It's difficult to talk with young children about family ancestors who 1.) they have never met and 2.) are deceased. You can try to sit down with them and just look at an old family photo album, but, trust me, that doesn't hold their attention for very long and it's not really all that fun. So, I thought that a much better approach would be to combine a fun Halloween craft with family photos.
I decided to use a ghost theme, because, when my kids have asked what a ghost is, I have told them that it is a spirit of a person who has passed away. When people die, their bodies stop working, but their spirits live on. It might be an overly-simplified explanation, but it's not scary, and actually helpful in this case when I want to use the idea of ghosts to talk about ancestors. (See this post about how I've used Disney's Mulan to talk with my kids about ancestors.)
Here is a list of the supplies I used for this activity:
- Black construction paper, poster board, or cardstock
- White paint and disposable plate
- Ghost-shaped cookie cutter or stamp
- Digital files of old family photos and a computer printer
There is a little bit of adult prep work required for this project. Before I even told my daughter we were going to do a craft, I printed out photo head shots of some of our ancestors. Make sure the images are small enough to fit inside the ghost shape you will be making with the cookie cutter or stamp. Then, I squirted out some white paint onto a disposable plate and spread it around enough that the area was large enough to fit the cookie cutter.
In the end, my daughter was very proud of her final poster and she wanted to hang it in the basement. Can't argue with that!
©2014, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder