How to Make a Family Tree Project for Primary Students

How to Make a Family Tree Project for Primary Students
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Family Trees

I did this lesson as a part of the tree unit. The families and students really enjoyed it. For the primary student, it teaches about family structure as well as reinforces the development of writing skills, cutting skills and hand-eye coordination skills.

Materials Needed:

  • Styrofoam cups
  • Brown paint
  • Clay and gravel
  • Branches
  • Leaf Pattern (image below) and green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Black marker and black crayon
  • String or yarn

Teach: We have been learning about trees. Today I am going to teach you about a special kind of tree called a family tree. A family tree is the way in which you can trace where you came from and who your ancestors are. Define ancestor (a person related to you by genes) and chart it. A family tree is usually made in the form of a chart, that looks like a tree shape. The younger generation (or line of ancestors) is at the bottom of the chart and the older generations are at the top of the chart. Show an example. Provide an example on paper of your family tree. Next show the students the family tree that you have created using branches and leaf patterns.


  1. Protect the desk area. Provide students with a Styrofoam cup and black marker.
  2. Have students write their name on the bottom of the cup with a black marker.
  3. Provide students with brown paint, when finished set aside to dry.
  4. At the end of the school day, provide students with a plastic bag filled with the parent letter, painted cup, black crayon, several sheets of the leaf pattern, green construction paper, string or yarn and clay. Students and families gather the gravel and branches from their own neighborhoods. Only provide scissors if a family indicates to you that they do not have scissors.

Parent Letter

Dear Families,

We have been studying trees in our classroom. As a celebration of our heritage, we are creating a family tree at home with you. I have provided the materials needed for this project. If you have need of any other materials, please let me know.

To create the tree gather a branch and some gravel from outside. Place the clay in the center of the painted cup. Stick the branch into the clay and cover with gravel. The gravel will help to inhibit the branch from tipping over. Take the leaf patterns and have your child cut them out. Discuss the people in your family to the student. Have the student write the names of each family member on a leaf, including the student, with the black crayon. Starting at the bottom of the branch, tie the leaf with the student’s name on it and work your way up to the top of the “tree” with the older generation toward the top. You can be creative and decorate the leaves or add pictures (hand-drawn or actual photographs) of the students' family members on them.

Project deadline is ___________________________.



Display The Trees

These trees will make a wonderful display for the hallway or classroom for open house. To view more open house ideas and activities, please click here.

Samples to Create Tree

This post is part of the series: Trees and Seasons Unit: Introduction

Teaching seasons and trees covers a lot of science material. The reason we need trees, parts of a tree, seasons and even family trees in the unit as a home and school connection. Included as well is literacy and music connections.

  1. Science for K-Grade 3: Starting Your Trees and Seasons Unit
  2. Summer Lesson Plan: All About a Tree in Summer
  3. Adopting a Tree in this Fall Lesson Plan
  4. Winter Trees: Winter Lesson Plan For Grade School Students
  5. Spring Trees Lesson Plan
  6. A Tree Observation Activity for Science Lessons
  7. Parts of a Tree: An Interactive Bulletin Board
  8. An Easy and Fun Family Tree Project