Books Family Shields Family Tree
Family Traditions Family Bottles My Family is a Community
Links to other Family Unit Resources

Books about families:

Noisy Nora  by Rosemary Wells

A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Collection of Family Poems by Mary Ann Hoberman

All Kinds of Families by Norma Simon

Family Scrapbook by Marilyn Goffstein

Peterís Chair by Ezra Keats

A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban

Julius, Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber

Grandfatherís Journey by Allen Say

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournay

Some Things are Different, Some Things are the Same by Marya Dantzer-Rosenthal

What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

A Chair for my Mother by Vera Williams

Families are Different by Nina Pellegrini

Me and My Family Tree  by Paul Showers

On Mother's Lap by Ann Herbert Scott

Animal Families by Gene Stuart

Families  by Meredith Tax

I Have a New Family Now: Understanding Blended Families by Robin Prince Monroe

Song and Dance Man by Cynthia Rylant



Family Shields




construction paper shields (either pre-cut or provide a tracer for students to use)

markers or crayons

family photo

Examine a variety of family crests and shields on the Internet.  Talk about how people used crests or shields as a symbol to represent their families.  Provide a list of colors and what they represent and a list of animals and what they represent.  Have students create a list of adjectives that describe their family.  Then, create a shield that represents the class as an example.  Afterwards, invite students to create a crest to represent his or her family.  Tell students to think carefully about the colors and animals they choose to represent their families.  Students may use the family photo as part of their shield or draw a picture of their family.   Include a family saying, motto, or verse.  These look wonderful on a bulletin board!


Family Trees




family photos (Students will only use the heads of the family members for this project.  So, photos with larger heads work best!)

green, brown construction paper

tree trunk and tree top tracers

I got this idea from my teammate Cindy Gibson!  Students trace a tree trunk and tree top and glue it onto large paper.  Then, students look through magazines to find a body to represent each family member.  Students glue the body on to the tree poster and paste the heads of family members on the bodies.  The posters turn out really cute and the students enjoy giggling over how silly their family members look!


Family Graphing

Integrate math into this family heritage activity by having students graph how many brothers, sisters, and pets are in the class.


Family Traditions


The Patchwork Quilt  by Valerie Flournoy is a wonderful book that talks about family traditions and the impact they have on family members.  During your study of this book, have students create a page for a class book on family traditions.  I send this assignment home for homework and invite students to bring in mementos or special items that relate to their family traditions to share with the class.   In class, invite students to draw a picture of their family tradition on a square of paper.  Afterwards, create a class quilt bulletin board representing family traditions. 

Since so many families take vacations together, I also have my class create a class book on family vacations.  This is a good book to create as part of a show and tell project.  The student completes the page at home and then brings the page and a souvenir from a favorite family vacation to share with the class.  Click on the buttons to download reproducibles for my traditions book.





Families are Communities


Create a list of chores that students do at home.  Talk about the roles of each family member and how each person helps the family function.  Discuss what would happen if each person did not do his or her job.  Define the word community and talk about how families are communities.  Have students complete the family job book. Afterwards students can share their books with a partner or play chore charades in small groups.  Click on the buttons to download my book and visit the Georgia Learning Connection lesson plan, "Roles and Responsibilities."







Family Bottles






Idea from Dr. Jean


Clear plastic bottle (a small water or soda bottle will work great)

Photos of family members, special vacations, pets, hobbies, etc.

Trinkets or Family Mementos                            

Optional: Glitter, sequins, alphabet letters, ribbon


Fill a clear plastic bottle with cut out photographs of family members, special vacations, pets, hobbies, etc.  Then, add other small trinkets and mementos that represent you and your family.  Decorate the bottle and be sure to label it with your name.  Be creative and have fun!  Display these in the social studies center.  I send this project home with my welcome to my class letter before school begins.  I ask students to bring it to school on the first day of school.



Family Puppets

Download family reproducible family puppets from DLTK.  Use the puppets in a center, to create family plays, family trees, etc.


Family Lesson Plans from Georgia

Georgia Learning Connections provides detailed and sequenced social studies lesson plans.  Many of these lessons are family focused.  Excellent lesson plan resource!


Family Units from Michigan

Michigan's website provides clear and easy to follow lesson plans.  This website has three units on family: Our Families, Schools and Families of the Past, and Families Near and Far.  Great resource!


Enchanted Learning

Download books on families and find ideas for crafts!


Where We Came From

A great lesson to teach students about family heritage!  Good for linking personal experience with map skills.


Family Graph

A lesson plan for graphing.  There is a downloadable cut and paste graph.


Fabulous Family Member Award

Lesson plan for creating and giving a special award to a family member!  Teaches love and appreciation for family members.


Family Poems

A collection of family poems from Can Teach.


Pre-Kindergarten Family Unit

A beautiful page detailing  a pre-k family unit!  Cute hands-on ideas!