When I got up this morning, my mind was on getting up and out the door to my grandson Davy’s baseball game. But I couldn’t help but entertain this nagging feeling that there was something else special about this day.
In the car after the game, wind-swept and with a bit of powdered sugar on my blouse from the funnel cake Davy’s younger brother Joey and I shared, it dawned on me: today is Grandma’s birthday.
Grandma Burkett passed away over 31 years ago, and yet she’s always close with me. I feel her cheering me on in my genealogical searches, and reminding me that there is no contest between sleeping in and attending a grandchild’s baseball game. She was my role model for what a Grandma should be. Even though my grandchildren call me Sha Sha, I hope my grandkids feel my efforts and know that they are loved, as I was loved by her.
As Bill drove us back out to our home in the country, I pulled my phone out of my purse, and decided to create a video birthday card to Grandma.
(Full disclosure: I’m going to share with you my go-to tool of choice. Animoto is a sponsor of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, however, I personally use it because I think it’s fantastic.)
Animoto is my go-to tool of choice. With a tap of the app, I selected a theme and music that I thought would suit it nicely, (that’s the part that takes me the longest because I love their varied selection of tunes!).
Next I tapped to select about 14 photos sitting in my Dropbox account.
Then I added a title card at the beginning and the end, and tapped Preview. In about 30 seconds I had a finished video, complete with transitions perfectly timed to the music. One more tap of Save & Produce Video and my HD quality video was rendered so I could upload it to Facebook to share with my family and the world.
Then I quickly downloaded an HD copy for myself. The ability to download your HD quality video is one of the really unique features of Animoto, and one you should wholeheartedly take advantage of. Unless you have that copy saved to your own computer, (and OF COURSE your computer is backed up, right? If not, click here) you can never be sure that it won’t be lost over time.
There’s always enough to pay tribute to those who inspire us, particularly when creating videos like these is so fast and easy. Who inspires you? I would love to hear! Please leave your comment below.
Thank you Grandma!
P.S. Mother’s Day is coming up. And that brings to mind another woman who inspires me, my daughter and mother-to-be, Vienna. I feel another video coming on! 😉
If you’re like me, you would give anything to share family history with kids and not be met with an eye roll. Here are three clever ways to capture their imagination, put a smile on their face, and most importantly, help them soak in the importance of their family history. You’re going to want to try them today!
Share Family History with Kids through Surprising Greeting Cards
About a year ago, my mother-in-law began sending monthly cards to each of the families. Though addressed to the grandchildren, they were fun for everyone. My youngest, now 9 years old, excitedly tears into the envelope and wants to be the first to see the card. She smiles and giggles at Grandma’s funny stories. We keep the card on the front of the fridge until the next one comes. They have become special keepsakes we will save for future generations.
These glossy greeting cards hold special pictures and stories of her past. One such card had an old picture of her as a child sitting around the table with her extended family.
The front of the card said, “Can you guess who I am? When this picture was taken I was only 6 years old.” The inside of the card then told the names and relationships of those around the table.
Another card she created was a collage of Christmas ornaments. It inspired me to create a card that shared images of my own family Christmas heirlooms and ornaments of the past. What a neat way to preserve that part of our history and share it with the next generation. After all, stories of how our ancestors celebrated special events is often enjoyed by even those that don’t consider themselves ‘genealogists.’
Share Family History with Kids through Shareable Art for Social Media
Getting a card in the mail was fun for the younger ones who rarely get a letter, but our teens were more interested in what was showing up on their social media feeds. Teen family members spend many hours on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are just a few of the many outlets available today. If the kids are already surfing your feed, why not share with them some family history in a creative, colorful post.
Recently, I downloaded an app called Rhonna Collage. Rhonna Collage is available only for Apple devices, but there is a similar app for Android devices called Rhonna Designs.
As I found new pictures of my ancestors, I used the Rhonna Collage app to design shareable art for posting to social media. I added a background, a picture, and text. Then, I shared my creation to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My cousins swooned and the teen nieces and nephews clicked the “thumbs-up” or “heart” emojis to show their like for the post. Sometimes, they even post a comment or question! Even better, my designs can be downloaded by them, shared again, or even printed.
Share Family History with Kids at an Ancestor Birthday Bash
If you are interested in sharing family history in a more dramatic way, ancestor birthday bashes may be right up your alley!
Ancestor birthday bashes started when my sister and I wanted an interactive activity that immersed the kids in their family history. Everyone loves a birthday party, right? So, we created ancestor birthday bashes.
The party takes place on or near the birthday of an ancestor. Our first birthday bash was for my grandpa, Robert Cole. I interviewed my mother, his daughter, about all his favorite things. We used his favorite treats of RC Cola and Baby Ruth candy bars as decoration and treats for the party. Grandpa Cole was also a coal miner and we were able to find bags of coal (made of chocolate!) to give to each of the kids. During the celebration, we shared fun stories and pictures of Grandpa.
A day or so later, my niece Candice told her mother, “I know why Grandpa Cole’s favorite pop was RC.” When asked why, she replied, “Because his initials were R. C.!” We considered that a win! She was paying attention and all had a great time.
Ancestor birthday bashes are a way to teach cultural history as well. If you celebrate an ancestor originally from another country, you could include authentic food, games, and decorations to make the event really memorable.
Even More Ways to Share Family History with Kids
These were just three ways to teach and share your family history with your kids, and even nurture the next generation of budding genealogists. For even more ideas, read the posts below.
How to Create a Coloring Book for Family History
Family Reunion Ideas: Top 10 Ways to Incorporate Family History
If you have a great idea of your own and you’ve snapped some photos of you sharing family history with your kids, feel free to post them on our Facebook page. You inspire us!