Do your kids like to look through your old family photo album books? If not, would you still like them to know more about their roots?
Getting to know their family history is a great way to help children build a sense of identity, and can be a lovely way to spend time together too. If you’d like to teach your kids about their ancestors in a fun way, building a family tree is the perfect option.
This activity can be a fun creative release for the whole family, but also a captivating trip down memory lane. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this simple step-by-step guide to creating a family tree.
1. Do your research
Before you actually build your family tree, you need to know who’s going to be sitting on its branches. Start by writing a list of your immediate relatives, and the information you know about them. There’s no need to limit yourself to just names and dates of birth; go further and find out about their hobbies, occupations, greatest achievements, and peculiarities.
It’s a great idea to pay a visit to your older relatives and find out what they know about the generations before them. If this isn’t possible, you might want to consider using specialised services that help people find information about their forebears.
2. Make a draft of your family tree
Once you have built up some information on your family members, it’s time to start drafting your family tree.
Calculate how many branches your tree needs in order to incorporate all your relatives. Also think about whether you’ll have enough space to fit in all the interesting information about your relatives, or if you need to stick to names and dates.
If your family tree is looking incomplete or unbalanced, you could try to find out more about your relatives to build up a full picture of your heritage. As you add in relatives and details, double check that you’ve connected everyone in the right way.
3. Prepare your images
Once you have your list of ancestors, you can start collecting their images. It’s likely that some of those old photos aren’t in mint condition, but you can restore them before you use them for your family tree. If you don’t trust yourself to fix your old photos manually, consider doing it digitally with photo restoration software. This kind of specialised program will help you get rid of defects like stains, rips, cracks, or dust. You can also use it to make faded colours richer, and even colourise black and white images in a snap.
4. Arm yourself with tools
This is where the crafting really starts! To make your family tree you will need a piece of cardboard, glue, scissors, a marker pen, paints and brushes. You can go even further and incorporate more intricate materials into your project – all depending on the style of family tree you go for.
It’s a good idea to print all the old images you restored before you start assembling your tree.
5. Create your family tree!
Now it’s time to unleash your inner artist.
First, sketch the outline of the tree according to your initial draft. Once all the branches have been drawn, start painting your tree with colours – this is a great stage to get the kids involved.
Next, prepare all the pictures by cutting them into circles, with the relative’s face in the middle. Glue the pictures onto their respective places, and use your marker pen to write down names, dates, places of birth and other information you want to include. If you’re good at drawing you could decorate the pictures with frames – or just print some out and glue them onto your tree.
You can take your creation a step further by adding more decoration. Natural materials such as dried flowers or seashells, old coins, family memorabilia and old letters all work well.
Once your family tree is finished, you can display it in your home and enjoy it with the rest of the family.
And that’s how to make a simple family tree and get the kids engaged with learning about their ancestors. As well as teaching them about your family history, this family tree project is a fantastic way for kids to be creative – and it’s also a fun way to spend time together.
Have you created a family tree? Share your tips for making it fun and successful in the comments.