It's week 9 of isolated home-school learning and this week, my 8-year-old was set one of my favourite homework activities ever - making a family tree.
Of course we've made them before and if I wanted to be lazy, I could probably find the ones made by his sister, or his brother before that, tucked away in one of the many keepsake boxes in the attic, but that wouldn't be fair and he definitely wouldn't learn as much.
So I hunted around my hard drive until I found the family tree template and dug through my kitchen draw of random bits until I found the pads of coloured fingerprint ink.
Shades of green - perfect for leafy fingerprint trees!
This is the idea: Each family member gets to add a leaf to the tree using their very own fingerprint. Then we carefully write in their name, over the print in tiny, neat letters, so we can tell which print belongs to who.
We then proceeded to fingerprint the family. Not the entire family of course. In fact, this poor tree is looking rather bare. Isolation means no fingerprinting Grandparents, Auntie's, Uncles or cousins, but for homework purposes, it'll be fine for now.
We can always fingerprint everyone else once this whole horrible, awful situation is behind us.
Creating a family tree is a beautiful way to discover and capture your family story and depending on how much work you want to do, or how far back you want to go, it can be utterly fascinating.
For children, it can just be a fun way to track the immediate family that they know. Seeing on paper how everyone is related. How we all fit together.
And it's super quick! Once you get the hang of taking a good looking fingerprint.
Of course, fingerprint trees can be used for all sorts of other occasions:
Creating custom guestbooks or guest records
- A truly personalised record of every guest at your wedding.
- A record of every guest at a very special party. Maybe a first birthday party....... or a 90th!!
- A record of every guest at a baby sprinkle, baby shower or christening.
- A record of every person who gifted you something special on the birth of your baby.
If you're fingerprinting children with ink, it's worth knowing that thumbprints usually turn out better than fingerprints. The whorls, loops and ridges on thumbs are more defined and show up more clearly when using coloured ink.
If you're fingerprinting adults, thumbprints may end up being far too big.
The best idea for both adults and children is to test your fingerprint ink out with each finger or thumb, on a scrap piece of paper before you start on your actual family/guestbook tree template. That way, you won't end up spoiling it.
It's infinitely better to print young children or babies who are likely to wiggle when they have fallen asleep to avoid the inevitable smudging of ink. Another idea is to print babies when they've just been fed and are all milky and content.
It's also important to note that ink printing young children with ink often doesn't result in a perfect print - rather a perfect impression of the tip of their finger.
I've attached a couple of free downloadable fingerprint tree templates at the top of the page. These are the exact ones that I use.
I tend to use the large single tree (A4 portrait) because our immediate family is quite small, but I've also included one with 2 smaller trees, which is perfect for larger families, or if you would like to also include friends.
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