14 Conf Books for Kids in Trees - [PDF Document] (2024)

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Self-Read: To start, here’s a really nice booklist:


PLUS…(There may be some repeats)

o My Great Grandmother’s Gourd, by Cristina Kessler o A Chair for my Mother, by Vera B Williams o Anna & Solomon, by Elaine Snyder o Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman o The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart o Pablo’s Tree, by Pat Mora o Chachaji’s Cup, by Uma Krishnaswami o Seven Brave Women, Betsy Gould Hearne o Lucy’s Family Tree, by Karen Halvorsen Schreck o American Girl (any) o Kids Make History: A new look at America’s story, by Susan Buckley and

Elspeth Leaco*ck o Long Way Home, by Ann Martin o The 1920's: luck, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1930s : directions, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1940s : secrets, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1950's: music, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1960s : rebels, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1970s : arguments, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1980s : Earthsong, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o The 1990s: families, by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler o Where in the World, by Simon French o The Matchbox Diary, by Paul Fleischman o The Storyteller, by Patricia Reilly Giff

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o Parts of Me: Stories of a Louisiana Family, by Kimberly Willis Holt o Any “Little House” book, by Laura Ingalls Wilder or the “Caroline” books

by Maria D Wilkes or the “Charlotte” books by Melissa Wiley, etc. o The Sisters Club, by Megan McDonald o Secret of the Andes, by Ann Nolan Clark o Honeysuckle house, by Andrea Cheng o Across America on an Emigrant Train, by Jim Murphy o Daily Life in a Covered Wagon, by Paul Erickson o ...If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island, by Ellen Levine o The Name Quilt, by Phyllis Root o Mama’s Saris, by Pooka Makjijani o Naming Liberty, by Jane Yolen o Raising Yoder’s Barn, by Jane Yolen o My Uncle Emily, by Jane Yolen o Under the Hawthorn Tree, by Marita Conlon-McKenna o My name is Elizabeth! by Annika Dunklee o My name is Sangoel, by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed o My name was Hussein, by Hristo Kyuchukov o My name is Yoon, Helen Recorvits o I call my grandma Nana, by Ashley Wolff o call my grandpa Papa, by Ashley Wolff o The Long Way Westward, by Joan Sandin o This is the Rope: A story from the Great Migration; by Jacqueline

Woodson o The Great Big Book of Families, by Mary Hoffman o Coming to America: A Muslim family’s story, by Bernard Wolf o Island of Hope, by Martin W. Sandler o If Your Name was Changed at Ellis Island, by Ellen Levine o Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith


Historic Communities series: (Bobbie Kalman) o The Gristmill

o Home Crafts

o The Kitchen

o Visiting a Village

o A Colonial Town: Williamsburg

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o Tools and Gadgets

o A One-Room School

o Children’s Clothing of the 1800s

o The Victorian Home

o Colonial Crafts

o Colonial Life

o 18th Century Clothing

o 19th Century Clothing

o Fort Life

o A Child’s Day

o Customs and Traditions

o In the Barn

o Life on a Plantation

o Spanish Missions

o 19th Century Girls and Women

o Victorian Christmas

o The General Store

o Pioneer Projects

And, by a different author:

o One Room Schools: Stories from the Days of 1 Room, 1 Teacher, 8

Grades, by Susan Apps-Bodilly

Read aloud: o His mother's nose / story and pictures by Peter Maloney and Felicia

Zekauskas. (Any age) o Fancy Nancy: My Family History – Jane O’Connor o Who Do I Look Like? by Mary Schulte o Looking Like Me – Walter Dean Myers o The Color of Us – Karen Katz o What a Family! – Rachel Isadora o Henry & Mudge in the Family Trees – Cynthia Rylant o Climb the Family Tree, Jesse Bear! – Nancy White Carlstrom (Any age) o Grandfather’s Journey – Allen Say (Older kids) o When I Was Young in the Mountains – Cynthia Rylant (Any age) o Grandpa Baxter and the Photographs – Caroline Castle o The Keeping Quilt – Patricia Polacco (Older kids) o Homeplace – Anne Shelby (Older kids) o My Great Grandmother’s Gourd – Christina Kessler (Older kids)

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o Grandma’s Quilt Tells a Story (Older kids) o The Summer My Father was Ten, by Pat Brisson (Older) o Caillou Dances with Grandma, by Sarah Margaret Johanson o Only Opal, by Opal Whiteley; illustrated by Barbara Cooney (Very

serious) o Smarty Sara, by Anna Jane Hays; illustrated by Sylvie Wickstrom o Grandma Hekmatt Remembers: An Arab-American family story, by Ann

Morris o Our Grandparents: A global album, by Maya Ajmera, Sheila Kinkade,

Cynthia Pon o Who’s Who in My Family, by Loreen Leedy


o Climbing Your Family Tree – Ira Wolfman

o Who Do You Think You Are?: Be a Family Tree Detective – Dan Waddel o Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors – Maureen Taylor o Your Family Tree – Nuria Roca

o The Great Ancestor Hunt: The fun of finding out who you are – Lila Perl

o The Kids’ Family Tree Book – Caroline Leavitt o Your Fascinating Family History – Mary J Johnson

o Me and My Family Tree – Joan Sweeney

o Design Your Own Coat of Arms: An Introduction to Heraldry by Rosemary Chorzempa

o Creating Junior Genealogists: Tips and Activities for Family History Fun, by Karen Frisch

o Kids and Kin: The Family History Research Vacation That Involves Kids, by Patricia Suter and Corinne P. Earnest

o Links to the Past Through Genealogy: Curriculum Activities for the Classroom, by Midge Frazel

o Your Travel Guide to Colonial America, by Nancy Day o Youth in Family History, by Starr Hailey Campbell

How-to Websites:

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Census for Kids


Immigration History


General Genealogy How-to for Kids


Lesson Plans http://www.lessonplanet.com/lesson-plans/genealogy

Military History resources

memberinfo.sar.org/patriotsearch/search.aspx (American Revolution)

