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The culture project: Getting kids excited about their heritage

At this time of year, kids are in full-blown learning mode, so why not continue that thirst for knowledge at home? Here’s how you can help your children learn more about their history and who they are.

Fun family time projects
girl drawing family tree

Kids live for the present, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But every once in a while it’s nice to remind them of what happened in the world before they were even born. After all, without the journeys of their ancestors, they wouldn’t be here today.

By creating a fun, interactive project for your kids, you can get them excited about who they are and where they come from. And that excitement can be carried with them for the rest of their lives.

Go to the library

stack of books

The library is an incredible resource for your young ones, and the sooner they learn how to make use of it, the better. Head over to your local library with your child, and look for books on your heritage. Even if your local branch doesn’t have what you need, there’s a very good chance they’ll be able to order it in from somewhere else. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Check out the archives

If your family has been in the same place for a few generations, heading to your city’s archives will be a great experience for your child. There they can learn all about where their grandparents or great-grandparents lived and what they did. They may even be able to get copies of photos they’re interested in. While you’re there, be sure to ask an archivist for help, because navigating the system can be a little intimidating at first.

Contact relatives

Elderly family members are undeniably the best resource kids can get. It gives them a chance to learn about how their ancestors really lived and get first-hand accounts of different ways of life. Have them contact their grandparents or great-aunts and great-uncles to ask them questions about what life was like when they were young. This is also the perfect opportunity for them to find out about their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents so they can keep track of the information for their own kids one day.

Creat a visual depiction

Once your kids have collected all the information they require, they can begin organizing it in a way that will make it easier to keep track of everything for the future. To make sense of family lines, a family tree can be created. A timeline is another useful tool for laying out some of the major events that happened in your family’s history. Weddings, big moves, births, deaths, notable changes and anything else your child finds interesting can be included. It can all be put together by typing out the events in blocks on the computer, cutting them out and pasting them to a large piece of bristol board. This is also an opportunity for them to get creative and decorate the display in fun and exciting ways.

Try out traditions

Learning facts about the past is lots of fun, but even better is bringing those facts into the present. Nothing will help solidify what your child has learned quite like attempting those traditions today. Try cooking a meal that’s inspired by a traditional recipe. If a grandparent has one that has been passed down, that’s perfect, but if not, you’ll likely find something just as suitable on the internet. You can also consider putting together a traditional clothing ensemble or signing your little one up for a cultural dance class. The greatest thing about learning about the past is it means it doesn’t have to stay in the past. Your children can celebrate their culture in new and exciting ways anytime they want!

Share with others

Although this project is amazing for helping your kids learn about the past, you also hope they learn how valuable sharing information between people can be. After all, if they hadn’t started researching and asking around, they wouldn’t know all they do now! So encourage your child to share everything they’ve learned. One idea if they’re creative is to have them put on a play for your family. Or they can do something as simple as showing friends who come over the timeline they’ve created and point out a few things they’re most passionate about. You never know — you and your child might inspire others to do similar projects for themselves!

More on heritage and culture

Heritage cooking
Canadian historical sites
Take your child on a school-inspired field trip

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