Ideas & Activities

In this section of the website you will find ideas and worksheets which will help you get thinking about how to write your Memory Book.

These ideas work well with a group of people. But you can also use them if you are working on your Memory Book by yourself.

Each of these worksheets has back up information to help workshop leaders to cover the main points. People working alone can look at the information and pick up some useful ideas.

Click on the headings to read more about these ideas and how to use them:

  • The Mango Tree – Important people in your life. This worksheet is a picture of a mango tree with big fruit, with space to write in the names of good friends and reliable people in your community. When parents and children work on this together it gives them a chance to start talking about the future and who children can trust if they are on their own.
  • Who Am I?  This is a simple question sheet for young children to colour in and then answer the questions. Its a good way to get children talking about the family, where they fit in and what is going on. There are separate pictures and questions for adults and children to fill in.
  • The Family Tree.  This is an outline where you can write in the names of close family members. Children find it very interesting to see the names of their relations and how they are connected.
  • Maps.   Most people love looking at maps – specially children. They love to see where they live and how their country fits in with the rest of Africa and the wider world.

    If there are relatives or friends living in different districts or countries, they can be marked on the maps as well. Its another way of understanding the connections and the distances in a world when so many people are on the move.

  • Page headings for the Memory Book.  Every Memory Book will be different. These sheets give ideas to help parents and children think about what is most important about their family. Then they can choose who to write about and what to say about beliefs, traditions, health and many other topics. Much more detailed information can be found in the text of the Memory Book for Africa, available on the website www.memorybookforafrica.org (As well as English, the Memory Book text is available in six local languages.)
  • The Memory Basket.. An idea to use a traditional African basket to store some small things from the family home which mean a lot to the children.
  • Planning for our children. This is a list of some of the hard questions that parents have to face when there is illness or other big problems in the family. It helps to get workshop members sharing their fears about the future. It comes with a checklist to make sure important ideas are covered.
  • The Planning Jigsaw. If there are big problems in the family, parents know they have to make plans for the future care of their children. Even when there is no immediate risk of children having to manage without their parents, it is still important to have stand-by plans. This can feel like an impossible task.. But if the different decisions are broken down into small steps, it feels more manageable. The Planning Jigsaw gives parents a place to write down all the steps they have taken towards making a good plan for future care of their children. Gradually the jigsaw pieces are filled in and the future doesn’t look so frightening.
  • Guidelines for making a legal will.  Even when families have very little property, parents need to write a simple will, stating what they want to happen to any family possessions including land. The will should also include any plans the parents have made about guardianship of young children. This is the best way to protect children from the wrong people interfering or grabbing their property. These guidelines give basic information but to be safe parents need to talk to a lawyer or an officer of the court.
  • Your Turn – My Turn. Making Memory Books can stir up a lot of hard questions for parents – what will happen to the children in the future? How to explain difficult problems in the family? Where to turn for help? Who to trust with family secrets? Here are some ideas about how other parents have supported each other.
  • Ground Rules for workshops. Here are some ideas to help make workshops feel safe for people to join in and talk openly.