FamilySearch Resources



Kentucky Contributors! http://kykinfolk.com/kids/ (This is really a good page – very basic and nicely laid out)

Online fill-in-and-print pedigree chart! http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/support-files/pedigree6gensinteractive.pdf

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The Sock Hop or Period Event


Best Friends: Tons of crazy, cool things to do with your

girlfriends, by Lisa Albregts & Elizabeth Cape (Has a Sock Hop


Doo Wop Pop, by Roni Schotter

My Ticket to Tomorrow: Activities for exploring the past,

present and future, by Betty Lies



Music: Doo Wop and Lollipops, by Stormy Weather

50s Doo Wop for Kids, by various artists

OR: Burn a CD from a patron’s collection

Make circle skirts from felt yard goods or crepe paper, etc. -



Style a Ducktail for the boys with styling gel

Roll up T-shirt sleeves, pants cuffs

Make paper plate vinyl records: (Dollar Tree has black paper

plates and, at press time, Walmart had CD labels for around

$13 for 90)

You could re-create a diner (cups of straws, checkered

tablecloths, milk shakes, etc.) a sock-hop, or a drive in (movie

on projector screen, popcorn, blankets on the floor, etc.) For

other décor, perhaps a cut-out (from cardboard) of a period

car, or, if you can borrow them (from say, the local video

palace), silhouettes of movie stars from the era. Play board

games like life, checkers, pick-up sticks; or sidewalk games

such as hopscotch, jacks, marbles, jump-rope, yo-yos. Wear

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hair-dos (wigs, maybe?)

For movies see:


(Etc. for other decades)

Have clothes from various periods to try on and have their

picture taken. Perhaps you could decorate a backdrop:

pictures of a general store, a canon, a pickle barrel, a wagon

wheel, antique furniture, period car, crates, lace tablecloths,

wallpaper on a cardboard base, an old window mounted on

the wall, etc., if using grandparents, or newer items for


Grandma/Grandpa Tea Party:


Tea with Grandpa, by Barney Saltzberg

How to Babysit a Grandma, by Jean Reagan

How to Babysit a Grandpa, by Jean Reagan

The Hello, Goodbye Window, by N Juster and C Raschka

Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie, by Laurie A Jacobs


Make it very formal, with tablecloths and centerpieces,

“waiters,” etc.

You can use apple juice as the “tea” and serve fancy cookies.

Have menus and place cards on the tables.

Nice music, preferably the grandparents’ era perhaps or, if you

have the local talent, maybe a strolling violin.

The children can dress up and wear gloves, if they like.

The children might be given a list of questions to ask the

grandparents as conversation starters.


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As a craft:

Provide medallions of Crayola Model Magic (Clay), still

soft, punched with a hole punch

Stamp pads


You can “paint” the medallions with strong tea, beet juice, etc.

as an old fashioned colorant. Then have grandparents and

children put their thumb on a dark stamp pad, and “print” the

medallion, pressing down a little to make a slight impression

without smearing the ink. Then lace a ribbon through the hole,

making a nice ornament/keepsake.

Party Like it’s 1776


Hats Off for the Fourth of July, by Harriet Ziefert

Happy Birthday, America, by Mary Pope Osborne

Activities: http://www.fleecefun.com/printable-4th-of-july-party-

decorations-1776-collection.html (Pinwheels - decor or craft!)


celebration-decorations-163300977.html (Party Decos)

Movie: Schoolhouse Rock: America Classroom Edition (2007)


(Lots of trivia and puzzle games for kids)


12-1.fltr?Ntt=fourth%20july%20hat (Patriotic visor)

The Kids' Guide to classic games, by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt

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The Tree Planting Activity


Leo’s Tree, by Debora Pearson Our Tree Named Steve, by Alan Zweibel How the Ladies Stopped the Wind, by Bruce McMillan An Elm Tree and Three Sisters, by Norma Sommerdorf Pablo’s Tree, by Pat Mora



Pot a seedling to be planted in the child’s yard:


/10406321/old-newspaper-ideas/ (Seedling boxes with seedling –

almost free!)

OR: organize a group to go to a park to plant a tree (with permission,

of course). Children could label the seedling with their names on

paper tags or permanent ones (see below).

Label tree tags:

Amazon has a pack of 20 permanent copper tree tags for $9.99 which

can be imprinted with a ball point pen. Or try a local garden store for



Make a wall-sized tree trunk and add sample pictures (silhouettes, stick

figures, handprints) of children, parents, grandparents. Add first names of

children, parents, grandparents with birth years. Use a limb for each child.


You could do a “Document Relay” where teams have a stack of papers of

different records and must go to the other end of the room and place each

in the labeled baskets correctly: i.e. marriage record in the marriages

basket, birth certificate in the birth records basket, etc. and return the


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You could pass out a one sheet very basic intro to genealogy or a family

group sheet, either with an attached leaf that kids can place right away, or

have them bring back the sheet filled in to receive a leaf. This can be done

at the reference desk or as a full program with story time and treats (leaf

shaped cookie cutters!). Ellison has a Birch leaf die (item # 13801-LG) that

works well, or DollarTree has leaf shaped die cuts periodically. Or if you

have a hardy volunteer…

Leaf templates http://www.craftjr.com/leaf-template-printables/

Coloring Pages


house.jpg (This might be fun to print out on good paper – say resume paper – as

a keepsake)


Family Tree Templates http://family-tree-template.org/



Activity Booklet for kids: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/8/8c/Kiddie_Page.pdf

Making Magnets:


Word Scramble http://kids.familytreemagazine.com/kids/scramble1.asp

Detective tool kit (craft) http://kids.familytreemagazine.com/kids/checklist.asp

Family Tree Template by Martha Stewart (Craft) http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2010Q4/msl_1110_familytrees_b


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www.familytreetemplates.net (Family Tree templates)

www.wikitree.com/printable/family-tree-diagram.html (Family Tree templates)

http://familyrecord.us/fr/randr/randr.htm (WAY cool!)


bisuteria/ (In Spanish, great visuals)

How to make a family crest: Design Your Own Coat of Arms: An Introduction to Heraldry (Dover Children's

Activity Books), by Rosemary A. Chorzempa




What’s in a name? Talk about who you are named after, how many people in the family (that

you know) has the same first name, what country your name comes from, what your first or last

name means, etc.

