What to do with this activity?
Encourage your child to make a family tree.
A family tree is a chart that shows your present day family along with your ancestors. If you put your child at the bottom of the page, the two parents above that, then the four grandparents above that and so on, the chart grows wider at the top - like the shape of a tree. Beside each name on the family tree give details of dates you know or can find out - births, deaths and marriages. Photos alongside each name will make it more interesting.
Making a family tree will give your child a real insight into history. Were any of the ancestors involved in big events - the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, or the Civil War in Ireland for instance, or one of the World Wars? Have a look at the National Archives of Ireland, and see if you can find any of your ancestors in the 1901 or 1911 Census of Ireland. Encourage your child to ask their grandparents or other relations questions to find out more. Here's a list of 30 questions that might be useful.
Writing is like a muscle – the more your child practices it the stronger their writing ability will become. You child is also more likely to write about things they like or are interested in – writing is a way to express yourself and using writing in this way can be more meaningful to a child.
Decide on a writing project you could work on either together or with you standing by to help. This could be writing or sending an email to a family member or friend living away or your child writing about one of their interests. List key messages you want to write about, who else might read it and then begin work on the piece. Have a dictionary at the ready and use the spell checker if working on a computer.
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