Grades: Preschool – 5th Grade
Here’s a Free Family Tree printable activity for your children. Your children will love creating their own family trees this Fall. This is a great activity for teachers to send home over the Thanksgiving break, or for parents looking for a fun and educational activity for their children. The Family Tree is perfect for a Classroom Memory Book activity!
Why a Family Tree is Important
Children who feel emotionally supported and safe in their homes and schools are better able to focus on their studies. Parents and teachers can help children feel safe when they listen, care and understand. To do this, you need to know where each child is coming from. For example, if you see Mary crying at an assembly about drunk driving, you’ll already understand that her mother was killed by a reckless driver over the summer. You would have known because you had Mary complete a Family Tree, which you had locked away in your file cabinet. The Family Tree is not designed so we can go into the teacher’s lounge and announce that Mary is crying because her mom died. It’s so we can look Mary in the eyes, show her we care and that we are there for her. That is what’s at the root of this family tree… An opportunity for the parents and teachers to listen, care and understand. So, that means that this is a confidential activity. Teachers, keep it locked away in your files in your classroom. Family dynamics are a sensitive issue, and the children and parents are trusting you to keep it confidential.
The Flexible Family Tree
As you can see, this Family Tree is flexible. The children can place the photos on the tree anywhere they wish. That’s intentional. We all have different types of families. Let the children create what they see as their family, without having to fill in pre-determined boxes that may not fit and make the child feel uncomfortable. Let the children be free in expressing where they are coming from. This is just one example of what I mean by “differentiated”. Depending upon the needs of the child, each family tree will be different.
Another important reason for children to complete the family tree is for them to answer the question, “Who am I?” That’s exactly what our children are learning every, single day. A very important part of our self-identity is knowing our roots. This can be fun and it can be painful. It just depends on where the person is coming from and what they have experienced in life. We need to be sensitive to that and use the confidential information to help the child feel cared for and understood.
- Family Tree and Family Tree Photo Leaves
- Photos of family members or allow students to draw their family members.
- Construction Paper (optional, any Fall color, such as orange, yellow or brown)
- Glue or tape
- Pencil or crayons
- Print one family tree and set of photo leaves for each student.
- Explain to the children that they will complete the family tree as a homework assignment and that it will be confidential. You just want to get to know them better.
- Send the family tree home with a note to the parents explaining that you are asking the families to complete the family tree. Explain that it will be kept in your confidential, locked file and not posted on the wall. Tell the families that you would like to learn more about their family, so you can help their child feel cared for and understood. If you like, explain that you will send home the family tree in a classroom memory book at the end of the school year.
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