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Literacy, Life Skills

Creating a Family Tree

The holidays present a wonderful opportunity to discuss the concept of family. As your child spends extra time with relatives, many of whom don’t live in your home, she might have questions about how the people in her life are connected. And let’s face it – genealogy is a complex and abstract concept for adults, so it can be quite confusing trying to explain to your child how she is “related” to someone else.

Start out by discussing the people who live in your home (parents, caregivers, siblings, and yes they’ll want to include their pet hamster). Then ask your child who else they think of when they think of family. This might include grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins. It even might include close friends who can absolutely feel like a part of your family!

Encourage questions, and then create a diagram to help her understand how everyone is connected!

As our gift to you and your family, we have included a link to our Family Tree experience below. We hope you find time this holiday season to have these invaluable conversations with the ones you love and bring your family history to the forefront of your special celebrations.


  1. Cut apart the portrait circles – we’ve included two sets from which to choose.
  2. Use a favorite art material to draw each family member inside a portrait circle. 
  3. Write in the names of each person – take dictation for pre-writers and let early writers write independently or copy from a list of names that you’ve provided.
  4. Glue each portrait onto the tree. With older children, you might want to discuss the way a traditional family tree is organized, with older generations toward the top and younger generations toward the bottom. However, we suggest allowing your child to organize her tree in whatever fashion makes sense to her!
  5. Finally, write your family name on the label at the bottom of the tree and display your tree proudly!

If you are an online member you’ll find the Family Tree experience here, and for our Do-It-Together Kit subscribers, you have everything you need in your D-I-T Kit: All About Trees.

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