Heritage Box Lesson 


We are going to make a family heritage box, a keepsake box that contains items that represent your family, your culture and history. First you will watch a video of an artist talking about how she uses art to honor her culture and family. Next, you will connect with your family around food, music, and stories. Then you will create a heritage box and add some of their stories to your box.

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Before you get started
  • Collect the materials listed below
  • Find a table to spread out and work on
Suggested Materials
  • Shoe box or a similar sized cardboard box
  • Glue, glue gun, and, or, tape
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Construction paper 
  • Old magazines
  • Family pictures
  • Crayons, markers, pens, paint

Kayla Briet discusses growing up in a multi- generational home of mixed cultures. She explains how she uses art as a form of self expression honoring all the pieces of herself and her family. Kayla Briet says, “Why do I make art? To build time capsules for my heritage.”


Using a pen and paper, answer the following question. What do you think she means?


First, take a few minutes to talk to members of your family about your heritage and culture. Heritage means something that is, or may be, inherited. Things that can represent heritage are pieces of art, family recipes, photos, handmade items and family traditions—something left behind by family members. During this discussion notice any traditions that your family has. Discuss this question with your family. What type of food, music, art are in your home? 


During your discussion write down any interesting information as well as any food and song suggestions. You will need them later. 


In the video you watched, Kayla Briet uses art as a way to capture the stories of her family and culture. Today, you will be creating a heritage box to record your own stories and the stories of your family.

  •  Here you can find step by step instructions on how to create your very own heritage box. https://tinyurl.com/boxdirections
  • (Optional):  Use the following videos as extra examples of how to decorate your Family Heritage Box. Remember you can use a shoe box or some other type of small box. The key is to use your creativity with household items. 
  • How to decorate a shoebox https://youtu.be/3hh1vvZiyNU
  • Also see How to reuse waste shoe boxes at home https://youtu.be/7pPSG0ENXnk

Use the materials from the list to assemble and decorate your box. This exercise will take some time. Enlist the help of your family to create your unique keepsake. 


Look around your home with your family to find one item such as a photo, letter, that will be the first to go inside the box. Think of this as a family scavenger hunt.


Remember the notes you took during your family conversation earlier? You can place the notes along with any small items collected around the house into your box. 


Take a moment in silence to reflect on the rich history and heritage your family has. Think about something new that you learned today about your family? How has the creation of the heritage box inspired you? How will you continue to use this box? Now choose a place to display your beautiful box. 

Student Notes
  • This project is unique to every family so make sure you add any elements that you believe fully represents who you are. If art is more important to your family than music then add a piece of artwork. The possibilities are endless.  
  • Consider preparing one of the dishes that was mentioned in your family discussion while listening to the music that you talked about. 

Disclaimer: all videos and references are used for educational purposes only. The Edible Schoolyard Project does not endorse any brands, labels, organizations, or businesses included in videos or references. 

Notes for Teachers/Parents
  • This activity supports students in practicing reflection by asking them to examine family artifacts and stories and reflect on what was collected and discussed. 
  • This activity reaches our student outcomes of experiences that support development of relationships to food and the land.

Authored by Liesha Barnett