Blog post

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A recipe to get kids interested in family history

My children have recently taken enough of an interest in our family history that they sometimes ask me questions about it.

“But children think family history is boring”, I hear you say.

“How was this incredible feat accomplished?”

Actually, it happened by accident.

A few years ago I had an ancestry chart printed out by a local office supplies store, just to try out having a chart printed. I looked at it, thought about what I would do differently next time, rolled it up and stored it at the back of a cupboard. It’s not display quality, but when I came across it again it seemed a waste to throw it away. Instead I put the 3 metre wide document up on the wall of our study.

The children noticed this new addition and asked me about it.

Child looking at ancestor chart

Now pay attention, because this is the good bit.

Instead of telling them it’s an ancestor chart – which they would hear as “Family history blah blah blah” – I told them it was a recipe. Yes, a recipe.

A recipe to make…. them!

Suddenly this mildly interesting addition to the room became all about them and (almost) fascinating. It helped that I had included their names on it. We had a good talk about where the different ingredients people came from and since then I have used it a few times to point out an ancestor I have been talking about. They like to count back the generations from themselves and are much more likely to listen to me talking about something I’ve found.

My eleven year old even thought to ask me what evidence I had for these conclusions! (proud mother here!)

Not bad for a black and white chart with only the most basic information.

Now I want to have a new chart printed with photos where I have them, perhaps country flags, occupations, “fun facts”?! I think they’ll really enjoy looking at that, and the questions will keep on coming.