a large markable map.  Trace the route(s) taken for your different family lines to arrive at the place your family now lives in.  Discuss how borders have changed for different countries.
  • Unit Study: Choose a topic to complete a unit study on, be it a person of interest, place, occupation, or historical period (to name a few).  I’ll post on this another time, as we’re about to start one on an ancestor.  You may like to choose a ancestor that you have plenty of information on, or simply someone who lived during an interesting period of history where you can look into their occupation, standard of living, and historical events taking place.
  • Visit a local historical place of interest: Take a field trip to visit a local historical place, even if it isn’t directly part of your family history.  You can still talk about what was happening in your family at the time, and also about the relevance to the local you now live in.
  • Visit your local library:  Look at old newspapers together.  Older children could undertake a specific project, such as what life was like 50 years ago, or how a particular occupation has changed (eg. building, baking or dairy-farming).
  • Art:  I’ll write on this one in depth another time.  But here’s a handful of ways to include art: photograph local historical landmarks; create a folder of newspaper front pages; make a collage of a family group which could include copies of photos and letters, and decorate with scrapbooking embellishments, newspaper scraps and drawings of heirlooms; make a large family tree poster with a giant tree in the centre and include ancestral relationships up the branches (include parents, grandparents, great grandparents).
  • Family Mealtime: Help your children create a meal that your ancestors might have eaten and include an accompanying lesson on mealtime etiquette.
    You might have a special cake recipe that’s been handed down. Or you could simply put together a meal that your ancestors are likely to have eaten – on a special occasion, my English grandparents enjoyed  roast beef with yorkshire puddings and gravy, and bread and butter pudding with custard for dessert.

 Do you have any ideas you’d like to add?

{You might also be interested in my other posts on Family History}

 

 

9 thoughts on “Family History Projects for Children

  1. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    I love these ideas! We have another set of grandparents coming to visit in a month or so. We always try to do the story idea (your first idea), but we’ve never done the others! And your photos remind me the next time I’m home, I need to get copies of all of our great-great relative photos!

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      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor

        Grandparents are here again…list is printed…we’re goin’ live!!! They’re gonna’ love you! (I’m laughing. They do well with us, but if left to their own devices, they’d be very quiet people and not pass on their family stories to my children–or my husband and I! So this will take them out of their comfort zone! Yee haw!)

        Reply
  2. mm0f2kds

    Just today I participated in a How To Write Your Life Story class being held at our local library. One of the things the presenter shared was a study that was conducted and in this study, they discovered that kids whose parents and grandparents shared stories of challenges,victories,and sticking together, went on to become successful in their own marriages and lives. Knowing their parents and grandparents met challenges and overcame them gave these kids a hope and security.

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