Day 17 – Family Trees, Flags, and Crests

In my last post I shared family trees created by the youngest members of our family. Today I will share two more. My niece Meghan sent her twins’ tree drawings along with a school project they did this past week. Their project reminded me a fun activity I used years ago. More about that in a bit.

Maddy and Miles are 9 years old and each had a different take on their family tree.

This very detailed drawing by Miles includes big brother Benjamin, but NO parents!!

I love that the outfits are so colorful – no boring solid colors for Miles. (Perhaps fashion design is in his future?)

How sweet that Maddy encased her family safely in a heart!

Maddy added each person’s age to the drawing. She’s not too sure of Benjamin, I guess! Let’s do the math: Mom is 21 and Dad is 22. Apparently they were 12 and 13 respectively when they had the twins. Let’s not think too deeply on this one.

Meghan also sent along pictures of last week’s school project. The kids had to draw a family flag. That’s such a fun idea!

Maddy’s flag with a D smack in the center to represent their last name.

Maddy’s is so sweet, just like her. Wonderful adjectives – kind, nice, “love-ing.” Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all children felt these words described their families?

Make sure you zoom in on Miles’ flag to get all the detail!

Miles drew a happy flag with “smiley faces” and bright colors. He used various objects to describe his family. Using symbolism – high level stuff, Mr. Miles!! I especially love the inclusion of the rock. One thing for sure about this family of five – they are strong. And loving. Like trees, they have grown together and worked to accomplish their goals. (At least, I think that’s what he meant.) Pretty deep thinking from a 9 year-old!

I am always on the lookout for fun family history activities people can do with kids. The flag activity reminded me of one I used to do years ago when I taught a mini-course on genealogy at our local alternative high school. As you can imagine, getting teenagers to invest in anything can be tough. Unless it’s all about them. So, after a short lesson on surnames and heraldry, I asked each student to create their own family crest. They created these on regular 8.5×11 paper. Each student was given a binder with a clear front pocket. The crest was slipped into the pocket, becoming the cover of their Family History book.

Some students needed no guidance at all and others, of course, required cues all along the way. Below are some ideas. If you decide to try this activity, be sure to match the “topics” to the age of the child.

This image came from

After drawing the crest divide the shield into several areas. Look for “family crest” templates on google or pinterest – there’s tons! In each area draw one thing that represents your and/or your family. You can include things such as:

  • place of birth
  • someone who is important to you
  • favorite hobby
  • favorite thing to do as a family
  • one word that describes you (or your family)
  • something you are really good at doing (or love to do)
  • an activity you enjoy
  • favorite food (movie, TV show, song, etc.)
  • an important event in your life

Those are just a few ideas to get you started. I hope you try this with your kids. If you do, please send me pictures. I’d love to see them!!

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