If this is your first time planning activities for a family reunion, then try a combination of the activities below to get a better sense of what kinds of activities are most popular.
Once you go through a few family reunions, you will have a much better idea of what works for your family.
We have categorized the activities below into Games, Family History, and Contests.
Games have been further categorized into indoor and outdoor activities for reunions that are being hosted at a hotel.
If you’re holding the reunion at a hotel, make sure to get a free hospitality suite when you are blocking hotel rooms for out of town family reunion members (Here are some tips on blocking hotel rooms for your family reunion).
Family Reunion Games
Indoor Games For Kids
1. Board Games – Chess, Checkers, Charades, Monopoly etc.
2. Scavenger Hunt Designed For A Reunion – Hand out a little booklet with a bunch of questions that are related to your family. For example, “What instrument was great grandfather Williams famous for playing”, “What is aunt Bethel’s birthday?”, or “Find the name of someone in our family who was born in March”. Have the kids research by asking the answers to the questions from the adults they think may have them. Whoever finishes first with all the right answers wins. The result of this competition is that the kids will learn a lot of facts about their family and they will get to interact with parts of the family that they are not familiar with.
3. Musical Chairs
5. Hide And Seek
6. Play Wheel of Fortune- Very easy to set up with a big white board (If your family reunion is at a hotel, then they will gladly provide this for free or a small fee)
Outdoor Games For Kids And Adults
1. Wheelbarrow race
2. Relay race
3. Tug of War
4. Bubblegum blowing contest
5. Water Balloon Toss
6. Family Olympics – This is not easy to organize but well worth the time that you and at least five to ten people set up and organize. Have something like 10 olympic events that kids and adults can compete in makes for a full day of activities and can be done with minimal cost.
7. Hula Hoop Contest
8. Sidewalk Chalk – Works really well with the kids and keeps them busy for hours.
11. Family horseshoe tournament – Easy to set up and cheap.
12. Hiking, biking, fishing, or horseback riding
Family Reunion Activities
Outdoor Activities That Cost Money
1. Theme Parks
2. Museums (Nominal cost so this is generally good for reunions that are budgeted
3. Sporting events – Baseball, basketball games etc.
4. Sightseeing tours
5. Food tours -Generally offered in big cities like New York City, your guide will take you to numerous restaurant’s around town where you try foods from various ethnic backgrounds. Makes for a fun day trip and leaves everyone stuffed!
Family History, Storytelling Time
1. Blast From The Past – If your family reunion is in the same city as the the one that everyone grew up in, then why not take a trip to see the old house that everyone grew up in or the elementary school that all the brothers and sisters attended? How about a trip to the local ice cream parlor or pizza place that you grew up with? Any trip down memory lane will be tremendously popular. It will give the adults a nostalgic trip and the kids a glimpse into their parents past.
2. Kids Storytelling time- Have the kids tell stories about their parents (Again, embarrassing or funny ones are preferred here) so the grandparents can have some fun too.
3. Family puppet show- Have the kids organize a puppet show with some family history mixed in. Have the adults do the puppeteering and the kids can do the voice-overs.
4. Grandparents storytelling time – Have the grandparents tell stories about their kids (Embarrassing ones or funny ones are preferred) after one of the dinners/banquets at the hotel. The Parents will be shaking their heads, but their kids will have a joyous evening knowing that the famous “Military” uncle Sam was caught sneaking out of the house when he was twelve. If you do not have time to set this up at a gathering, then videotape the answers and play them back at a later time or post them on YouTube for later viewing.
Questions to ask grandparents :
a)How were things different when you were in school
b)How did you and grandma meet?
c)What were the names of your parents? What did they do?
d)Can you tell us a funny story about our family?
e)Can you describe all your children growing up? Which ones were best in school, sports? Who got
into the most trouble? Why?
Arts & Crafts
1. Create T-Shirts with plain white shirts and fabric markers or paints. Cheap and effective way to keep the kids busy and everyone gets a commemorative reunion memento. You can also use an iron on transfer technique to make shirts with photos of the reunion attendees.
2. Family reunion quilt
3. Family memorabilia- Make a family reunion mural by posting a large piece of Oak tag on the wall and have everyone write something on it. It could be as simple as a 2-3 sentence description on their time, a short poem, a joke, or anything else they desire. What it cant be is just a signature (That’s just boring). Bring this mural to the next reunion and post it on the wall for everyone to see. Watch everyone smile when they see what they wrote on the mural.
4. Family reunion video
5. Family reunion photo collection- Send out a special email to all attendees to bring in their old pictures of family members (grand parents, great grandparent’s etc.). The older the better. Encourage people to bring pictures of themselves when they were younger, of sites or houses that are dear to the family etc. At the reunion, scan the pictures that folks are bringing and arrange them almost like a family tree. Once they are arranged, set up a slide show or a PowerPoint presentation that you can unveil after dinner. Sell copies of the slideshow/presentation on a CD to recover some of the cost of the CD and scanner.
6. Family Map
7. Family Tree/History research- Try to do this as one of your first activities when everyone is at the reunion. Once the family tree is made (preferably on a big white oak tag board), you can post it in the hospitality suite of the hotel so everyone can use it as a reference.
8. Family talent Show/skits- Have attendees prepare for a skit or prepare a talent show (Singing, Juggling etc.) and judge the kids and adults. Makes for a great evening and some crazy laughter. A twist on this is to have a re-enactment of a portion of your own family history. This twist requires more organization so if you have someone in your family who has a creative bent, have them organize this.
9. Mix & match- Get together baby pictures and adult pictures of the same people and have a competition among the kids as to which baby picture matches the adult picture. This one will keep the kids busy for a good hour and they will will have tons of fun.
10. Baby Picture Game
11. Family trivia- In your original family reunion survey, ask the question “What would be your most embarrassing moment”. Compile those answers without the names and read them out loud on one of the evenings during the reunion. Let people guess what embarrassing moment belongs to whom. Makes for quite a riot.
12. Family Reunion Cookbook- Have everyone in the family submit their “best” five recipes for inclusion into the family reunion cookbook. Create a booklet in Microsoft Word or create a PDF version so you can email it to everone else after the reunion.
1. Pie Eating Contest
2. Tall tale contest – Grab a hat with all the adult family members names in it and pick 5-10 members at random. Have these folks tell a tall tale about any topic which is them judged by the family reunion audience. Judge by votes or by how loud the clapping is.
3. Play H-O-R-S-E under a basketball hoop
4. Rent a Karaoke machine and have at it. Just make sure the selections are pre-screened so they are appropriate for your family reunion. Vote for the best one at the end.
The above listed family reunion activities are not meant to be comprehensive, but they should help in getting you started in the right direction.
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