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Make Your Own Family Tree!

Make Your Own Family Tree!

Tracing your family history will be as much fun as making the family tree.

By Kathy Oberman

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Exploring the family's structure can be a great learning experience for even the youngest child. Uncovering a family line can be a great summer project for older kids.

The Internet is a useful source for tracing family lines and hunting for clues. Libraries, too, offer help for family sleuths.

When researching the family, youngsters should also take advantage of older family members. They can chat with Grandma, write a letter to Aunt Gertrude, or call Great-Uncle Harry for information.

Make a chart to keep the family members straight. This can be as simple as grandparents, parents, and children, or might include aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Once the names and relationships are established, the kids can make an actual tree to illustrate how the family works.

The Tree
Depending on your preference, stock up on construction paper in all colors or a single hue. Find a small tree branch or limb, a flowerpot, florist foam, glue, string, scissors, pencils, and pens.

To make the tree, insert a piece of floral foam in the flowerpot. Be sure the pot is large enough for the tree. For the best stability, the foam should fill the entire pot. When you are satisfied with its fit, glue the foam to the pot.

If you like, paint the pot with craft paint, adhere stickers to it, or dust it with glitter. Paint the family name on the pot. If you have a family crest, paint that on, too.

Insert the branch or limb in the floral foam so that the tree trunk reaches the bottom of the pot. Spray paint the tree and then dust it with glitter, if you like.

If you prefer au natural, use a branch with a few leaves on it. Soak the floral foam with water to keep the leaves moist for a few days.

The Leaves
Using a pencil, outline leaf shapes on the construction paper. Make them large enough for boldly printed names. Write the name of a family member - first, middle, and last name - on each leaf. Use a pen or marker to do this.

Cut out the leaves with scissors. Attach them to the tree with glue or string. Put the oldest family members near the top of the tree and then branch down. If displaying more than one family line, arrange each family on one side or a single branch of the tree.

When done, display the tree in the living room or on a table. Invite family members to the house to find their leaves and trace the family tree.

Happy hunting.

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