Family Tree and Heritage Map

Kids love to learn more about themselves and each other, and what better way to do that than celebrate their ancestry? In this interactive activity, students will learn about what countries their ancestors are from and what the word “diversity” means.

Celebrate diversity with this family tree and map activity

This activity gets the whole family involved and helps children celebrate diversity and the family unit. After parents help fill in a simple family tree template and the world map, they will send in photographs to match the names of those in their family tree. To keep it simple and on their age level, students will learn their parents’ names and grandparents’ names. Once each child has had a chance to share their family tree with the class (in whole group or small groups), you can make it an interactive learning center to practice matching and name recognition. There’s so much you can do with this lesson to extend it beyond one activity, but the best part is that children will be able to proudly introduce classmates to their heritage and celebrate everyone’s background. Always keep in mind that not all children have a typical two-parent household. Some have blended families, some have single parent homes, some have no living grandparents, some have two mommies, some have two daddies, etc. Don’t shy away from doing this activity if you have non-traditional dynamics, but instead, embrace the differences and unique qualities of each family and how ALL families are special.

Materials

Copy of family tree and map for each child (print two-sided for minimal papers)

Laminated copy of PDF of blank family tree

Large classroom world map

Small sticky notes

Photograph of each child, child’s mom, dad, and both sets grandparents if applicable

Large envelopes clearly labeled with each child’s first and last name

Bin to hold all envelopes and laminated copy of family trees

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Social

Skills

Identification

Indicators:

Identifying family members’ roles (mom, dad, grandparent, etc.). Learning the countries of where ancestors are from.. Waiting turns to share. Matching photograph with family role

Instructions

Step 1:

Have each parent/guardian fill out the provided family tree and world map. They should also send a separate photo of child, mom, dad, and both sets of grandparents (this can be a digital copy if you are able to print on site or a printed copy if they can provide). Let parents know they will not be getting these photos back, so copies are preferred. Give at least a week to collect.

Step 2:

Designate time for a few children each day to share their family tree and show the photos. Have a large laminated world map in the middle of the rug and the children gather around it. When each child shares where their family is from, you can mark the map with a post-it with each child’s name. After all children have shared where their families are from, they will be able to see all the different places in the world that they came from. You can then hang the world map in the classroom somewhere visible for the children to refer to often.

Step 3:

Place each child’s group of photos in an envelope labeled with their first and last name and place them all in a bin located near the literacy/writing center. In that same bin should be a laminated copy of the blank family tree (if you would like two children at this center, have two copies available). Children can find their labeled envelope and then practice placing the photos on their family tree trying to place them under the correct “role” (i.e. placing their mother’s photo where it says “mother”).

Step 4:

When done practicing placing their photos on their family tree, the student can place their photos back in the envelope and back in the designated bin so another student can try.

Playful Questions

What is your mommy’s name? Daddy’s name? Grandparents’ names?

What is the name of the country we live in?

Where did mommy and daddy grow up?

Where did my grandparents grow up?

What is different about where my ancestors grew up?