Getting ready for a family reunion? It’s a big undertaking to plan and you want everyone who attends to have a great time. To help make it a memorable experience for all, here are 5 must-try activities for your next family reunion.
- Get to Know you Game/Ice Breaker – Yes, this sounds corny and everyone may groan, but as families grow there are lots of folks we don’t know well. Divide into pairs, spend ten minutes getting to know one another, then have each person introduce the other to the whole group. Make sure you hand out printed sheets with info to collect such as names, how related, and where they currently live. It doesn’t take long for the room to burst into conversation. This sets the tone is set for the rest of the reunion. Instead of uneasy silence and people dividing off into familiar groups only, a foundation is in place to get to know extended family.
- Baby photo ID – Invite family members to bring or submit baby photos with identification info for a family guessing game. It’s interesting to see not only how people change as they grow, but also to find family resemblances. I will never forget the day I was going through photos with my grandmother and saw my son’s face in that of a distant relative who was killed in World War II. Genetics are fascinating and they will show true through many generations when we take time to compare images. If digital files are used, save the submitted photos and send them out after the reunion as a reminder of the fun had while together.
- Family trivia – Start collecting family trivia and creating questions surrounding that info. Have family members submit questions to a central coordinator and create a Google Doc to save the information. Allow several family members access to the Doc so that the information is not lost with the death of an individual.
- Family talent show – Depending on the size of the family, open 10-15 slots for a talent show. Give each contestant 5 minutes to do their thing. Have prizes if you wish. Many of us enjoy the TV talent shows and here’s an opportunity to do your own.
- Have a cook-off or bake-off – Invite family members to bring their best chili, soup, cake, or brownie to a contest. Once judging is over, you’ll have more goodies for a potluck! Collect the recipes and any history associated with them to start or add to a family recipe collection. If guests are traveling from out of town, arrange for someone to open up their kitchen for those who want to join in the fun but are staying in hotels.
There are many ideas for activities during a family reunion. The most important thing is to help people make and preserve connections to family and across generations. Don’t allow awkward silence to engulf a reunion and become a hindrance to holding more in the future.
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