Family Tree and Heritage Map
2.5 – 4 years
This activity uses a combination of skills and understanding. The children will use memory, fine motor, as well as an understanding of phonics as they match up the words and learn what the days of the week look like.
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, children 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.
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 children can place their photos back in the envelope and back in the designated bin so other children can try.
- 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?