Children explore what makes their families special.
- Grades: PreK–K
- Celebrating Families by Rosmarie Hausher or another book about families
- family photographs
- precut cardboard or poster board frames
- masking tape
- markers or crayons
- collage materials (buttons, sequins, tissue paper feathers, shells, or beads)
- oaktag, lined paper and drawing paper
- colored glue (glue mixed with tempera paint or food coloring)
Objective: Children will engage in activities that encourage fine-motor development, social-emotional development, language skills, and creative development as they learn and share information about their classmates' families.
In Advance: Send a note home to families explaining that children will be learning about their classmates' families. Ask each family to send in a family photograph to use in an art activity in which children will decorate frames for their family portraits. Families who may not have a group photograph can work with their child at home to paste together several photographs of family members to create one family portrait. Pets can also be included.
1. Read a book about families, such as Celebrating Families, with children during story time. Engage children in a discussion about the families depicted in the story. Older children can compare the families in the book to their own families. Ask children why they think it is important to celebrate their own family. What are some of the things that are special about their families?
2. Provide children with precut picture frames that will fit each of their family photographs. Set up the art area with a variety of art materials. Invite small groups of children to create decorative picture frames for their family photographs. Use colored glue for children who enjoy the process of dripping glue to create interesting patterns and textures.
3. Use glue to mount the children's family photographs onto a sheet of oaktag that extends about one-half inch beyond the edges of the photograph. Use masking tape to affix the edges of the mounted photograph onto the back of the frame.
4. Work with children individually to discuss their families. Record children's comments onto paper to create a banner that can be attached to the bottom of their family portrait.
Social Development and Cooking: Family Potluck Gathering. Provide families with an opportunity to get to know one another at a potluck breakfast or dinner. Create a list of items for parents to bring and include them on a sign-up sheet prior to the event. Children can make invitations, sponge-paint tablecloths, decorate napkin rings, and create a special dish for the event. Children may enjoy teaching parents a favorite finger play or greeting song.
Con Mi Hermano (With My Brother) by Eileen Roe
Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini
Loving by Ann Morris
This activity originally appeared in the August, 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today.