Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History

Monday, June 17, 2013

Treat Review

Joan Elder sent me a follow up to her tea parties idea.  I'm so excited to share it with you.  She sent some pictures of the activities she's done and this addition:

Joan writes, "We did story telling for Memorial Day with about 20 of us. The key seems to be keeping the children focused so the adults will be focused. So I did 5 min stories. I found an item that would 'remind me' about that story. I told the children that whoever was sitting quietly, and listening well, would get to pick the next item in my bag. I had done this two years ago with three of these chidren, and the other ones followed their lead. The big eyes looking back at me told me that they were captivated (aged 3-9). The parents sat further away on the sofas, while the children all made a half circle around me on the floor. I was animated and dramatic. It was so fun!  I told the adults that it was going to be about 30 minutes of story telling, but after the adults started joining in, and adding to the story, it went well over an hour. I quit before the enthusiasm wained. We had an audio recorder going to help me get the 'rest of the story' from the adults, so I can add that to the written story.

Afterwards, I talked to one of the dad's, and told him I planned on writing these all up along with pictures. He got really excited, and gave me his email. But I am going to have them printed, and put in page protectors, and in a nice three ring binder, with a picture of the kids and I on the front. I'll name it something like: Aunt Joan's Family Stories (or Bedtime Stories, but some of them were quite frightening). Then give one to each family to re-read with their children.

We all live some distance from each other. So I choose people living and dead, so they could get to know something about all of us.

I have attached 2 pictures from the first story time I did with the kids. I don't know if it can help you, but you are welcome to use any of them you want. I love the captivated faces.

The other fun part about this is, I am getting my histories done, one story at a time as I prepare for these story telling events." 

Then Joan sent some more ideas on how she works with the kids to make sure they retain what they've learned.  I love her ideas here because she knows that everything works better with food :) and that when you pull the kids in, it often works on other members of the family too.  Great job Joan.  I hope these ideas work for your family too. 

Joan says, "Well after I have done these fun tea parties, and Mother's Day stories (and I have ones already planned for Father's Day),
I don't want those sweet kids to forget!  On Mother's Day, we only spent 15-20 minutes. That's not alot of time to tell of someone's life, or several.
So I have decided to keep on hand the treats from one of those people. Just so happens to be that it is orange sherbet and french bread (toasted).
So I bag up and hide the sherbet from my husband and teenage son (myself too), and buy the french bread on sale, cut it in slices, and freeze in the portions of one little family coming over. So I am 'prepared'!

So when the grandkids drop in unexpectedly, I ask mom and dad if it is okay for some orange sherbet, and then go dish up a scoop in cute bowls. When I bring the tray out, I have some very excited children. 'To get served', they must answer my questions about the grandma that used to serve this treat to their Uncle Ken and I when we were kids. Questions like:

What is her name?  What is her last name?
What did she say when she got excited? (Oh My Stars!)

Now those are about all the things they learned on Mother's Day, so depending on how well they did, I add a little more to it:

And what did her dad do for a living? (mail carrier with a wagon and horses)
And what happened sometimes in the winter? ('The wolves chasing his mail wagon ' story)
And what was his name?  (Chris Lillethun)

Then I distribute the sherbet, and while we are eating it together, I share a little more about that ancestor and thier family (these are generally things they don't know)

And who in our family was named after him? (Your Uncle Chris)
And do you know why Chris Lillethun was such a wonderful dad? (He had 8 girls, and when his wife died, the youngest was only 2 years old, and he took really good care of them. He stayed home every night, would rassle and play on the floor with them...)

What is very cool, is this is when the parents get involved, and start making comments, and ask some questions.  I am hearing things like "I never knew that" "and "I didn't know that."  What had started out for the parents as a nice thing for grandma to do to teach their children some family history, is turning out that they are learning too.

I am writing the stories down and putting them in a notebook for each family, and calling it "Grandma Joan's Bedtime Stories." I've attached a picture of my outside cover for the notebook (me with all my grandkids). I always have several color pictures with each story. One or more are of the people in the story, and some from the internet as I go under 'Google Images'. (note from Janet: make sure you look for images that are licensed for public use.  The notebook has been a hit too. It is helping me get my life story written, and the activites I am doing with the kids bring the stories to life.

And when I go visit the grandkids in another state for a week, what am I going to do? Bring all my tea party items, and stories of course!

Have fun with your familes!"

Thanks Joan!

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