Searching for Family History – Kids Scavenger Hunt

Family artifacts help us to learn more about our family history. These artifacts are ways for us to pass down memories through physical objects. Everyone has family artifacts that are unique to their family and act as an insight to their culture and traditions. Family artifacts can be anything that has a special meaning to your family. Sharing the stories that are associated with these objects help us to connect with our family and our heritage.

This kid’s activity is part of the St. Catharines Museum’s Museum Week, is a global festival celebrating cultural institutions across the online world. In celebration of #ChildrensEyesMW day, we’ve created this scavenger hunt to spark children’s curiosity in their family history.

To help you learn more about your family’s special history, search through your house for the objects below:


  • Pen
  • Paper

Part I: Scavenger Hunt

  • Family heirloom – this can be any object that has a great significance to you and your family.
  • Photograph of a grandparent/great grandparent – try to find the oldest photograph you can! This will give you a deeper understanding of your family roots.
  • Family recipe – pick a recipe that has a special meaning to your family. This will be explored more in the next section.

These objects each have their own story behind them that will help strengthen the connection of your family. One of the best ways to learn and bond with our family is through shared recipes. Food is an important part of family history and culture. Exploring recipes can tell us a lot about our family history. Discover more about your family by looking at one of your family’s recipes!

Part II: Family Recipes

This cookbook was written by the women’s group of the First United Church of St. Catharines in 1931. It was written as an aid to the St. Catharines housewife and was sold to them. STCM 2006.77.1883A

A big part of family history comes from sharing food. Gathering together to share a meal is an important tradition that is as old as time. During these gatherings many stories, memories, and traditions are shared amongst the group, to be passed down through generations. Family recipes can tell us more about our culture, as well as traditions and family quirks. For example, maybe your recipe involves stirring dough by hand instead of a mixer because that’s the way your grandparents learned to make it. Our family recipes are one way to learn more about the history of our family and culture.

Recipes can also tell us a lot about the time period they were created in. We can see many examples of this with the recipes explored in our My Year With Ms. Beeton. These recipes are an interesting source for us to get a deeper understanding of societal norms during the 19th century. Family recipes offer the same insights, which is why exploring them in this activity can be such an exciting adventure!


Let’s explore a recipe from your family history. Ask an older family member to help you find (or write down) an important recipe for your family, then ask them these questions to learn more! This can be a recipe that has been passed down from your ancestors, or even a new recipe that you hope to pass down in the future.


  1. Sit down with or phone an older member of your family and ask them to help you learn more about your family history.
  2. Ask them to share a family recipe with you. This can be anything from a simple dessert to a traditional meal.
  3. Use the attached interview sheet to help guide the conversation and use your pen and paper to take notes of their answers.
  4. When you are done learning about the recipe, ask if they will help you make it! The best way to learn family traditions is by doing them yourself.
  5. Share your family recipes with us!
A young woman cooking on a stovetop oven, 1940. STCM S1940.44.1.1

Interview question ideas:

  1. Where did this recipe come from? How old is it?
  2. Is this dish part of a holiday tradition?
  3. Are there any memorable stories that are related to this recipe?
  4. Do we have any family objects that are connected to the recipe? For example, a platter that the dish is served on.
  5. Have there been any changes to the recipe over the years?
  6. Is there any cultural significance to this recipe?
  7. Is there anyone famous in your family for making this dish?

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