Want to connect a little bit better to your ancestors and involve the family too? Here’s a fun idea: take a day (probably in the weekend so the whole family can participate) and spend it like your ancestor of your choice would have spent the day.
Select an ancestor and learn about the times in which he or she lived. Research customs and find out about the work he or she performed. Incorporate what you learn into your “Ancestor Day.” It might be a nice touch to select a day of importance related to your ancestor as well (birthday or marriage day anniversary) as the day you select.
Timing – Wake up when you ancestor would and go to bed when they would. If your ancestor was a farmer, get up early. If your ancestor lived in a time without electricity, he or she probably retired early.
Activities – Find out what your ancestor would have done during the day and incorporate what they would have done into yours. If your ancestors were farmers, go tour a local farm or work out in your own garden. If they were miners, go see a mine or go hiking looking for rocks, etc.
Technology – If your ancestors you’re focusing on lived without electricity, turn it off for yourself for the day. No computers, PDA’s, phones, television, radio, ipods, lighting, and alarm clocks. If they had no heating, you guessed it, get out the blankets.
Transportation – Try going a day without your cars if you’re focusing on ancestors that had no cars. If public transportation was around back then, use only that. If not, try walking. Your ancestors did, everywhere they went if they didn’t have cars, horses, or other forms of transportation.
Food and Water – If hot water wasn’t around, you guessed it, go without hot water. If running water wasn’t around, take buckets and fill them the night before. Research and prepare meals from your ancestors’ time and location.
Assign tasks for each family member so they feel a part of what’s going on and have some control over the events of the day (much more likely to get participation from the young ones this way).
At the end of the day (by candlelight if the case may be) review a little about the lives of your ancestors and the struggles they had.