Post written by Jim Mooberry
I was blessed to spend many hours with my father before he passed away a few years back. I spent a lot of time listening to him recount his youth and early family years. Little by little I began to piece together more of a complete family tree. My children have also been fascinated to hear about their extended family history through his eyes.
Learning about their ancestors makes history come alive for kids and enables them to learn more about themselves. If you are an elder in the family consider making a plan to record these historical vignettes and details for posterity. 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.
Everyone will look back and be thankful for their elders who transmitted the family history for future generations.