“Family Home Evening Helps: Five Family History Activities,” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 72
What better month than February to help your family remember loved ones from long ago? With a little creativity, you can easily adapt the following family history activities for family home evening:
Play “What is this thing?” Display antique items or find pictures of items that your ancestors likely used. Have your children guess what each item is and how it was used.
Map your ancestors’ travels. Using a map of the country where your ancestors lived, locate their places of residence. If they moved often, discuss their modes of travel. Children will enjoy marking locations with stickers or colored markers and drawing pictures depicting their ancestors’ travels.
Prepare to visit a family history center. Discuss which ancestors you would like to know more about. Before the visit, choose one or two ancestors who you know are listed on the IGI or Ancestral File. Then watch as your children excitedly find them during their computer search. You can also create a similar activity at home by accessing the Church’s family history Web site at www.familysearch.org.
Plan an “old-games” night. Choose activities children did long ago. Make paper dolls or slingshots and practice shooting inanimate targets outside in a safe place. For additional ideas, invite grandparents to share their favorite childhood activities.
Make old-fashioned musical instruments. Because resources were often limited, immigrants often devised their own musical instruments. With a little creativity, you can do the same. Strum an old washboard, clank a set of pots and pans, or clack an old pair of spoons between your knee and an open hand. Many household items make great “instruments.”
When we experience a small part of our ancestors’ lives, they become real to us—not just names and dates on a chart. Family history work then becomes personal as we help fulfill the prophecy to turn “the heart[s] of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6).
Sharleen Wiser Peck, Brighton Ward, Rochester New York Stake