Activity Plan 5-6: What Is A Family?
A “theatrical” family investigation!
By Risa Young and Robin Smith
- Grades: PreK–K
Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Art
- shoe Box
- paper cut to size of shoe box opening and divided into the number of sections you’d like children to illustrate
- appreciation of diversity of others
- roles family members play
- organizing information
- oral language
In Advance: Introduce children to different types of families. Read lots of books about the diverse nature of families today. Bring in a shoebox. Cut a long, large slit at the end of the shoe box.
Have a group discussion about families. Ask children: What is a family? What does your family do together? What family pets do you have? Who cares for them? How do you help your family? What are your jobs at home ? Allow children to share information about their individual families and make connections so they see that all families have basic needs. Emphasize that a family is made up of people who love and take care of you.
Explain to children that they will create a movie strip about their family. Give them a large strip of paper divided into sections. On each section they can draw family members, family outings or activities, family celebrations, or a family story. These story strips will be put into the shoe box theater to be shared with the entire group.
Pass out sectioned paper strips, markers, crayons , and watercolors. Let children choose which materials they want to use for their illustrations. When they have completed their illustrations, allow children to write a simple sentence or label to their work. (Some children may need to dictate to you what they would like to write.)
Assemble the movie theater. Roll the family movie strips up and place them inside the shoe box. One, by one, pull them through the slot on the box.
Display the “theater” in the classroom. Invite each child to share their family movie.
Curriculum Connection- Oral language
This game will give the children the opportunity to learn about their
Friends, families, and one another. It will build a sense of community and expose each child to the diversity of family. Brainstorm with children a list of topics about families (number of people in family, family pets, favorite meals of family, things the family does together, family celebrations, languages spoke at home, type of work parents do, chores children do etc.) Divide children into small groups. Provide each group with four or five topics to share. Each child can share an answer about his or her family.
Take Home Activity:
Send home a note explaining to parents that your class is learning about family life. Ask the parents to discuss with their child where their family came from. What country were their grandparents from (if not from U.S.)? Where were they born? Where were mom and dad born? Suggest that the parents bring out a world map and show their child the countries of their ancestors.
Remember: Some children may be shy when talking about their families and traditions. Allow them to be observers in the process. Be sure to point out that all families are unique and special. The diversity of families is what makes them so much fun to learn about.