Again, you can reproduce on fine paper or transparency as décor

Pinterest has tons of ideas, or if you happen to know your crest or can research it.

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Scouting Merit Badge Challenge


Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.

Do ONE of the following:

a. Do a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short

biography based on that time line.

b. Keep a journal for 6 weeks. You must write in it at least once a


With your parent's help, choose a relative or a family acquaintance you can interview in person, by telephone, or by e-mail or letter. Record the information you collect so you do not forget it.

Do the following:

a. Name three types of genealogical resources and explain how these

resources can help you chart your family tree.

b. Obtain at least one genealogical document that supports an event

that is or can be recorded on your pedigree chart or family group

record. The document could be found at home or at a government

office, religious organization, archive, or library.

c. Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you

found for requirement 4b.

Contact ONE of the following individuals or institutions. Ask what genealogical services, records, or activities this individual or institution provides, and report the results:

a. A genealogical or lineage society

b. A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing

genealogical research)

c. A surname organization, such as your family's organization

d. A genealogical education facility or institution.

e. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse,

genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)

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Begin your family tree by listing yourself and include at least two additional generations. You may complete this requirement by using the chart provided in the Genealogy merit badge pamphlet or the genealogy software program of your choice.

Complete a family group record form, listing yourself and your brothers and sisters as the children. On another family group record form, show one of your parents and his or her brothers and sisters as the children. This requirement may be completed using the chart provided or the genealogy software program of your choice.

Do the following:

a. Explain the effect computers and the Internet are having on the

world of genealogy.

b. Explain how photography (including microfilming) has influenced

genealogy. Discuss what you have learned about your family and

your family members through your genealogical research.

The information above is from the Boy Scouts of America website, and the requirements for the Boy Scouts

are spelled out in some detail. Girl Scouts, however, have some latitude in writing their own badge

requirements. Check with local troops, as the Council may have established a badge of this type. If not, I

assume the Council would need to approve a proposed badge.

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An ancestral odyssey

Walk children through creating a google maps account

(NOTE: you can use your own account to save time, and you can have multiple computers

signed into one account. However, you will want to delete the files between sessions, as it

won’t take long to fill up your google maps storage on this account.)

Sign in

1. Click on the search box upper left corner 2. Click on “My custom maps”

3. Click on the pencil (Make custom maps) 4. Name your map by typing in the pop-up box

5. Click on the box entitled “untitled layer” and add a place name. You can also add a short description here if you like. Not sure what the text limit is.

6. Type an address in the search box. This will produce a green pin on the map. 7. Right click on the green pin.

8. On the resulting pop-up right click “add to map” 9. Right click “add layer” to enter a new place.

10. Repeat 4-9 as desired. 11. To add photographs to your pins click on the pin, click the pencil (edit) and click the

little camera in the corner which will allow you to search Google for an image and link it to your map.

12. To delete maps, open a selected map, find the folder icon (upper left) and click and choose the option “delete this map.”

These maps can be saved electronically or embedded on a family website (if available).

Embed by using the little folder icon in step 12. These can then be accessed on cellphone,



Way easier, but somewhat less visually satisfying

Lacks some of the detail of Google

No account needed

Prints easier, but not in color.

On the top toolbar, click “more.”

Go down the menu and choose “Map Building.”

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A hardcopy alternative …would be to get maps for the children from your local jurisdiction (visitor’s bureau,

courthouse, etc.) which shows street names and possibly some landmarks. Have the children

make flags for use on their bulletin board at home using colored tape and long straight pins

or pictures with 2-sided Velcro dots (perhaps cut in quarters).

Show the children how to use Google Earth to find landmarks in their or their family’s history.

“Laminate” maps by covering with clear contact paper ($5.78 at Amazon for an 18” x 9’ roll).

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Sound Recordings:

Classic Folk from Smithsonian Folkways, Smithsonian

Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith) by Anthology of American Folk Music

Crossroads, Southern Routes: Music of The American South [Enhanced CD]

Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)

All Time Favorites: Old Time Radio Shows (Orginal Radio Broadcasts)

Old Time Radio's Greatest Shows by Jimmy Durante, Mel Blanc, Red Skelton and Milton Berle (Jan 1, 1997) – Unabridged

Golden Age Radio: 101 Old Radio Commercials by Various Artists (1994)

TV Land Presents: Favorite TV Theme Songs by Favorite TV Theme Songs (Oct 2, 1959)

American folk, game & activity songs for children [CD-Music] / Pete Seeger.

Karaoke: Great American Folk Songs [Karaoke]: Various Artists

American Folk Songs For Children: Peggy Seeger, Mike Seeger

America in the 1940s (1960s, etc.) by GAA Corporation. (This is a collector edition)

Some Friends to Feed: The story of Stone Soup, by Pete Seeger, Paul DuBois Jacobs

The radio station WNKU has folk music programming which you could record

ahead. Check for local stations with similar programming.

Sheet Music: Blank worksheets:


Copyright free sheet music

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/ (Very cool original scans!)

http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/hasm/ (More very cool scans!)

http://www2.lib.unc.edu/dc/sheetmusic/ (Ditto)

(These last 3 sites were from the Public Domain Information Project)

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Sheet music with audio



How to Compose (books and websites):

http://www.classicsforkids.com/games/compose/compose.html (a compose a

song game!)

