We had the best time yesterday doing this inter-generational heirloom activity. What objects from the past have you kept because they have special meaning to you? What has been passed down in your family? Do your children know about them? Kids and families can work together on this heirloom hunt to learn about the heirlooms in their family.
My son recently interviewed his grandparents over video chat to fill out his inherited traits chart. We were learning so much and laughing so much. He loved talking with them about his hitchhiker’s thumb that he shares with Daddy, and learning about the Hancock lip crease that shows when Grandma makes a funny face.
I wanted to create something similar that would get my kids talking to their grandparents and learning about the past, this time focusing on the objects that we inherit. So I made this heirloom hunt! I made a list of clues that I knew matched with heirlooms we had. It gave the kids an idea of what and where to search without me just telling them what we have.
I gave them a form to inventory the heirlooms they find. The second page doesn’t have any clues, so you can record additional heirlooms. I’ve included the docx files in the downloads below so you can change and edit the form however best fits your needs. Add your own clues!
I told my three-year-old daughter that we were going to do an heirloom hunt and look for old things around our house that used to belong to some of our grandmas and grandpas. We got a laundry basket and smaller basket to put things in. She carried her basket along with a clipboard with their heirloom form around. I read the clue and she ran off to look in the closet, kitchen, bookshelves, etc.
I guided her to know where to find the heirlooms and then we put them in our basket and made a note on our inventory form. After gathering them all, we called grandma to video chat. My daughter felt very important to be video chatting with grandma, asking her questions, and scribbling down notes (squiggly lines). Grandma showed us her old trunk full of heirlooms and pulled out baby dresses, an old purse, and her old piggy bank. When my son joined the video chat, she showed him her dad’s navy uniform pants and navy engineering toolkit. The kids were fascinated. They mostly wanted to jump through the camera and be at grandma’s house, but we know what to do next time we are there – check out Grandma’s heirloom trunk!
The top of the form describes an heirloom and how to do the activity –
“An heirloom is an item passed down through generations of family members. It could be a toy from your parents’ childhood, a quilt from your grandmother, your grandpa’s army uniform, or a really old photograph of your great-great-grandparents! Use the clues below to search for heirlooms. Talk to your parents and grandparents to see what heirlooms are hiding at your house and their house. You might be surprised by how old some of the items are that you find, and the stories behind them!”
Download this free printable to use with your family:
Heirloom Hunt Docx – you can edit this file to add your own clues, but the fonts may be different
For younger kids, I made a worksheet for them to draw a picture of one of the heirlooms they find.
I hope this activity sparks conversations with kids, parents, and grandparents about the values and love passed through generations. Share this activity on Pinterest: