5 Tips for Introducing Kids to Genealogy / Family History Research
A guest post by a FiveHive Community Dad, KimH
While Family History research is growing in popularity amongst adults, it’s still in in its infancy (pardon the pun) when it comes to the amount of children actively involved in discovering and sharing information about their families.
Of course it’s understandable that most kids have a limited interest in the subject. As kids grow up they are exposed to more information about their families and start to think more intellectually about society and culture. With that comes a natural curiosity about who they are and where they came from.
But how do you kickstart that process earlier?
Below are 5 successful tips that I’ve collected over the years. What do you think?
1. Tell stories!
Stories are a great way to get kids interested in learning more about their ancestors. Tell the story about that crazy aunt, the daredevil cousin or the pioneering grandmother. Make the stories fun and interesting and remember that a bit of embellishment never hurts if the outcome is increased interest.
2. Get children to create a fact sheet about their family
Getting kids started is often the hardest part so why not set them a task? Give them some sample questions and a pen and some paper (or a laptop/iPad) and set them loose on siblings/parents/cousins and grandparents. Remember, though, that you need to focus on process, not outcome. While the document at the end is nice to have, the real success will be in making the process of collecting the information fun.
3. Make it a puzzle/game
Ever wondered why Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues and other similar TV shows are so popular? Kids are built to learn through play. Explain to them that creating a complete family tree is a puzzle that needs to be solved and watch them get started!
4. “Where did I come from?”
Not ready for the birds and the bees talk yet? Why not try some family history instead. Not only will it pique their interest but it may help you out of a sticky situation for a little while longer…
5. Get them to use an online family history site
The latest generations of kids have been dubbed “Digital Natives”. They have never known a world without the Internet, mobile phones or mp3s. As such, their frame of reference for learning is heavily reliant on these things.
Sites like MyHeritage.com (my family’s tool of choice) let kids use familiar tools to research, aggregate and share information about their families. On top of that there are fun features like “Celebrity Look-a-Like”, which will keep them entertained for hours. Best of all, getting started, on MyHeritage at least, is free and starting your family tree takes seconds, so there are no excuses for not getting the kids started online.