“There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, and the other, wings.”
- Hodding S. Carter
Wondering how to keep your kids busy with something other than hours of TV this summer? Take on the challenge of helping your children discover their roots by creating a family tree – with a little detective role-playing. Not only is this an educational opportunity that will enable you to make lasting memories in the process, but you are preserving a part of your story for future generations to enjoy. Pull out an old magnifying glass and set the tone for a detective approach by telling your kiddos that it’s time to be a family sleuth – uncovering the mystery of how they came to be!
Step 1 – Gather: Leave little clues around the house so that the kids can solve the puzzle of their family roots. A post-it note on the phone with the name and number of grandma or grandpa is the perfect way to begin solving the case. Your kids can interview any relatives that might be able to help them find out as much information as they can about their grandparents’ birth dates, occupations, maiden names, etc. Once they have those nuggets of info, they’re ready for step 2!
Step 2 – Check the Facts: What does a detective do after following all the clues? Checks the facts. Have your kids share the information they gathered from relatives and dig deeper in your family history. Organize your family facts using sites like Ancestry.com, Geneology.com, and Geni.com where you can get quick and easy access to billions of historic records and discover relative connections spanning generations. If you don’t want to shell out the cash for it, get a free 14-day trial with this Ancestry.com coupon code to test it out. The site allows you to explore public records, build a digital family tree, and send an email invitation to other relatives to get them to fill in the missing pieces.
Step 3 – Show & Tell: Ta-da! The last step is compiling the evidence and creating a masterpiece with it (a.k.a. time to get creative!) Using all the facts you’ve uncovered about your family members and a little artsy inspiration will allow you and your kids to create a timeless masterpiece. Kick it up a notch by planning a picnic, cookout, or hangout with a full day of family fun so that everyone can take part in the making. Check out Kimmie Ess of Sugar and Dots for a tutorial on how to make a beautiful keepsake that is “easy peasy.” If you’d like to incorporate family portraits, Famille Summerbelle makes it super convenient and stylish with their family tree prints.
Now that the mystery of the missing family roots is solved – be sure to take some time to debrief by asking your kids: “What did you learn about our family? What did you find most interesting about making our family tree?” You can even keep the family fun going by encouraging your kids to write up a story using the new information they learned to share with their friends and other family members. Frame your beautiful family tree and share the memories for many years to come.