Several years ago I had the idea to incorporate a family tree into my Thanksgiving decorations. I contemplated tying pretty craft paper leaves to a real tree branch and still think that would be a good idea but before I could decide, my children kept bringing home these pine cone turkeys from preschool. I have always loved using their handmade things in my decorations so we came up with this Family Tree Turkey. Ours is made from a pretty piece of brown crafting paper, using a ruler and a dinner plate I made the lines for the family lineage. It is simple, children go on the "feather" in front with parents above them. On the back feather, grandparents go closest to the pine cone, with their parents above them, with their parents above them. Set in the middle of the table, this is a great conversation piece for grandparents and children. I was sadly amazed at how little my children knew about our grandparents and greatgrandparents. Every year, when I unpack this turkey it is a reminder to share those stories and to keep those loved ones alive with our oral history. Take the time to tell the stories you loved to hear as a child and connect your children to their past. And be thankful.
I made these with my sons third grade class of 18 students with no problems. To simplify, I made the template for turkey head and feathers ahead of time and copied them onto 11 x 17 sheets of watercolor paper at Postnet. The class wrote in their names and the names of their siblings on the semicircle at top right, then their parents went on the center spots of the spokes, grandparents next, then great grandparents. Then we watercolored the pieces, cut them out and hot glued them to the pine cone. It works best if you cut a small semicircle out of the feathers where they slide onto the pinecone. This activity took about 1 1/2 hours in the classroom with me hot glueing the feathers in place for them.