8– 12s

Games, books, films and TV shows can help your mis­sion

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CHILDREN & FAMILY HISTORY -

This is the age group who are the eas­i­est to en­gage. Shar­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with adults has not yet be­come un­cool, and the chil­dren are not over­whelmed with home­work. There are some very use­ful fam­ily his­tory books that can be used with pri­ma­ryschool chil­dren. They can be a great start­ing point, but you can’t just pop one of these in a Christ­mas stock­ing and think that you have done enough. The child will want an adult to work through the book with them and to pro­vide ad­di­tional ma­te­rial.

At this stage, don’t be afraid to cherry-pick the best bits of your fam­ily his­tory – most chil­dren won’t want long lists of “be­gats and be­gats” or source ci­ta­tions. To­day’s chil­dren ex­pect things to be in­ter­ac­tive, im­me­di­ate, bite-sized, tac­tile and vis­ual, so ac­tiv­i­ties need to take ac­count of this. Most will be in­trigued by fam­ily sto­ries, par­tic­u­larly if they are ex­cit­ing, quirky or gory. The Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries fran­chise plays on this, and can be a way to in­tro­duce a par­tic­u­lar era that can be linked to an­ces­tors’ ex­pe­ri­ences at that time. As well as Terry Deary’s best­selling

orig­i­nal books, there is a monthly mag­a­zine and a very pop­u­lar BBC TV se­ries. Episodes are avail­able on DVD and stream­ing ser­vices, and there is a highly in­ter­ac­tive web­site fea­tur­ing clips, episodes, games and quizzes: bbc.co.uk/cbbc/ shows/hor­ri­ble-his­to­ries.

In­deed his­tory-themed games (both videogames and boardgames), toys, non-fic­tion books, nov­els and films will all en­cour­age an in­ter­est in the past, and en­able you to share in­for­ma­tion about fam­ily mem­bers who lived at the time de­picted. You can also make your own games to re­flect your an­ces­try. Use fam­ily pho­to­graphs to cre­ate jig­saws or ver­sions of pop­u­lar games such as snap, Happy Fam­i­lies, Top Trumps and Guess Who?. The web­site tools­fore­d­u­ca­tors.com has use­ful tem­plates for some of these. Domi­noes can also be adapted so that, in­stead of match­ing iden­ti­cal pic­tures, you match hus­bands and wives, or par­ents and chil­dren. Bingo can be made more com­plex too by, for ex­am­ple, call­ing out years of birth, or spouses’ names, rather than the names of the peo­ple on the cards.

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