What do your grandchildren know about their family ancestry? Family history is an important part of a person’s identity and we are a link to that history. We can help our grandchildren understand more about themselves by sharing our lineage and life stories.
At our March Zoom meeting, our presenters Judy Hall and Kelly Walters shared three interactive experiences to enjoy with your grandchildren to help them learn about their family ancestry. Judy and Kelly are the mother-daughter founders of Grand Connections. Their website offers unique age-appropriate DIY experiences to deepen the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren while creating lasting memories. Each activity is designed to create a sense of your family ancestry by sharing family relationships, stories, and history.
The first mini DIY activity for 3 – 5 year-olds is called “Peek-a-boo who are you?” This game can be played in-person or online. The activity is a great way to start explaining family relationships to young children. Kelly shared a time-lapse video of how to create this family ancestry board with photos of family members hidden under flaps of paper. You can show a photo of grandpa and explain “this is daddy’s daddy.” The step-by-step process can be found on their website at this link: https://www.grandconnections.net/mini-diy-experiences
Telling Family Stories
The second activity for 6 – 12+ year-olds is called “Yummy Dessert Cookbook” and comes from one of Judy’s Camp Grandma themes she did with her 12, 10, and 7-year old granddaughters.
She showed the girls family photos of her grandparents from 1928 and explained how they met. Her grandfather was a baker and president of the Texas Bakers Association. For the activity, she located family-owned bakeries in their town and took her granddaughters to visit the bakeries. They met the bakery owners and learned their stories. The next day each girl made her own cake from Judy’s collection of family recipes. Then Judy and her granddaughters each made an album with photos and drawings from their activities.
Judy said, “you could literally see their bonds deepen and their understanding of family history grow as they worked on their albums.”
For the third activity, also for 6 – 12+ year-olds, Judy explained that she enlisted her childhood friend and her three granddaughters to craft their custom family crest. She described the project as “a trip down memory lane, a treasure hunt and a 3-D art piece.”
Here are the steps:
- Explain the terms “family crest” and “collage” to your grandchildren.
- Make a map of your family identity by answering questions about your family history, your shared interests, your philosophy, and a family motto.
- Write the answers on post-it notes then go on a treasure hunt to look for trinkets around the house that showcase your unique family memories.
- Tell family stories about the items you find as you’re searching for them.
- Gather your items in a workspace sorting them into groups and arrange them on a plaque or board.
- Add some artistic touches with color and use card stock to write your family motto.
The full DIY Experience Pack includes 19 pages of detailed instructions and photos. It’s available for $9.99 at this link:
Questions to Inspire You
- What is one story about your family (history, interests) that you want to share with your grandchildren?
- What are some things your grandchildren are interested in that you and your grandchildren enjoy doing together?
- Brainstorm some activities/interests that can be used to share the story you came up with in the first question.
All of these activities that Judy and Kelly shared will help you deepen the bonds between you and your grandchildren and create lasting memories. For even more inspiration, you can find additional DIY and Mini DIY Experiences to explore on their website.
2 thoughts on “Share Your Ancestry with the Grandchildren”
Thanks for sharing your fascinating ancestry, Irene. It makes me smile to think about your grandchildren embracing the qualities of their famous ancestors.
I was close to several of my great grandparents and my grandparents. Both sides of the family were storytellers and I was the kid who loved to sit and listen to the family stories. I did some genetic research on two different sites as well and am gradually doing the grandchildren’s genetic research.
Recently I found out our mitochrontrial DNA, a very small subset of a very small clan of mitrochrontrial DNA, is directly linked to the woman Viking warrior, the Birka woman.
My best friend did research for me as well and while I am not a direct descendent of Jesse James and his brother Frank, our great, great plus grandmothers were sisters.
My grandchildren make make jokes at times about who they act like depending on whether they want to be shown as strong or as bandits.
I really need to video the stories that have been passed down so they are not forgotten. OPn my mother’s die I was able to get as far as the Maryland Appalachians, from County Cork and Scotland. On the other side, I visited the small villages outside Salamanca , Spain, realizing I would stoop after that since they were simple peasants and records would be more difficult to trace. I suppose with some expense I could follow the records of the Catholic Church.
It has given me pause to think of how much sacrifice my ancestors experienced…..and I hope my grands will think the same when they are adults.
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