Books on How to Compose a Song

Sing My Song: A Kid's Guide to Songwriting, by Steve Seskin

All Together Singing in the Kitchen, by Steve Seskin

You could invite someone from the community who can play an

instrument – piano, guitar, harmonica – anything that fits the tradition.

I have included a site for sheet music blanks, so that you could

compose your own song. Someone with musical experience would be

handy here, too.

Have children write their own lyrics and put them to a tune they

already know.

You can be as Hi- or Lo- tech as you like for recording; perhaps an

IPhone, or an IPad?

You might post their performance on YouTube or the library’s

Facebook page via someone’s cell phone or IPad.

I have also included websites that have complete copyright free folk

music to teach.

You might want to discuss how music was shared in a pre-radio/TV

era and read books on the subject of folk music, etc.

You could play a version of Rock Band that includes the super oldies

like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. ;-) I would suggest perhaps a

screening of lyrics, as always.

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The idea behind this activity would be to give the kids a feel for the history

of the area. The stories don’t have to be specific to a family, as long as they have

something of the flavor of the place. It would be fun to use a professional

storyteller, but since programmers are natural storytellers this would be a good

alternative. It would usually be desirable to have a focus on local dress, food,

customs, events, but if you have a larger non-native population you could use a

storytelling session which includes other cultures or focuses on one, to the

benefit of all the children. An event of this type would also be enhanced by the

use of displays/demonstrations of artifacts, methods, etc.

Also try the local historical societies as a good source for original material

for local history stories or to provide a storyteller or outreach speaker.

This might be a fun activity in the summer to have outdoors, perhaps on a

farm or in an orchard. Serve cider, fresh produce, etc.


These are wooden disks available at Amazon for $4.08 plus shipping for 130

in a bag. The children paint them and then draw in sharpie to signify something

about their family. You could use foam shapes as well. The idea is that the disks

are drawn out of a jar and the person drawing tells a story associated with the

disk. You can bring an empty jar from home, or the Dollar Tree has a collection of

containers for $1 each. The disks can also be drilled (if wooden) and used as

jewelry on a ribbon, etc. as a keepsake. Ideas for drawings: cat/dog (pet), tree,

house, plane (trip), etc. Wooden cubes are also available and used on the same

principle. If you want to skip the disks, you could collect artifacts such as ticket

stubs, small toys, monopoly house, etc.

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“Truth or Lie” Remember the game where you had to tell two truths and a lie and

everyone had to guess which was which? And if no one guessed correctly, you

had to tell the story. Usually you would pick the most outrageous things you could

think of (that are true) so that it would throw everyone off. The truths, in

particular, will be from your family history.

Mad Libs Make up a fun story, or use a fun children’s book, and plug in children’s

names and other words as you would in the Mad Libs game. The story should

include local details including recognizable landmarks, local figures, etc. but can

be totally and completely funny and non-factual.

Weave a story around an object (Older children) Start with An old farm implement, a household item, etc. Give the children an

explanation of what it does, and build the story with a fictional family using the

implement. Go silly if you want. Get the children to add parts to the story based

on what they know about the object. If you think your children are too shy.

Younger children

Toss ‘n Talk Ball



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Use a large bouncy ball and write questions on it (for kids who read) or pictures

(for kids who can’t read) and sit in a circle and roll the ball to different children

and have them tell you about the picture from their own lives, i.e. house = tell me

about your house/room or dog=tell me about your pet? etc.

The M&M Game


Make a poster/graphic where each color of M&M equals a particular aspect of the

children’s past. The site gives some examples. Have children draw a candy and

answer the question.

And this one is really good!:



(The story starter show on the site is available for about

$10 at Amazon currently.) Kentucky Narratives, Stories, Etc. Kentucky stories, by Byron Crawford. Crawford, Byron. Crawford's journal

New harvest: forgotten stories of Kentucky's Jesse Stuart

Devil's Ditties: Being stories of the Kentucky mountain people, told by Jean


Madison's Heritage Rediscovered: Stories from a historic Kentucky county, by

Fred A. Engle, Jr. and Robert N. Grise

True Bluegrass stories: History from the heart of Kentucky, Tom Stephens

Home and beyond: An anthology of Kentucky short stories, edited by Morris


Welcome the traveler home: Jim Garland's story of the Kentucky

mountains/edited by Julia S. Ardery.

The Town on Beaver Creek: the story of a lost Kentucky community, by Michelle


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Show me a story: 40 craft projects and activities to spark children's storytelling, by

Emily K. Neuburger

http://www.kystory.org/ (Kentucky storytelling website)

Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom

(Multimedia DVD included with the book), by Martha Hamilton


AMAZING array of Appalachian storytelling, music, film resources:


Here’s one from the United Kingdom which includes Appalachian

storytelling! It suggests activities, has how-tos, and links to storytelling



A very thorough handbook for using storytelling as part of a curriculum, this

site has tons of stuff that could be adapted for library use.


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This session will be more about teaching the children how this is

done, and probably will not involve them bringing their ancestor with

them. However, you can have an older someone “sit in” as a demo of how

interviews are done. Also, it might be fun to have older children

interview one another. Children will be provided with a list of questions

to ask (included in class materials). If you wanted to do a two-part

program, you might have the children back and have them relate the

most interesting thing they found out. You might offer a prize of some

sort if the children bring back the completed form.

Useful websites:

http://libraries.uky.edu/libpage.php?lweb_id=391&llib_id=13 (University of

Kentucky library Audio/Video archive)






See pdf: http://www.legacyproject.org/guides/lifeintquestions.pdf


ACTIVITY 1: (Using a smartphone, and IPad, etc.)

Give handouts about questions to ask. (See websites above.)

Practice interview techniques

Using recording capabilities on your device, record a couple of minutes of a

staged interview, with children interviewing each other or a gracious

volunteer. You can upload it to your library’s Facebook page, etc. The

length of the recording will depend on the memory/capability of your

phone, but you should be able to get at least 5 minutes.

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Have children conduct “Man on the Street” interviews with a limited question selection.

Have them set up a newspaper page using publisher and the info they gathered, adding illustrations and headlines.

Material can be funny or serious


Pueblo Storyteller, by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

Keeping Family Stories Alive: Discovering and Recording the Stories and

Reflections of a Lifetime, by Vera Rosenbluth

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http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/classrooms/angie/historian/activities/personal.html (How to make a timeline/Timeline activity)

http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/classrooms/angie/historian/activities/personal.html (Timelines)


recycled-materials/ (This is how to make a timeline accordion book)

Office has a template in Excel (2012)!

Butcher paper or other plain paper on a roll, blue-taped to the wall will work.

Have a preprinted list of events for kids to add in local, state, national, world




(Resource for blank timeline charts – 10 in a package, 22” across, $3.75. You could

string several together. Or you can create your own using butcher paper.)

The chart could stay up awhile, allowing children/parents/grandparents to add

info as they have it.


http://www.workman.com/familytree/pdfs/STORY_OF_ME.pdf (This is a

template for children to fill in about themselves.)


“The Great Bed of Ware”

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This is a story from the book entitled “Climbing Your Family Tree,” by Ira Wolfman (page 6,

under the subheading “A Very Big Bedtime Story: Charlotte finds a family legend.” This book

is also full of fun factoids, ex: if you went back 20 generations, you might have at least

2,000,000 ancestors!

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY YOU WERE BORN? With this one, you might have children give their full birthdate when they register and you can

be ready with a one-page printout of the events of their day.


Personal Timelines This is a more personal version. Kids could use photocopies of pictures, drawings, etc. to liven

this up. As with many genealogy programs, this is going to require at least some rudimentary

details about the child’s life before the event. To supplement, the programmer might have

stock cutouts/clipart of pets, houses, school symbols, etc. In this case, legal length paper would

do nicely, and you could use some of the “facts” from the dmarie site noted above.

The image from the slide is from this website: http://teams.lacoe.edu/documentation/classrooms/angie/historian/activities/personal.html

which also has a nice timeline format.

This site has several activities, but I found one particularly interesting. It is called

“My Own Story,” and it has some worksheets which help the child to organize

facts about their life. I would encourage lots of poking around in this site for lots

of worksheets and printables.


Perhaps you could do snapshots of the children and have them label them with

highlights of this year/schoolyear/week/etc.

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A small prize could be given over the space of a time period: week, month, etc.

Children would take a fill in the blank sheet with questions they would ask their

parents or grandparents. They would receive a prize (coupon for an ice cream

cone coupon, an inexpensive book, etc.) when they return the completed form.

These are a few examples:

This one had pictures: http://www.buzzfeed.com/melismashable/now-and-then-20-prices-that-will-blow-your-mind

Back in the Day: http://quizzes.familyeducation.com/parent-child-relationships/family-roles/when-grandma-


Match Game: You could match technologies to the year they were

invented/came into popular use.

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What’s My Line? Match the occupation with its name Old-time Occupation

Description of the job

1. huckster

A. drove a team of horses that hauled cargo

2. spinster

B. did cooking, sewing and cleaning at home

3. midwife

C. sold small items in a shop or booth on the street

4. milliner

D. made or repaired wooden barrels and tubs

5. keeping house

E. mended tin pots and pans and sold them

6. lavender

F. built and maintained mills or mill machinery

7. wainwright

G. washed other people's laundry

8. teamster

H. made or repaired wagons

9. millwright

I. made or repaired shoes

10. cobbler

J. delivered babies and cared for the mothers

11. cooper

K. spun yarn with a spinning wheel

12. tinker

L. a carpenter or worker who sawed wood

13. sawyer

M. made or sold hats

Here are a few more occupations if you’d like to change it up:




Historic Communities: Settler Sayings, by Bobbie Kalman

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Other variations of this game might include slang terms: you might print out two

different games, one for parents and one for children in which they match slang

terms to their meanings. Along this line:


You could also form a Mad Libs style game plugging in from a list of slang words.




Ideally, puzzles should include record associated words: birth certificate, marriage

license, census, etc.





Have children piece the puzzle, then turn over the completed puzzle to reveal the

picture of a family. On the backs, you could write tips for finding family history.

Larger format puzzles lend better to this activity.


http://www.witsend.org/gen/gentest.htm (this will need to be done after a

discussion of the pertinent facts.

This one could be set up as a match game between name and nationality:

Smiths Around the World: How to Say "Smith" (Metal Worker) in 25 Languages

(What’s the name of his other leg?...)

1. Arabic: Haddad 2. Armenian: Darbinian

13. Hungarian: Kovacs 14. Irish Gaelic: Gough, Goff 15. Italian: Feffaro, Ferraro 16. Norwegian: Smid 17. Persian: Ahangar 18. Polish: Kowal 19. Portuguese: Ferreiro 20. Romanian: Covaciu 21. Russian: Kuznetsov, Koval 22. Spanish: Herrera 23. Swedish: Smed

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3. Bulgarian: Kovac 4. Catalan: Feffer 5. Czech: Kovar 6. Dutch: Smid, Smidt, Smit, Smed 7. Estonian: Raudsepp, Kalevi 8. Finnish: Rautio, Seppanen 9. French: Lefevre, Lefebvre, Ferrier, Ferron, Faure 10. German: Schmidt, Schmitt, Schmid, Schmitz 11. Greek: Skmiton 12. Gypsy: Petulengro


These can done as an actual field trip, with photos previously taken by someone

and hidden around the room, or by pinpointing landmarks on a printed map (if

available). If you do the field trip option, it might be fun to let the children

(in teams) use a disposable digital camera to document areas. The resulting digital

photos could be burned to CDs to provide a keepsake of the event.

