A family tree project can emphasize to kids the importance of family both near and far. As HealthyChildren.org points out, a child's self-esteem can be greatly bolstered by a sense of belonging, especially when it comes to family. Just be sure to explain the concept of a family tree to younger children before the project gets underway.
A family tree project for preschoolers can be a take on the tree motif. Use a piece of brown construction paper for the tree trunk, creating a branch for each family member. You can even let your little one do some cutting. As HealthyChildren.org notes, by the age of 3 or 4 a kiddo has the finger dexterity to use scissors, so capitalize on this developing skill as you talk about who is in your family. Ask your tyke, "How many people live with us?" and "Who else is in our family who doesn't live with us?" Then, from white construction paper, allow your tot to cut out and color apples on which you can write each family member's name. Your child's favorite part (and the messiest step) will probably be gluing the apples to the tree.
If the apple idea doesn't do it for her, your kindergarten-aged child will enjoy the task of collecting leaves outside with which to create your family tree; just make sure the leaves aren't too dry. Help your honey determine how many leaves she will need -- your 5- or 6-year-old is probably ready to include more of the extended family. Say "Let's count your cousins," then supply your sweetie with small label stickers and a pen. As KidsHealth.org notes, by the age of 5 kids are learning to write letters. This is an opportunity for your budding writer to practice her printing. Ask her to write each family member's name on a label and then carefully affix it to a leaf. Your child can draw a tree on a piece of poster board with a marker and glue or tape the leaves on branches.
School Aged Assignment
Older kids may have fun using pictures of family members to create the family tree. Perhaps a school aged child can use a digital camera to capture her own images. Help your future photographer order prints online or use a color photo printer. Your kiddo can create her genealogy on a piece of poster board. Suggest that she write an interesting fact about each family member under the name. For instance, "Grandpa Joe has a green thumb." Your child can then present her project to the entire family.
If you have kids of varying ages who will work on the family tree, assign each tot a different role. Your preschooler is in charge of collecting twigs from the yard to create actual family tree branches. A kindergartener is the official water color painter of cut-out leaf shapes. An older child uses the computer to type family member names on printable labels. The kiddos can collectively show off their creation at the next family gathering.
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