Children can be naturally curious about their cultural heritage and family history. Learning about and exploring heritage can be fun for children with hands-on activities. Exploring past family generations can help build family bonds and build present-day memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Try the following list of activities to broaden your kids' minds.
Children can interview living relatives about their family history knowledge. Interviews can be recorded on paper, tape recorded or even video recorded. Using a camcorder or a video recorder will create a living record that can be enjoyed by future generations. Before the interviews, have children write down what they already know and what they would like to know and form questions. During the interview, ask if the family member has old photos of family members that you can borrow and copy.
Making a family tree is a great way to organize information as children learn about their family heritage. Starting with themselves, help children make a record for each family member. Each record can be placed on an index card to help with organization. On each card, write the person's full name, date and place of birth, date of death (if applicable), and any other relevant information known such as nickname, occupation, etc. Once cards are complete for each person, copy the information onto a family tree. The tree can be drawn on paper or poster board or completed on a computer.
Family Heritage Album
Putting together a family heritage scrapbook is a great way to organize and visually record family heritage and history. Begin by collecting photos of present and past generations of family members. Scan the pictures into digital form. If you do not have a scanner, there are online and retail photo stores that will scan photos onto a CD for a small fee. Upload the photos onto a photo-sharing site such as Shutterfly (shutterfly.com) or Flickr (flickr.com). Share the account link with friends and family and ask them to share stories about the people pictured. Combine the pictures and shared stories into a scrapbook.
Once children have explored their family heritage, move on to activities that explore cultural heritage. Have children choose a country or culture that they have ancestral roots in and research it. Find out about cultural and religious celebrations and compare them to the holidays that the child celebrates. Explore what foods are eaten in the culture and prepare a meal to celebrate the culture. Research traditional and past clothes that were worn in the culture. The child can prepare a presentation on what they learn and present it to the rest of the family.
Melanie Allen began writing for Demand Studios in 2010. Her areas of expertise include crafts, traveling and youth development. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology with a concentration in child development from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.