Around Town Scavenger Hunt:

Oldest building

Oldest home

Historic markers

Longest original business

Name the longest street

Find a street with a person’s name


Cemetery Scavenger Hunt

Find oldest grave

Find most recent grave

Find person whose initials are…

Find tombstone with a bird


How to do a tombstone rubbing:


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An indoor scavenger hunt might also involve: putting family surnames

around the room in “hidden” spots, maybe even designating areas of the room as

“birth records,” “marriage records,” “military records,” “census records,” etc. As

the children return with names, have them decide where to place them on their

chart. The first one with a completed chart wins. The charts will be a modified

version to accommodate the slips.

For the “Around Town” activity, you could bring pictures and the children

can find the places. You could also take pictures with a digital camera and identify

the places as important to the town when you return to the library. Either way,

you could take a list of places for the children to find, say within a 3 or 4 block

radius, and the team who brings back the most matching pictures from the list are

the winners (prizes all around!). If your community produces a particular treat

(say, a local bakery or grocery, especially one that has been in business awhile) it

would be fun to serve a treat from that business.

For the cemetery scavenger hunt, you could walk the cemetery first and

come up with a list: earliest burial, oldest person, person with the same last name

as the child, gravestone with doves, gravestone written in another language, etc.

The idea behind this activity would be to discuss the types of information you can

derive from a cemetery, including information from the gravestone and from

records. Be sure to know how to find records in advance. Sometimes the only

place records will be found is in a bound volume in the library!

Handout: Treasure hunt worksheet. This worksheet works by using a

preprinted map of your area. This activity has the children place landmarks on the

map by address: schools, churches, their homes, etc.

Example of Kenton County Kentucky map:


Statewide maps: http://revenue.ky.gov/business/maps.htm

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Historical Society Help: If you have a local Historical Society, perhaps they would be willing to

help you by setting up a scavenger hunt or by having someone speak at your


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http://www.superteacherideas.com/social17-immigration.html (Social studies


Books About Immigration

Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, by Callista Gingrich

Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say

Ellis Island: An interactive history adventure, by Michael Burgan

The Blessing Cup, by Patricia Polacco

The Arrival, Shaun Tan (Wordless – discussion)

No English, by Jacqueline Jules

My Name is Yoon, by Ezra Jack Keats

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi

The Long Way to a New Land, by Joan Sandin

Going Home, by Eve Bunting

The Two Brothers, by William Jaspersohn (This one has a cool journal-making

activity in the back.)

Dreaming of America, by Eve Bunting

Laundry Day, by Maurie J Manning

A Place to Grow, by Soyung Pak

Nora’s Chicks, Patricia MacLachlan

All the Way to America, by Dan Yaccarino

One Green Apple, by Eve Bunting

Migrant, by Maxine Trottier

Castle on Hester Street, by Linda Heller

My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not to Me, by Julianne Moore

Watch the Stars Come Out, by Riki Levinson

Journey to Ellis Island, by Carol Bierman

Coming to America: The story of immigration, by Betsy Maestro

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This is a good activity book:

Immigration (Hands on History): Fantastic Easy-to-Make Projects That Help Kids

Learn and Love History!, by Michael Gravois

These are good resources for pictures/illustrations and maybe for

reading snippets at an event:

I Was Dreaming to Come to America, Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History

Project, by Veronica Lawler (This one is good for short snippets to share with

the children.)

Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the tenements of New York 1880-1924, by Deborah


Tenement: Immigrant Life on the Lower East Side, by Raymond Bial

Good Women of a Well-Blessed Land: Women’s lives in Colonial America, by

Brandon Marie Miller

Colonial Women, by Niki Walker

Other Media:

An American Tail (DVD), Universal Studios

Books for Statue of Liberty Activity

Liberty! by Allan Drummond

Naming Liberty, by Jane Yolen

Liberty’s Journey, by Kelly DiPucchio

Liberty Rising, by Pegi Deitz Shea

L is for Liberty, by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

Sweet Land of Liberty, by Callista Gingrich

For the Ellis Island Day, You will want to emphasize the immigration

experience, rather than simply having a multicultural day. For example, you might

have a display of items which can fit in one suitcase and have children think about

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their own things and think about what it would be like to only be allowed one

suitcase. Or you might play a recording or have someone address them in another

language, and have them consider what it would be like to have everyone around

them speaking a language they cannot understand. There is also a game,

sometimes played in conferences, called the “Republic of Fruit.” I have included

instructions in the online. Also, you could include a statue of liberty coloring page,

trivia quiz, etc. Perhaps you could cite figures about immigration at Ellis, or review

the history of the statue and Bedloe Island. For younger kids you could do a

complete activity on Lady Liberty. Oriental Trading has 12 paper plate hat crafts

for $6.25, or, since they are paper plates, you could improvise at the DollarTree.

NOTE: Not all ancestors came through Ellis. While this is one idea, you

might adapt to the realities of the immigration stories of your locality, including

more recent immigrants and African American children whose ancestors may not

have been willing immigrants.

A good visual might be to have a large bowl of red apples and one green

apple and ask the children if they all taste like apples (Story: One Green Apple, by

Eve Bunting. This might be a little long as a read-aloud).

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The Republic of Fruit (older kids)

1. Give children a badge with the name of a fruit on it, apples, pears, etc. as

they come in the room.

2. Read books and stories about immigration, immigrants, etc.

3. After the storytime, group the children by the fruit name on their badges.

4. Have a representative of each group come forward to choose a number out

of a hat.

5. A portion of the room will be designated as the “Republic of Fruit.” In it,

have treats and maybe coloring pages, crafts, etc.

6. Each team is invited into the republic by their number. Explain after the

first two that these teams have access to treats first, and they make the

rules. (You might have a few examples of “rules” for them to use: people

with green shirts are leaders, people who have brown hair must stand, etc.)

7. As you get to the last few numbers, the others must vote on whether to

accept groups.

