Tell your child where her family came from.

How to Teach Preschoolers About Family

by Lisa Walker

Mom, Dad, Nan and Granpop are all names your child may use for family members, but who are all these people? Now, as she becomes more aware of herself and others, you can give her a sense of belonging by teaching her a bit more about this family unit, where it comes from, where she fits in and how her family compares to others.

Family Tree

Gather pictures of as many relatives as you can, but use photographs that you are happy to cut and stick with, to make a family tree with your preschooler. This helps him visualize how all the people in his family are connected.

Cut a tree trunk shape out of brown card stock and glue onto a piece of white or plain card stock. Cut a big cloud shape out of green card stock for the branches and leaves section of your tree and glue onto the top of your trunk.

Instruct your toddler to cut his head and shoulders from a photograph and stick himself at the bottom of his green cloud.

Draw lines from your toddler to lead to his next family members -- siblings to the side and mom and dad above. Write names and then family names , such as Mom, Michelle. Get your preschooler to glue faces from photographs next to the names. Keep spreading out and up, adding names and pictures for all the family members (and even pets) your preschooler knows about; you could also add ages if you know them. Talk a little bit about each person you add and how he is connected to the others.

Small World Play

Play with doll house characters or other small figures or soft toys to create imaginary families. You can use this method to demonstrate the different roles within a family unit and to show how all families are different.

Create different types of families, such as a one-parent family and a family with lots of children. Play games and take on different voices for the figures to act out different scenarios, encouraging your preschooler to do the same. Have a family where the mom does all the housework and another where an older child looks after her younger siblings.

Ask your preschooler to create her own family using toy figures and get her to give each figure a job. Who is she going to send out to work and who is going to shop for groceries?

Items you will need

  • Sheets of white, brown and green paper
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Photographs of family members
  • Doll house figures or similar small toy characters


  • Talk about other families your child knows during the activities as well as her own family.

About the Author

Lisa Walker began her journalism career in local newspapers. She later joined Teletext to work on its website and analogue and digital TV services. Walker spent time as a qualified childminder whilst raising her own two children and now enjoys a career writing and editing for various websites, including parent website

Photo Credits

  • Michael Turek/Photodisc/Getty Images