Every kid loves to finger paint. So, why not take advantage of that love, and share with them a little family history in the process? There are a few fun ways that you can have your children get their hands a little dirty and create a family tree they can hang in their room and remember their relatives whenever they look at the craft they created.
First, you can start out with the youngest kids, and draw a tree trunk for them. From the trunk draw branches going straight up and out. The "leaves" can be their entire hand at the end of the branches. Use different shades of green. It is OK if the hands overlap. Then, at the end of each finger, or along each finger, you can write the names of their ancestors that make up their family tree. If possible, show them pictures of some of their ancestors when you write the names down. The kids will love seeing their hands and fingers making up the leaves of their family history.
Another idea instead of using the entire hand, is to use thumb prints to add leaves to the tips of the branches. Each thumb print can represent a person on the family tree. To get other family members involved, have grandparents and great-grandparents that might still be living contribute their thumbprint as well. This will teach children how they are all connected to their relatives. In addition, you can have the children use their thumbs not only for themselves but for relatives that have passed on. This will help them connect more with those that have gone before them!
Another twist to the thumb-print family tree would be to draw roots below the ground. Have yourself, your spouse, and your children's thumbprints make up the roots of the tree. You could even add a few other living relatives to the roots of the tree, like grandparents, for example. The branches can have thumbprints from your children that represent all of those that have passed on before them.
The last idea for using the thumb prints could be to have the roots be relatives that have passed on and the branches represent all of those still living in the family. This way, you could include aunts, uncles, and cousins that are living too. Your children could have fun visiting living relatives and getting them to add their thumb print to the tree. Leave blank spots on the tree for additional relatives that are born during the children's lives. They will have fun seeing the tree grow over the years. Start with a larger canvas so the tree has room to grow. Go ahead and frame it when you have all the living relatives as part of the tree. Make sure the frame is easy to take apart to add additional relatives in future.
Getting kids involved in family history is not an easy task, but if you can combine things they love, with family history, it should be as easy as cake. And what kid doesn't love to finger paint?