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How to make a family tree

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Crafting your history

If you’re looking for a family project, consider making a family tree. Not only does it give your kids a chance to step away from the television and get creative, but it’ll also teach them a lot about their family and their heritage.

50 Days of family fun

Family tree

Before you get started, think about how far back you want to go -- your parents, your grandparents or maybe much farther.

Online geneology resources >>

The farther back you want to go, the bigger the tree you'll need. For a small tree, a plain piece of construction paper or cardstock will do. If you want to go big, use poster board.

Draw the outline of a tree and color it in with markers, crayons, paint or whatever you have on hand. You can even cut the shape of a tree out of brown construction paper, felt or fabric.

Make a family tree with your baby's handprint >>

Next, move on to the leaves. Each leaf should represent a member of your family, so cut out as many as you'll need. To make your family tree really pop, use leaves in several different shades of green. Again, these can be colored, or cut and pasted to the tree. For a homemade look, have your kids trace your hands to serve as leaves.

Encouraging kids to climb your family tree >>

Label each leaf with the name of the person it represents. Start with the oldest family members at the bottom and work your way up. If you have extra pictures, add a photo of each person to her leaf; it'll be a lot of fun to look the pictures and see which family traits carry up the tree. Add any relevant dates to the leaves, such as births and deaths. Add any fun facts you might know about each person.

If you're not the artistic type, print out a family tree template; a simple online search will reveal thousands of free options online.

Think outside the box. Instead of using paper, paint your family tree onto an old sheet or draw it on a T-shirt.

More family tree tips

The biggest family tree ever
Family tree shirt
How to trace your family tree: Where to start & what to expect

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