Family Trees

Children will learn about the parts of
trees and will make family trees.


Lesson Objective

Children will learn about the parts of a tree and will explore how individual family members correspond to individual parts of a tree.


What You'll Need

Note: Children will need to bring in photos from home, or you can have children draw pictures of various people in their families.

  • Picture of a tree
  • Pictures of children’s family members
  • Pictures of your own family members
  • Green construction paper – 2 large sheets per child
  • Brown construction paper – 1 large sheet per child
  • Tree trunk template - include several branches for children to glue leaves on
  • Tree leaf templates
  • Glue
  • Safety scissors

What To Do

Note: Prior to the start of the lesson, cut out one tree trunk and several leaves to use for your demonstration.

  1. Display the picture of the tree and guide children in naming and talking about the parts of the tree.
  2. Discuss how a tree with its strong trunk, branches, and leaves can remind us of a family (see Did You Know?).
  3. Demonstrate your own family tree using the pre-cut trunk, leaves, and the photos of your own family members.
  4. Have each student trace the templates on their brown and green construction paper, then cut out the shapes, or have students design and cut their own tree trunks and leaves.
  5. Have the children glue leaves onto the upper and lower branches of their trees.
  6. Help the children cut out the pictures of their family members so they can be pasted onto the leaves.
  7. Guide children in placing the pictures of the older people on the leaves of the upper branches and younger people on the leaves of the lower branches.
  8. Have the children glue their pictures onto the leaves.
  9. Display children’s family trees so they can be shared with the class.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Where are the leaves found on trees?
  • Describe where the roots of the tree are.
  • Explain what the roots do for the tree.
  • Who do you think are the roots of your family?
  • Tell me where the oldest part of the tree is; where is the youngest?
  • Tell me where the older members of your family are on the tree; where are the youngest?
  • Explain how a family tree is like a real tree.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Have the children plant a small tree in the class and identify the different parts of the tree. Document the tree’s growth over time.
  • Collect and show leaves from various trees. Explain how trees can be different and can have different leaves just like families are different from one another.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe the different parts of a tree, including trunk/stem, branches, and leaves?
  • Could children explain that the older members of the family are the roots of the family?
  • Could children explain why a tree is used as symbol for families?


Did You Know?

A tree is a large plant that has a long stem, or trunk, that support the leaves or needles and the branches. A tree also has roots that dig deep into the ground and provide the tree with nutrients and water that it absorbs upward. Some trees always have green leaves or needles and keep most of their leaves and needles all of the time; they are called evergreen trees. Other trees lose their leaves or needles every year, typically during the winter season. These trees are called deciduous trees.

A family tree is typically a chart representing family relationships on a tree structure. Family trees are often presented with the oldest generations at the top and the newer generations at the bottom. An ancestry chart, which is also a tree, shows an individual’s ancestors. Family trees can vary in who they include. They can include only immediate family members, or they can show many generations of family members.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • branches — the parts of a tree or bush that grow out from the trunk; usually have leaves on them.
  • roots — the parts of a plant that grow under the ground and take in water and food.
  • leaves — the flat growths from the stems or branches of trees and plants; they are usually green.
  • stem — the main part of a plant that comes out of the ground and supports the branches and leaves.
  • family tree — a diagram showing someone’s family and/or ancestors; a genealogical tree.
  • tree — a plant with a main trunk and many branches; often trees grow very tall.

Lesson Tips

  • Talking about families to young children can be a sensitive topic. Make sure to be aware of differences in families.
  • If you have a digital camera, you can take pictures of children’s family members when they come to pick up or drop off their children at school and print them for this activity.


  • Me and My Family Tree by Paul Showers
  • Your Family Tree by Nuria Roca
  • The Family Book by Todd Parr
  • My Family Tree by Margaret Wang

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS