A family tree can help eliminate the confusion about family ties.
Kids are a curious bunch. It’s natural for them to wonder who Grandma and Grandpa are and why your family spends time with them. (In the back of your mind, you might sometimes wonder the same thing, depending on the grandparents.) When you make a family tree using photographs, you make a visual aid that shows your little one how everyone is connected. However, it may take some time for him to figure out how his uncle can be a brother to someone else at the same time.
1Gather information about the family members that you want to include on the family tree. This information can include full names, the maiden names of married women, birth dates and the dates of any deaths. If you don’t have all this information on hand — don’t worry, a lot of people don’t — take a peek at the family Bible or give the family matriarchs and patriarchs a call. If you’re an ultra-busy mom, keep in mind that the more generations you include, the more research you’ll need to do. For a basic family tree, go back three to four generations, depending if your child’s great grandparents are alive and how full you want the family tree to look.
2Write down your family tree on a piece of paper using a bracket system. At the bottom of the tree, add the names and relevant dates for you and your partner. Under your names, evenly space a vertical line for each child you have. Write the names of your children and their birthdays under the lines. Above your name, draw two evenly spaced vertical lines; do the same above your partner’s name. At the top of these lines, write down the names and appropriate dates for your parents and your partner’s parents. Then draw some lines that branch out from the sides and bottom of the parents’ names so you can add the names of your siblings. You can complete a three-generation family tree by adding the names of siblings’ spouses followed by the names of their children underneath. For a four-generation family tree, add two vertical lines above your tot’s grandparent’s names so you can add information about the great-grandparents. If you like, surround this top tier with the names of your grandparents’ siblings (your aunts and uncles), their spouses and their children (your cousins).
3Gather photos of everyone that you want to include in the family tree. If you think you may have to resort to begging for photos, save your sanity by seeing if you can find a photo through a social networking account. Keep in mind that you’re using a paper punch that cuts 1-inch circles, so everyone’s head needs to fit within that space.
4Make the base of the family tree. It’s time to get crafty! Create the trunk, roots, body and branches of your family tree by cutting brown 12-by-12-inch scrapbook paper into the appropriate shapes. Depending on the size of your tree, you may need up to four pages of scrapbook paper. Arrange the parts of the tree on a piece of 28-by-22-inch poster board. When you’re satisfied with the arrangement, glue the brown paper to the poster board. If she’s old enough, your tot can help apply the glue or smooth the paper.
5Use a paper punch that creates 1-inch circles to cut out photos of the people on the family tree.
6Add the pictures to the family tree base. Arrange the pictures that you just cut onto the family tree’s branches, trunk and roots before you glue them to the paper. Allow the glue to dry before you continue or you’ll end up with smudged pictures.
7Write down names under pictures with a fine-tip permanent marker; include the important dates that you recorded. Then, use a ruler to draw lines similar to the ones you made on the plain family tree.
- If you need to resize photos or don’t want to cut up family photos, scan the pics to a computer, reduce the size of the picture, if needed, and print.If you don’t have a hole punch, you can cut the pictures by hand. Outline a 1-inch circle onto a piece of cardstock or cardboard, cut it out and use it as a template over the photos.Don’t have the best handwriting? Use a pencil to write down names and information so you can erase mistakes or redo a letter that you don’t like. Then go over the pencil with the marker.Your little ones can help you decorate the family tree by adding leaf stickers and other decorations to the poster board.
Things You'll Need
- Family photos
- 4 sheets of 12-by-12-inch brown scrapbook paper
- 28-by-22-inch poster board
- Paper punch that cuts 1-inch circles
- Fine tip permanent marker