Now, even with these child-friendly qualities, am I going to show my kids a full fan chart of all their ancestors? No way - that would be much too overwhelming and, frankly, boring to a 6 year old and a 3 year old. Before they are old enough to take in all of those names, dates, and families, I needed a way in which to introduce the concept of fan charts, while at the same time teaching them about family relationships and visually illustrating just what a generation is.
In case you missed it, I introduced the concept of generations to my kids using the Play-Doh Pedigree Chart. In that activity, we used different colors to represent different generations. So, I decided to create a rainbow out of craft foam sheets, in which each color, again, represents a separate generation. The rainbow shape resembles a fan chart, and kids are naturally drawn to anything with bright colors.
I used craft foam sheets, but you could just as easily use colored cardstock or construction paper.
To make this activity a little more hands-on, I made a puzzle out of the rainbow. I purchased self-adhesive Velcro dots and placed them on the fronts and back of the different rainbow pieces. My three year old loves to put the rainbow together and take it apart, and while she is doing it, I can read her the words and try to convey who each section represents in our family. (It's also useful for teaching and learning colors!)
©2014, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder.