6 Ways to Celebrate Family History Month
October is finally here, leaves are changing and the cool, crisp air is whispering that summer is heading to the other side of the globe. What does this mean? Well, ghoulish goblins and an over-abundance of sweet sugary candy for one, but it also means something else: Family History Month.
Family History Month is a great opportunity to spend a little time exploring your roots or to encourage your kids to really connect to history. Here are some great ways to celebrate the occasion:
6. Start planning that big family reunion! What better way to celebrate your heritage than getting together with people you haven’t seen in ages, and maybe even some cousins you’ve never met. You can hire an event planner, put together a family social network on Ning.com, or just start contacting relatives you know to get as many addresses together as possible so you can put together a great reunion next summer!
5. Encourage your kids to become a pen-pal with a cousin or second-cousin. What a cool way to learn about your family!
4. Make a family tree. You can explain the connection between your kid and their related-pen-pal, and help them understand where they fit into a tree using a kid-friendly family tree template like this one. For smaller children you can use pictures of relatives and help them organize them into the tree.
3. Make a scrapbook. Explain to kids that someday, their story will be history to someone. They can help tell their story by making scrapbooks or keeping journals that tell the world about what they did during their October.
2. Put together a time capsule and bury it in the back yard. Pick out some things that will help someone figure out what your kids were like, maybe that spelling test they got an A on, or a picture of the family at Christmas time, and put it in a waterproof container (or just a couple of sealed Ziploc freezer bags and a Tupperware container with some weatherproof duct tape around the edges) and lower it down into the yard. Have the kids make a treasure map and some instructions explaining when the capsule should be dug up for a future generation.
1. Do you already know something about your family history? Maybe an ancestor went to California for the gold rush, or your family immigrated from Ireland during the potato famine? Incorporate that into an activity for a day. Find the nearest “Pan for Gemstones” location so they can get the experience, or go to the library and find a book about Irish folklore so they can connect to the stories kids from their family might have heard growing up in Ireland.
Ghost towns, historic sites, or even visiting family gravesites and making rubbings are all great ways to help your children discover the joys of history. If you don’t know much about your family’s roots, you may consider hiring someone to help you find out more, or starting the journey to discovering your heritage on your own. Whatever you do, find some way to enjoy this special time of year and celebrate Family History Month with your children.