12 Fun Family History Activities for Your Family

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Have you considered incorporating fun family history activities into your family plans for 2021? Whether you are quarantining at home alone or interacting with family members in person, there are ways you can connect with family, anywhere in the world, by exploring your family history creatively!

Combining technology and family history can bring us together in meaningful ways even when we are apart. Here are 12 fun family history activities to do virtually or in-person with family. 

In-Person or Real-Time Video Chat

Story Time

People of all ages like to hear stories. You can share the same family stories with family members both young and old. Plan a time when family members can come together on a video call or in-person to hear and share family stories. When deciding what story to share, think of one that would be enjoyable for everyone. If there are others who have stories to share, take turns. Think of props you can use to make the story more visually engaging. Don’t forget to record your story time so your stories can be enjoyed by future generations.

Family Tree Bingo

Plan a family bingo night! Email an invitation to all participants to view your MyHeritage family tree. Have each person create their own bingo card with names of ancestors from the tree. Each person should bring small objects, such as pennies, raisins, or square pieces of paper to use as markers for the game. You, as the host, will need to have a container or bag with each ancestors’ name on a small piece of paper. As you draw a name, call it out and everyone who has the name on their card will mark it. Even if the game is virtual, you can still have prizes. For example, prizes could include a one-on-one phone call with Grandma and/or Grandpa or a surprise in the mail. 

Family Trivia Game

There are lots of trivia game formats to choose from. This activity can take the form of Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, or any trivia game that your family enjoys. You can display the game with a poster board or PowerPoint presentation. Draw upon facts, sources, photos, or stories from your MyHeritage family tree to come up with your questions. If the family members participating are not familiar with your family’s history, keep the questions simple. If they know a lot about your family’s history, then make the questions difficult. You can also have prizes for this game. 

Item Box

Choose an ancestor you’d like to highlight. Collect items that represent stories from that ancestor’s life and put them in a box. Have kids or family members take turns choosing an item from the box, and share the story that is associated with the item. Make sure to record it so the stories shared can be preserved.

Show and Tell

Gather family photos or heirlooms, and organize a family call or video chat session to show and tell what you know about these items. If others want to participate, have everyone bring an heirloom or photo to show and tell about. Once again, don’t forget to record the call.

Interview Family Members

Choose a family member that you want to learn more about and schedule a time to interview and record them. Be sure to come up with a list of questions to ask ahead of time to help you stay organized and make the most of the time you have together. Get some more great tips on how to interview family members in Genealogy Basics Chapter 1: How to Interview Relatives.

Activities to Do Separately and Then Share

Cooking Show

Have each family unit or individual choose a family recipe. They will then record themselves making the recipe step by step while sharing what they know about the recipe and the person or people who originally made it. The video can be composed of one continuous shot or a series of clips put together using a simple movie-making app. Share the completed video with extended family members. They will enjoy learning how to make family recipes and trying them!

Recreate Old Family Photos

Have each family or individual choose an old family photo to recreate. If they don’t already have one, you can send them one. Once the photo has been recreated, each family can send the original photo along with the recreated photo to everyone else. 

Create a Family Playlist

We all have favorite songs, and so did our ancestors! Ask family members to share their favorite song, and ask the oldest family members to share a favorite song of their parents’ or grandparents’. It’s okay if they only remember the artist, or even just a genre. You can choose songs that were popular in the time periods and places of ancestors too! Create a playlist of all of these songs and share it with extended family members. When listening to it with family, you can make it a game and have members guess whose favorite song it is.

Sources to Stories

Compile sources you have saved for multiple ancestors on MyHeritage. Then email each person or family unit all of the sources for one ancestor. They will review the details of the sources and write a short story (as short as a few sentences or as long as a page) about that ancestor. Then, everyone can send each other their stories.

In Person

Learn and Play Games

Discover traditional games from the homelands and time periods of your ancestors. Play them together with your family!

Learn an Ancestor’s Skill

Discover the skills your ancestors had by looking for clues in documents, photos, or stories about them. You can also consider the time period and locations where they lived. Examples of skills that your ancestors may have had could include: soap making, candle making, washing clothes with a washboard, wood carving, playing an instrument or a sport, painting, pottery, survival skills, food preservation, canoeing, bicycle repair, dancing, knitting, sewing, and so on.

Have fun and turn the old memories into new ones together!

Shenley Puterbaugh is the founder of Inspire Family History. Visit InspireFamilyHistory.com and follow “Inspire Family History” on Facebook and Instagram to get more great tips on inspiring your kids to love family history.

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