I love making family portraits with my students; seeing all the families in our classroom is a wonderful reminder of our community that isn’t with us, but are a part of us none the less. Having and showing pride in their family is part of having pride in themselves and young children’s developing sense of self. Activities like this family portrait craft can help accomplish this. Of course, our first step whenever planning an activity for our classrooms is to see how it fits with OUR students. Consider your students’ current family situations as personal work like this can be upsetting if there have been recent changes at home.
Make A Family Portrait Craft Video
Family Portrait Craft Instructions
Gather your materials. You will need some thick paper such as cardboard, paint, a paintbrush, a pipe cleaner, crayons or markers, glue, plain paper, and scissors.
Start by cutting your cardboard into a rectangle.
Use that as a stencil to cut out our paper. Then trim the paper so it is smaller than the cardboard, the cardboard will frame the paper. Set aside.
Paint your cardboard. Let dry.
While your painted cardboard is drying, draw your family portrait. In a class we talk extensively about families, how they are all different, how you get to choose who to put in your family portrait etc… reading books like the ones in the book list below before and after doing this craft is key.
Glue on. Punch a few holes in the top and add the chenille stem.
If you are in a classroom setting don’t send these home right away, use them to help create a wider community, display family pride, and act as fantastic conversation starters too.
- Get the family counting printables seen in the video for free here —> download here.
Books About Families
Love Makes A Family by Sophie Beer is a sweet and simple board book that is perfect for any toddler and preschool class. The book has a simple sentence on every page about what love is like chasing away monsters, baking a cake, reading together with all different family structures represented including same-sex and interracial couples. The important part of this book is that every family is shown as a loving norm. There is no long explanation, or any for that matter, or pointing out that this family might be different from yours, just a bunch of families doing their thing. Great for any classroom!
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary is fantastic! This book starts with a child nervous to talk about their family because it’s not like everyone else. Soon as all the students share things that make their families unique, the child sees all families are different, but they are all families. I love that what the children share about their families isn’t the label most adults would put on the family in the illustration, which is a great gut check for our own biases. It labels the same sex family as “Both my moms are terrible singers.” instead of “I have two moms. They are lesbians.” This is a much more inclusive way to present families, not to mention more natural. It includes many different family structures from same-sex parents, to single parents, big families, families with a new baby, interracial families, families with divorced parents, families with foster children, and more.
The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family. It doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher, I appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. It makes mention of some families having two moms or two dads in the same vein as all the other similarities and differences. Kids see that families are not all like theirs. And it’s essential to validate the truth while recognizing that families may not all look alike but that all families are made with love. Great book, cute illustrations, and children love it. I used this book in every preschool class I have ever taught from ages 2-5, and all kids loved it.
We Are Family by Ryan Wheatcroft is an excellent book about a whole bunch of different families. The text is merely talking about all the things that make up a family, all the things that families do, how they help each other, stick together when things are tough, and play together too! It talks about how different families can be and how one family may be very different from another. The magic of this book is really in the illustrations which show a diverse group of families page after page doing completely mundane family things. There is a family with two dads and one with tow moms as well as a handful of other types of families. I love this book because family is a topic that all children can relate to and learning that families are diverse is a great way to learn that the world is.