Discuss with the children what it must be like to be the latter groups and have to

fit your cultural and lifelong habits and customs into the main body (to

assimilate). Discuss what it feels like to be the group that was not allowed in (if

applicable), or what it was like to have to be “voted” in.

To end the evening on a positive note, use and activity to bring the entire group

back together and make sure all children have an equal share of all treats and

prizes. Check this website for some cooperation games:


Find your ancestor at Ellis: www.ellisisland.org/search/passSearch.asp

(This one is Castle Garden – for those whose ancestors were earlier)


Using masking tape or painter’s tape outline the size of a ship, say the

mayflower, on the parking lot (24’ x 80’). Then outline the living space (24’ x

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58’). Gather all the children into the smaller block and note that 102 people

lived in that space. People built make-shift walls to have privacy. The voyage

was 66 days, and some people stayed aboard up to 6 months longer while

they built homes.


Of course, the Ellis immigrants arrived on bigger ships.

But as steerage passengers, their fate wasn’t much improved.

http://www.ohranger.com/ellis-island/immigration-journey http://www.mattivifamily.com/immigration/journey_to_america/journ

ey_to_america.html http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ia/shipVoyage.aspx

You’ll want to explain why your ancestor was so motivated to come!

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Jump Rope Magic, by Afi Scruggs

Two Feet Up, Two Feet Down, by Pamela Love

We Played Marbles, by Tres Seymour

Peanut Butter and Jelly, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

The Farmer in the Dell, by Alexandra Wallner or the same title by

Ilse Plume

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue, by Karen English (longish)


Marbles : 101 ways to play / by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson with

Michael Street

Yo-Yo's : tricks to amaze your friends, by Ingrid Roper

Jump Rope (Games Around the World), by Dana Meachen Rau

Jacks Around the World, by Mary D. Lankford and Karen Dugan

Hopscotch (Games Around the World), by Elizabeth D. Jaffe

Hopscotch Around the World, Mary D Lankford

Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato & HA HA HA, by Jack Maguire

Old Fashioned Children's Games : Over 200 outdoor, car trip, song, card,

and party activities, by Sharon O'Bryan

Old Songs and Singing Games, by Richard Chase

Hand Clap: “Miss Mary Mack and 42 other Hand Clap Games for Kids,” by

Sara Bernstein

Miss Mary Mack : a hand-clapping rhyme, adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman

Treasure hunt, by Allan Ahlberg

This event could be handled as a tournament/Olympics/etc. with small

prizes. After teaching the mechanics of the game, you could divide kids

into teams to compete. A prize could be a pertinent items such as

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journals, jump ropes, hula hoops, etc. or you could use medals (Oriental

Trading, $4.25 per dozen).

In the reading/discussion portion of the event, you could emphasize the

differences/similarities: video games versus physical games; indoor versus

outdoor; games with equipment versus games with found items; etc.

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http://libraries.uky.edu/libpage.php?lweb_id=391&llib_id=13 (UK Archive)

http://www.hcpl.org/genealogy/videofiles.html (Henderson Co KY archive)

http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/photodatabases (Images)



http://genealogy.about.com/od/uk_databases/tp/top_databases.htm (British)

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Making a Time Capsule

Glass jar/screw on lid/glue – Dollar Tree has many possible containers

Items to include list: photocopied pics, letter, trinkets, etc.

Nice website example:




http://info.florida.gov/archives/preservation/time/index.cfm (Authoritative website for items that store well, time capsules that store well)

http://thecreativeplace.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-advent-envelope-mini-book.html (And the site owner would love a credit if you use it.)


Also, check this out as an electronic “Time Capsule,” called Future Me:


The idea is to write a letter to yourself or to your future children (need an email

to send and receive this and the email will need to still). In it, you might make

predictions about what you’ll do for a living, whether you went to college and

where, what kind of car, etc. It would also be good to talk a little about what is

happening now, and about your thoughts, opinions and feelings. The email will be

delivered on whatever date you set, be it tomorrow or 20 years from now

(assuming you have the same email). Perhaps have children read aloud their

letters to themselves.

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journal.html (A really nice website for journaling project ideas.)


1.fltr?Ntt=journals These are “Thankful Journals,” pre-made and in a lot of

12 for $9. The tree on the front is a natural!


Any Marissa Moss “Journal” Books: i.e. “Rachel’s Journal.” This will give kids

an idea about style, etc.

Future Me Website:


Family History Templates:


download/ (These are sheets you can print out with topic headers.

Fill-in Life Story (See Journaling Activity)



(This one is very nicely laid out and is a complete book!)

How to make a journal:


Totally Cool Journals, Notebooks & Diaries, by Janet Pensiero (This one has lots of

good instructions, templates, etc.)

Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist and Turn, by Gwen Diehn

(This one is excellent for its philosophy as much as for its DIY. Note page 54 for

the Family Tree book!)

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NOTE: Microsoft’s Excel and Word programs have an impressive number of

templates relating to family history, personal planning etc., not the least of which

is a complete book template (in Word)! Search “family” in either program.

Pedigree charts, timelines, etc.

Journal Jar Activity http://www.christysclipart.com/journal_RS.html

Questions are cut into strips and put in a jar/vase/decorative container. Each day,

the child will pull out a paper and write a journal entry having to do with this

question. The actual activity will involve constructing the jar and reading books

about journaling. If you have access, perhaps you could also read from a real

journal, especially one from a local family or historic figure. In addition, you might

have different pens available so that kids can experience writing with a quill from

a real feather, a fountain pen, a calligraphy pen, etc.)

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Supporting Crafts

Make a decorated pre-printed, suitable for coloring, worksheet page with a list of

questions to fill in and a place to put a photo.

How to: Bind a Journal with hole punch and ribbon or yarn/Journals to decorate:

Use Publisher to create a family newsletter – Save files and email to kids (older) or

print out in color. This would be a good one to use for the Tech Savvy programs.

For Heirloom storage, trinket boxes, etc.: Watercolor paper is normally acid free and sold in a “notebook” format, including

larger sizes. Walmart has Bienfang 9”x12” containing 15 sheets for $6.15. This

paper can be used to construct storage boxes/envelopes. If you have an Accucut

machine (if not, see if local schools have one they’d let you use) use die EV200J

Envelope #2 to create an acid free storage envelope. (Substitute another box or

envelope die that will serve the purpose.) Or find a template online (Pinterest!). I

used this one that I have included on the printouts. There is also an excellent

book: Handmade Gifts, by Dorling Kindersley. It has a chapter for gift wrap which

includes a number of box templates, and a chapter on making a handmade book.

A few more:




tutorial This site has a GREAT tutorial on making envelopes. Just sub acid-free




(A little heavy on commercial options, but a good list of “rules.”)

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Making Documents into Art: replica birth certificates At home, this could be done with the child’s actual birth certificate. In the interest

of document preservation, however, it may be best to use a blank form.





Have children (or parents, if younger children) add in information, then print out

forms in transparency. Mount over decorative paper and supply (or make) a card

stock or foam frame or mat. Check to make sure your copier will do

transparencies without jamming or melting the copy!


If you have a die-cutter (or a patient volunteer!) cut two butterflies for each

family member. Kids can do their own family unit, or the can do a pedigree chart

with parents, Grandparents, etc. Older kids will want to come prepared with

names. For this craft, you’ll supply a gel pen or metallic pen, the butterflies (or

die-cut of your choice) and a sheet of watercolor paper (available in Hobby Lobby

in a package of 15 sheets for $7.99 – and you can use your 40% off coupon!) or

construction paper.

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For the T-shirts, you would need to have prepared the pedigree chart iron-ons

ahead of time and, depending on your commitment and/or your library’s liability

policy, you could choose to iron them on onsite, or send them home with

instructions, or you could collect the shirts for a part II program and have the kids

fill them in with transfer pens at the second session. The transfer paper is

available at most office supply stores.

The charts can be photocopied onto transfer paper and this will be the biggest

cost. The children will bring their t-shirts from home. Perhaps you could use

kerchiefs or fabric squares, either from home or supplied by the library.

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Perspectives for the presenter



The Book of New Family Traditions, by Meg Cox

Tracing the Ties that Bind, by Tamela Baker. (Source: America's Civil War.

Nov2011, Vol. 24 Issue 5, p58-64. 7p.)





http://www.americanfamilystories.org/ (These are audio stories collected

by Audiographer Joe McHugh


aust.pdf (I couldn’t find the actual original. This is part of a lesson plan

which you can get from lopping off some of the extensions here.

https://www.treelines.com/ This is a fascinating site of shared stories. You

may be able to incorporate them into your programs somehow. I don’t

know if there is a commercial aspect to it, but it does require “joining.”


happiness (There is actual a video segment of this as well, assuming its still

available online.)

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Born Learning website suggests Family History projects for grandparents.

As of compilation of this material, the following site mentioned a $500

scholarship for students (aged 18-25) and registration waived to a

genealogy convention in Southern California:


Why Teach Kids About Genealogy?


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TECH ACTIVITIES: Set up a worksheet or game or competition in which the

participants search for particular individuals. In this case, these

will be names you have previously searched and you will have a

“key” For the correct answers. The object would be to connect the

activity to a specific useful database: Find the name ____ in the

US Census for 1880 in this place; find a picture if of (a person or

place) ____ in Shorpy; etc.

Discuss why certain matches are correct and others are not: date

matches, place matches, marriage/children matches, etc.

Check this out! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-Village/348521851878478

Its a Facebook game to promote Family History.

Basic searches/websites This site has LOTS of examples, tailored for classroom use: http://www.dearmyrtle.com/lessons.htm

Online search games

Scavenger Hunt/Fill in the Form Race http://www.dearmyrtle.com/05/0910.htm (Fairly elaborate – you may want to modify!)

Make a family QRcode (and turn it into “art”)


Make Subway Art with family names (and frame)


Make a family tree PowerPoint for a family reunion


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Building a Family Website

Assuming your older kids know more about the internet (which they probably do), it might be fun to sell them on the idea of having their own family website. This is not only good for posting family tree information, but it can be an excellent way to keep families in touch who live in other places, even all over the globe. In this case, you might want to include, beyond the pedigree information, mechanisms for chats, forums, videos, audios, etc. (ala Facebook).

I have included some build-your-own family site how-to sites:


http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/software/3314550/how-create-family-website/ (Making a family website)

http://gencomputer.org/put_web.html (Making a family website)

www.blogspot.com (see: http://makeasitenow.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-family-website.html) (Making a family website)

http://www.myheritage.com/page/free-family-websites (Ibid)

As well as some more broad-based family websites (not genealogy




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Period Cooking, Crafts, Games & Songs

The Little Women Book: Games, recipes, crafts, and other homemade pleasures by

Lucille Recht Penner

The U.S. History Cookbook: Delicious recipes and exciting events from the past Joan

D'Amico, Karen Eich Drummond

California Gold Rush Cooking by Lisa Golden Schroeder

The Little House Cookbook : frontier foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic

stories by Barbara M. Walker

Crafts that Celebrate Black History by Kathy Ross

Colonial Crafts by Bobbie Kalman

Clothes and Crafts in Victorian Times by Philip Steele

Addy's Craft Book: A look at crafts from the past with projects you can make today

edited by Jodi Evert; written by Rebecca Sample Bernstein

Toys and Games Then and Now by Robin Nelson

Children and Games in the Middle-Ages by Lynne Elliott

The Jump Rope Book by Elizabeth Loredo

Songs and stories of the Civil War by Jerry Silverman

Singing Our Way West: Songs and stories of America's westward expansion by Jerry


A Street Through Time: A 12,000-year walk through history, by Anne Millard (DK Book)

14 Conf Books for Kids in Trees - [PDF Document] (2024)
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