Draft a Family Constitution

What You Need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Several black tea bags
  • Pen

What You Do:

  1. Discuss the U.S. Constitution with your child. Explain that the Constitution is the highest law in the United States and that we all live by its rules. Inform her that the rules can be changed or amended in the Bill of Rights, a set of laws that protects the rights of the people. Extend this discussion further by talking about how each principle is important to our freedom.
  2. Next, have her list the rules or “laws” each member of the family is expected to follow. Have a conversation with her about why these rules are important. Do your family's rules fall under the U.S. Constitution?
  3. Have her list the rules on lined or scratch paper. Explain that these rules may be changed or amended (like the U.S. Constitution) as your child grows older. For example, her bedtime may be an hour later a few years from now.
  4. Next, have her take a piece of acrylic paper and tear off about a 1/2-inch margin from each side. The tearing will give the paper an old, tattered look.
  5. Ask your child to write the rules of the house in cursive or print neatly onto drawing paper. Drawing paper works well because it absorbs the tea bag without tearing. Make sure the ink is dry before moving on to the next step.
  6. Next, invite her to add tea bags to hot water and let them soak for a few minutes.
  7. When the water has cooled just enough to touch, remove the tea bags and squeeze out excess water.
  8. Encourage her to gently press the tea bags onto her Family Constitution. She can continue to apply pressure with the tea bag until the entire paper is covered. When she's done, the paper should appear to have an aged look to it.

Let the paper dry and ask her to hang it from a visible place in your home; you may even choose to frame it. Your family can refer to its very own Constitution at any time.

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