If you teach young children, then it is inevitable that you will be discussing, investigating, comparing and learning about families. For the past few weeks we have been enjoying learning about families in lots of different ways. We have been discovering who is in our immediate and extended families and have discussed similarities and differences between families in our classroom and around the world. Some of us have even made the remarkable discovery that our grandparents are in fact our Mum and Dad’s parents! If you are looking for some fun activities to add to your family unit, or even a simple assessment piece on family structures, then read on to see these simple ideas below!
1. Family Sketch
To make drawing our families super fun, we scrapped the pencils and pulled out the Sharpies instead. This was an absolute hit! After mounting onto black card, these family drawings looked really effective. We also wrote a sentence about how many people were in our family.
2. Family Tree Craft
The students loved this project and the parents adored the finished product. You will need to put aside several lessons to get these completed, but it is well worth it in the end! Follow the instructions below to make your family tree craft.
First, you will need to send home this FREE Family Tree Grid Template for parents to complete with their child at home. This will help you complete each student’s family tree accurately. Invite parents to draw in other significant family members or step-families.
Place a few drops of brown edicol dye on the bottom of an A3 piece of cartridge paper. Use a straw to blow the dye into the shape of a tree trunk. Leave to dry.
Paint the student’s hand with green paint and place handprints around the top of the page to create the leaves of the tree. Leave to dry.
Select three different coloured cardstocks to work with – one colour for children, one for parents, and one for grandparents. Cut these into 10x5cm strips. ** For large families you may need to use 8x4cm strips. Fold the strips in half to create a square.
Ask the students to open up the square flap (Colour 1) and draw a picture of themselves inside.
Now students need to write their name on the front flap – first with lead pencil, then with Sharpie. Repeat this with each of the children in their family (all on Colour 1). Use the family tree templates completed by the parents to assist with this.
Now students draw each parent (and step-parent) onto Colour 2 card strips. Write their names on the front flap.
Repeat this process for grandparents on Colour 3 card.
Now assist the child to place each square onto the family tree in the correct place. Once everything is in place, the student can glue the squares down.
Glue this FREE ‘My Family Tree’ Heading onto the top of the page. An adult will now need to draw lines with a ruler and Sharpie to connect the family members.
Display their masterpieces for parents to view so they can see everything their child has learned during your learning about families unit. Encourage your students to lift the flaps and explain who each family member is.
In the past I have also created a QR code of each student describing their family and glued the QR code onto the bottom corner of their family tree. QR codes are always a hit with parents!
A BIG project, but totally worth it. This will be a keepsake for life!
3. Family Structures Assessment
This simple activity can be used as an assessment piece if you wish. Those of you from Western Australia may recognise this activity as being similar to one of the assessment pieces used in the Pre-Primary Judging Standards for HASS. It is perfect for assessing whether students can orally respond to and pose questions related to families, identify the structure of their own and others families, and compare their own family to others.
Firstly, students are required to cut out the four different families and glue them in order from the least number of family members, to the most.
The second part of this activity requires the students to orally answer a series of questions. It is best for an adult to scribe student answers for this section.
I hope you can use these ideas when learning about families in your classroom. I would love to see photos of your family drawings and family trees once completed! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!