By Colleen Sell
Learning about their ancestors makes history come alive for kids and enables them to learn more about themselves. It’s also a great way to spend a wintry day with grandchildren. Here are three simple, enjoyable family history projects you can do together.
1. Share family stories. Children love to hear about their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods. Teens and young adults especially appreciate stories about experiences that helped shaped their parents, grandparents, and other family members’ lives. To illustrate the story, tell it while going through a photo album or before watching an old “home movie” with your grandchild.
2. Create a family keepsake box: You can buy a large keepsake box or make one using a sturdy cardboard or wooden box. (Learn how: “Make a Family Keepsake Box” on Oprah.com.) Start filling it with family treasures — newspaper clippings, photographs, jewelry, medals, family Bible, letters, postcards, clothing, and other family artifacts — adding items over time.
3. Make a family photo tree. Gather photos of people on your grandchild’s family tree. You’ll also need a large sheet of poster board, colored markers, scissors, and glue. Together, draw a big tree with enough branches and limbs to include everyone. Then, glue the photos to the appropriate places on the tree and label them.
For step-by-step instructions, watch “How to Make a Simple Family Tree with Kids.”
Colleen Sell, GRAND magazine’s own Editor-in-Chief, has a passion for sharing stories about her great big Irish-American family, who immigrated to the United States in the 1700s, with her grandchildren.