Authored by Douglas Mefford in Toys and Games
Published on 12-24-2009
The primary purpose of family reunions is to strengthen the ties of blood among family members. In such a widespread and mobile society as ours, it is even more important than ever. It is so easy to let time and distance cause you to lose track of who is married, how many children they have and even who might have died since last you were with a large group of family. In these cases especially, it is helpful to devise games and activities for a family reunion that can help everyone learn more about their relatives and share common bonds.
Summertime is usually the best season to hold a family reunion. Finding a location that has a playground or kiddie park can help keep up with the youngest ones and give them something to do while the older folk mingle. The games and activities you devise for the family reunion should be geared towards having as many people as possible commingle with other family members they are not as familiar with. You want to avoid small groups isolating themselves.
There are some games that are traditional with family reunions. Sack races, scavenger hunts, and softball games do keep the family members occupied but does not offer great chances to learn about each other. While not as competitive, “getting to know you” games are great icebreakers and information sharing activities. Following are a few ideas for getting to know the family.
You can give each family member an index card with another member’s name on it and send them around to find out all they can about that person from everyone else within a set amount of time. Afterwards, you can read off what you have learned. Another game you can play with index cards is to allow each person to write down five of their likes and dislikes. You can then read off the information on the card an let everyone guess who it is describing. Points can be assigned for each correct guess and a prize made available to the winner.
Another good game to get everyone talking is to do a variation on the line-up. Start by having everyone line up by height. This is easy but just the start. The conversations begin when you ask them to next line up according to birth date. You can have them separate into different lines to compare how many children they have, shoe sizes, or any number of informative things. The mingling and talking to get in the right sections will provide new information about the family that all can share.
A variation on this can be, once more, done with index cards. It is a different type of scavenger hunt. Rather than looking for items, the things you look for are people. List such things as professions, birth year or month, number of children or grandchildren and the like. As people mingle and talk to each other they find out about their relatives. The first person or team to fill out all the items with the names of relatives that fit the description is the winner or the game. Knowing more about your family makes everyone a winner.