My Family: A Theme Lesson for the Primary Grades

Whether you are a parent who is homeschooling or a teacher needing a lesson plan for the classroom — family is a good theme. Celebrate this very special relationship by using a variety of activities that focus on “my family”. Take this theme into reading, writing, speaking, music, and art.

My Family Quilt

There is nothing cozier than a quilt. They feel like home. Begin this lesson by reading The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy and discuss the importance of family and what family means to each child. Talk about the making of quilts and how you can incorporate family heirlooms and memories inside this stitched piece of art.

Why not try an art project involving quilts? Cut out squares of pastel-colored paper. Invite the kids to draw and color a quilt block for each member of the family including pets. Draw the person and surround the headshot with things they love. Now, if you have an odd number of family members, just have the child create an extra quilt block (or two) with some of his/her favorite things. When all blocks are done, glue them together onto a sheet of poster board. Next, take a black marker and create stitch marks around each quilt block to replicate the real stitching on a quilt – a work of art that has spanned generations.

Family Fun and Laughs

For this theme activity, read the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. It’s a fun pairing of words and pictures that capture the energy and love that flows from a family reunion. After reading the story together, take time to share memories of family experiences.

For a project, have the kids think of a specific family gathering.  At the top of the page of paper, write the event in a large circle. Next, branch down to the next level and add all the family members who attended. The third row holds circles for things that happened during the event.  The last row of circles includes thoughts of how the children felt during this family gathering.  This “graphic organizer” project helps kids to express how they feel about their family, the events, and even tips for future family gatherings. This organizer design is almost like an outline for when students are asked to write a story.

A Charm Bracelet of Family Treasures

Gather in a group and brainstorm a list of adjectives that best describe your family members. Start by suggesting words like funny, loving, caring, dependable, kind, cheerful, cute, generous, responsible, and so on.  A thesaurus may be helpful to find word synonyms.

Next, cut out charm baubles (geometric shapes) from cardstock. Have the kids write a family member’s name on the front of each shape. Then, write an adjective or two on the back that best describes the person.

Punch holes into each charm and then string them onto a length of yarn to make a bracelet.  You may want to knot in between each charm to keep them from bunching together.

Rock Family Toys

Take a walk together and have the kids collect different sized rocks to create a family. Bring them home and paint them. You can use a sharpie marker for details. Afterwards, let the children play with their families. Encourage the children to create stories about their rock families. Help them expand their stories by asking questions.

Family Songs

Take these piggyback songs about family and incorporate words that apply to your own family. Original authors are unknown.

With My Family (to the tune “The Muffin Man”)

Tell me what you like to do

Like to do, like to do.

Tell me what you like to do

With your family.

Edward likes to rake the leaves

Rake the leaves, rake the leaves.

Edward likes to rake the leaves

With his family.

Continue singing other verses with ideas from the children in your group.

Families (to the tune of “Ten Little Indians”)

Some have fathers,

Some have mothers,

Some have sisters,

Some have brothers.

In some houses,

There are others.

Every family’s special.

Family Song: Sesame Street – YouTube Video

More family articles on Bright Hub Education:

We Are Family! Preschool Crafts for Fun and Learning

How to Make a Family Tree Project for Primary Students 

Sources:

Personal experience as an educator

Copycat Magazine, F is for Family, Nov/Dec 2002

Piggyback songs

Family (Feature Photo)

Rock Concert Photo