Planning Activities for Family Reunions: Family Party Games

Pack the Family Fun into Your Next Reunion

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When planning a family reunion, there are many tasks to handle. Once the location has been secured, the invitations mailed and the menu chosen, you are well on your way. You do have one more thing to consider--what can you do to see that everyone is entertained? Planning activities for a fun and successful family reunion requires a little forethought; here are a few things to consider:

  1. Size matters. If the gathering is small, just a few activities will do. For a large get-together, try to have something going all of the time. You may want to ask other people to help you come up with ideas that will please everyone.
  2. Include everyone. It is important to offer a variety of activities so that both active and sedentary family members have something fun to do. Great-grandma may not be up to playing softball, but she is the person most likely to win a game of family trivia! Here are some ideas for party games:
    • Active: Tug of war, foot races, croquet, sack race, three-legged race, egg toss, softball, volleyball, musical chairs, tag or duck, duck, goose will keep everyone busy!
    • Sedentary: Chess, checkers, family trivia, BINGO, card games, puzzles or assorted board games such as Scrabble, Yahtzee or Monopoly are good choices.
  3. Mix it up. Try to offer some games for teens and adults, such as horseshoes, some for kids only (maybe a diaper derby or toddler Olympics), and some that get the kids playing with the grown-ups. Good choices for multigenerational activities include water balloons, wheelbarrow races and scavenger hunts.
  4. Get musical. If some of your family members play musical instruments, ask them to bring them along and play for everyone. Getting people singing loosens up the crowd and provides for a lot of family fun!
  5. Rent some fun. Party rental companies offer a wide variety of equipment to make your family reunion memorable. Some suggestions:
    • Dunk tank: Kids, especially, will love trying to hit the target and see their favorite uncle get soaked!
    • Inflatable slides, ball pits and moonwalks: If you have sufficient yard space, these are terrific choices for letting kids burn off excess energy!
    • Chocolate fountain: Increasing in popularity at all types of parties, chocolate fountains are a fun and delicious way to serve dessert. Dip cut-up fresh fruit, marshmallows, small cookies and cubes of heavy cake for a treat that will please young and old alike!
  6. Bring in the clowns. Consider hiring a professional clown, balloon artist, caricature artist or face painter to keep your event hopping.
  7. Food can be fun. Make some menu items part of the entertainment. Set up an ice cream sundae bar and encourage family members to create their own one-of-a-kind dessert. Offer plenty of toppings, such as fresh fruit, chocolate and caramel sauces, M&M's, gummy bears, colored sprinkles, wafer cookies and whipped cream.
  8. Show off a little. Plan a talent show starring family members to highlight special skills. It's just for fun, so everyone wins first place!
  9. Get to know each other. Plan a few games that encourage family members to get to know each other a little better. There should always be games along these lines at a family reunion. For example, here are some ideas:
    • Family history game: Provide each family member with a sheet of questions about family history. The person who knows the most  facts will be the winner.
    • Find somebody: This is a great icebreaker, so plan this game to be played first. Give everyone a pencil and a sheet of paper listing assorted traits or facts. Players are then supposed to find someone at the reunion that matches up with each trait. The first person to complete the whole list wins. Some suggested traits might include red hair, youngest sibling, only child, served in the military, traveled the furthest to attend, plays the piano, has always lived in the same town, etc.
    • Oh baby!: Ask family members to mail you a baby picture of themselves before the reunion. Attach the pictures to a numbered board without adding any names. Ask family members to make a numbered list and try to identify all of the babies!

These activities and ideas should help bring all the guests together for a fun and memorable day. Just remember to include family reunion games for adults and kids so that everyone feels included and has a great time. Good luck!


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