Are you trying to get your children interested in family history?
There are so many benefits to children having strong ties to their family history. Typically these children have stronger emotional health, high self-esteem and exert more control over their lives.
Genealogy has sadly gained an image of being primarily a hobby for the retired, but fear not as there are ways to make family history fun for children.
Read on to see our top 10 list on how to get children involved in their family history.
1. Interview Relatives
One of the best ways to get children interested in family history is to get them to interview family members.
There are many new family tree apps available that support activities around building your family history research. One of these features that are great for interactivity is the ability to record interviews on your mobile.
Children will be drawn to this activity due to the familiarity. That’s the familiarity of technology and the socialising and getting to know family members on a deep and personal level.
Ask grandma what was her favourite childhood games or what she wanted to be when she was a child. Children will get to understand their relatives and connect with them while recording their life story for their family history research.
We’ve written a past post on the best interview questions to ask, you can give it a read here.
We particularly love the idea that this could become a family tradition. When your children grow up, their children can interview you for your family history research.
2. Create a family tree scrapbook
Work backwards from your immediate family through your matriarchal and patriarchal lines collecting documents, achievements and best of all -photographs.
Getting children involved in creating this family tree scrapbook will make them feel like it’s their personal project and they will take ownership of it.
By including documentation and photographs children will be able to learn wonderful stories about their relatives. Maybe they will be inspired to take up new activities to follow in their ancestor’s footsteps.
We love the activity of finding lots of old photographs of relatives when they were children and looking for any family resemblances.
3. Create a personal life story or timeline
Encourage your children to create their own life story or even a personal timeline of their lives.
This is a different spin on family history and it encourages children to focus on recording their own story to be inherited by future generations. This is an easy way to get children to the start of their own genealogy journey.
We have touched upon using a life story creation app in a past post, you can read the post here.
4. Make a Time Capsule
Making a time capsule is a great way for children to think about them as being someone’s ancestors.
Put together in a box all of the things that represent them and their life today. Set a date, conceal and bury or store the capsule in a safe place. And if you’re going to bury it, make sure you leave a note where it is buried.
5. Keep items with sentimental value
Show and discuss with your children the important items that you have inherited and kept throughout the family.
Telling a story behind family heirlooms can be a way to get into more family history stories teaching children about past relatives.
6. Tell stories
We all remember at least one childhood story told to us from our grandparents or parents. Whether it was about them as children, or even a story passed through the family.
If you don’t have any stories that immediately spring to mind, then do your own family history research and find out about these stories yourself. Then share the stories in an exciting way with your children. Whether it’s inspirational achievements, times of working through hardship, or even a love story of how your grandparents met. Think of anything that can get your children smiling and asking more questions.
7. Learn to Make an Old Family Recipe
Baking and cooking is a great activity for children to be involved in. If you regularly bake with your children then find a recipe that is used often in your family.
If you don’t quite have an old family recipe, bake dishes and treats that are common or traditional in the area you are from.
Even if you’ve traced your family back a long way, you may discover an unlikely relative from a different land. In this case, find a traditional recipe from this area and bake it with your children, teaching them why this dish links to you.
8. Find the meaning of names
Finding out what your name means is a great way to spark a child’s interest in family history. There are loads of websites out there that you can find name meanings and where the names originated from.
9. Find historical events on the dates of their birthdays
For a child to be interested in their family history, they first have to have an interest in history. If you can find a historical event which shares the same day as their birthday they will then take an interest in that event. From there you can begin to highlight your ancestors who lived during that period in history.
10. Involve entertainment
Showing children TV clips and music from another era in history can influence them to take an interest. Even if it’s old songs that grandparents and great- grandparents used to sing.