A coat of arms represents the family.

Family Shield Activities for Children

by Victoria Georgoff

A family shield, or coat of arms, is a symbolic representation of your family that dates back to Medieval Times. Some families may be able to find a picture of their original family shield with some clever Internet searching, but if you’re not an amateur historian, fret not, for it may be ever more triumphant to commission a new shield, perchance with the assistance of your youngling. Translation: It’s more fun for you and your child to design a shield together — and maybe learn a thing or two about history.

Foam Family Shield

Help your child cut a shield shape out of a large piece of craft foam. Brainstorm different symbols that represent each family member, family values, and a family slogan such as “Togetherness.” A pink coffee mug may represent Mom’s favorite color and drink, while a blue seashell shows the family loves the ocean. Cut out your own shapes and letters — or buy a variety pack of pre-cut shapes — and glue them on your shield. Add glitter glue, paint, pom-poms, rhinestones, jewels and other embellishments to make it one of a kind. While getting your glitter on, be sure to share tales of your family history, heritage and culture.

Family Banner

Give each family member a piece of paper to create a personalized panel of the family banner. Draw pictures, use personal photographs or magazine pictures to make a collage of hobbies, interests and other things that make each person special. Have everyone explain why they selected the items on the panel; you may even learn something new about your child. Tape them together to form a family banner; emphasize how each family member brings unique qualities, but everyone is a perfect fit in the family.

Family Time Capsule

Family shields are all about preserving and celebrating family history, so celebrate yours by making a time capsule. Include a variety of items that describe your family in the present tense so when you open it in the future you will remember what was happening in your lives when you created it. Family photos, mementos, old toys, newspaper clippings and letters to future selves are good things to include in the capsule. Avoid anything perishable — like a dog treat for Fido — and store in a secure, air-tight container. Be sure to include a copy of your family shield with the meaning of the symbols so you can add to it in the future. Decide how long you want the capsule to be sealed; it may be fun to add to it once a year to help capture those precious childhood moments.

Family Tale

Now that your family has a coat of arms and banner on display, take a trip back in time with a medieval-themed afternoon or a "Knights of the Round Table" dinner. Imagine an adventure that your family members may have gone on and give your kiddos regal titles such as Duchess Emma of Featherwood or Sir Aiden of Wallington. Dress up as princesses or knights and have a feast fit for a king — real or imaginary food will do just fine — or build a castle out of cardboard boxes. Together, write a fun story about your family set in the olden days. Look to books or movies about King Arthur, Robin Hood or The Three Musketeers for inspiration. Let your child’s imagination go wild -- you may even inspire a love of history.

About the Author

Victoria Georgoff has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared in "The Journal of Sexual Medicine" and "The Encyclopedia of Sex & Society." A dually-licensed mental health counselor, with additional EMDR certification, Georgoff specializes in writing about parenting, education, sexual health and psychology, but also writes prolifically on many other topics. Georgoff holds an Master of Arts in counseling from Valparaiso University.

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