Turning the Hearts of Preschoolers

The following activities have worked with our preschoolers and can help create interest in your young children.

1.    Make a book of remembrance for each child. Fill in [the child’s] personal history sheet and preserve his birth and blessing certificates there. Ask his grandparents to write a personal letter to the baby telling important events in their own lives and bearing their testimonies. On each birthday write a short history of the preceding year in the child’s life, recalling his growth and re-cording amusing anecdotes so quickly forgotten otherwise. Include a family group sheet and a pedigree chart that will, when the child is older, spark his interest in genealogical research.

2.    Diagram or paint a family tree and hang it in a conspicuous place in the home. We have ours on the wall next to the kitchen table. Before children can read, they can see the relationships in the family. Point to their names and their parents’ and grandparents’ names to give them a feeling of belonging to a multi-geration family.

3.    In an upstairs hall or in a family room, hang pictures of the family members at different ages, one taken when Mom and Dad were married in the temple and one when they were babies, and some of grandparents and great-grandparents at different ages. Talk to the children about the pictures and the people in them.

4.    Visiting relatives and distant cousins can be fun. The whole family can spend a Saturday getting to know living relatives. It is also fun to visit the places where parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents lived and to see houses that were built by ancestors.

5.    Take the children to cemeteries when you are looking for tomb-stone records. You can develop a closeness to those who have died, reading their names and puzzling over inscriptions too worn to decipher.

6.    Genealogical research often re-quires a great deal of letter writing, and although the children can’t help write the letters, they can share in the excitement of receiving a letter that brings new genealogical information.

7.    Recording the memories of older relatives while they are still living can be a rewarding family project. Children delight in stories and will enjoy the recording sessions and the tapes that can be played again and again.

(Taken from Ginger Hamer, “Turning the Hearts of Preschoolers,”
Ensign, Jan. 1977, 59)