Summertime is a great opportunity to round up the entire extended family and enjoy a family reunion. It’s been way too long since we’ve held a reunion in our family, so lately I have been looking for inspiration in planning one of our own. Since just mentioning the words “family reunion” can cause people to cringe at the thought…I want to make sure there are plenty of fun and memory-making activities planned.
Here are some I found that I think would be real crowd-pleasers with our clan! Starting with a new “twist” on an old favorite! :-)
Pretty self-explanatory. Paint a “twister board” onto your lawn and get started! I cut a 10 inch circle out of a pizza box and used it for my template, then made the circles using contractors marking spray paint (that washes off.)
I suppose you could use regular spray paint too, but you’d have to wait for it to grow out before it disappeared. :-)
A string helped me to keep the lines straight, but I think you could also just “eyeball” the placement of the dots and you’d do just fine.
My first indication that this might be a hit at our family reunion was my teenage boys and their friends even thinking it was fun! :-)
Here are some more fun ideas……
Create your own family relay race. Organize into teams that include “real” runners, non-runners and little kids. Everyone on the team runs the distance that works for them while the rest of their team follows along in the team car. Some people might run a few miles, while others a few yards. But everyone cheers each other on whole-heartedly!
Have each family contribute several “family facts” ahead of time and make up booklets with at least one question for each member in attendance. The questions can be anything from, “How old was great-grandpa when he arrived in the United States?” to “Which family member has gotten the most speeding tickets?” This trivia quiz is sure to spark conversations about the past and the present. You may even learn a thing or two about your family that you didn’t know!
Something as simple as hanging a frame on a tree branch can inspire family pictures that will last a lifetime!
Running races, swimming relays, a water balloon toss, 3-legged races, darts, pie-eating contests…the possibilities are endless! It doesn’t take long to bring out the spirit of competition at large family events…usually followed by lots of laughs! Be sure to be prepared with “Olympic Game Medals” to award to the victors made out of candy bars attached to pieces of ribbon.
Grandchildren decorate and then hold numbers corresponding to their birth order in the extended family. Much easier (and cuter!) than numbered screen-printed tshirts.
Keep it low key so no one feels pressured to do something outside their comfort zone. Invite everyone to put their name or their group’s name on a sign-up sheet but no one has to participate. Numbers should be 2 minutes or less so everyone can participate that wants to without making it too long. Encourage creativity! It’s a great chance for cousins to work together and a fun way to showcase talents and interests. Lots of laughter guaranteed!
Cousin Sleep Over
Save room and headaches by allowing all the cousins of similar ages to sleep in the same room. This helps build relationships and gives the parents a break for the evening.
Mount childhood photos of family members onto cardstock and hang them on a bulletin board. Try to figure out who’s who and have fun looking for a resemblance between generations.
Family Favorite Foods
Ask guests to bring an addition to a meal — perhaps a family favorite like Grandma’s famous pumpkin cookies. Make assignments. You could print out all the recipes and make a small cookbook to share.
Bring Your Own Party Favors
Request that each family bring something small that represents their home state as special party favor for each of the other families in attendance. Maple syrup from Vermont? Barbecue sauce from Texas? You get the idea. Then put together a grab bag of goodies for each family to take home.
Set up a video on a tripod, and have everyone record a funny story or a favorite memory.
Tug of War
A classic. All you need is solid rope, and some tape to mark the center of the rope and mark 8 feet on each side of the center. Dividing the family into teams is part of the fun. The battle of the sexes is a popular approach, with boys versus girls or uncles against aunts. It could be one branch of the family challenging another, or the adults going up against the young. The game can be more fun if the rope extends across a small stream, a puddle or a water sprinkler. :-)
The basic idea…hide colored popsicle sticks with a face paint crayon. Players find the sticks and mark their faces with that color. First one to find all the colors wins.
Simply write the names of everyone at the reunion on small slips of paper and drop them in a hat. Then have each player draw a name and tape it to someone else’s forehead — without allowing him to see it. Players mix and mingle, asking other participants yes-or-no questions (“Do I have kids?” “Am I taller than you?”) until everyone figures out whose name is taped to his or her forehead.
As a final activity, have an awards ceremony and give out candy/certificates for things like “best sunburn” or “loudest snorer.” It will get everyone laughing and help cement the good times in everyone’s memory before it’s time to go home.
Last, but not least….in the event there are some family members that simply can’t make it in person, be sure and have a Skype session sometime during the reunion. You could even do one of the above activities via the internet. One of the greatest things about technology…it makes the world a whole lot smaller.
What are some of YOUR favorite family reunion activities?