While a lot of holidays tend to have a family element, none give you the same chance to really define what it is to carry a lineage like the family reunion. These freeform traditions don’t have to follow a particular theme or happen at a certain time of year.
Both of these advantages meant a lot to planning phase. In particular, filling your chosen time with family reunion activities can be daunting. You’ll want something to accommodate a range of ages but also that is unique to your gaggle of siblings and relatives.
Traditions do a lot for creating and sustaining positive patterns through life. Building your own, unique traditions form a solid bond within your family unit. So you net the best of both worlds.
Ready to get started on some idea? Great! The following list lays out the hows and whys for some terrific tasks to entertain your tribe.
Engaging Family Reunion Activities
The hardest part of planning something for a family is accommodating all of the differing tastes while unifying the group. Let’s face it, if you are at this stage of planning a reunion, you know you’re already up to that task.
Remember these two bronze rules when considering what activities to construct: the goal is to share the time and not everyone is equally competitive.
It’s easier to scale up than down. Adding extra conditions to a game lets you tailor each activity to your family’s competitive streak.
1. Family Talent Show
A solid ice-breaking activity that includes everyone.
You can think about investing in a karaoke machine; all you need is a space to designate as a stage and enough seating for the clan. Depending on the size of the family, you might break this into a few pieces to keep the time down. After an hour most people want to move around.
Limit the time of each presentation and encourage a bit of showmanship. This activity lets the family know about other members and can spark some intergenerational interest in picking up new hobbies.
2. Family Trivia
In the same vein, this gamily gathering idea is all about getting to know information about the family members. Create a master list of questions about significant or fun pieces of information about the family and its history.
This can include things done by the current family and even ancestors. Pass out the questions early in the day and award prizes for most answers towards the end fo the day.
Not only does the family get to know each other, but it also gives a go-to for lulls in conversation throughout the other activities.
3. Backyard Movie Party
After all of the running around and getting to know people, consider letting people relax and internalize a bit. Setting up a backyard movie party is low-cost and easy to do.
You can show a family-friendly favorite or even videos of the family itself. With a little extra ingenuity, the screen can be used with a live camera, creating an extra larges stage for your talent show.
A great time to put up a screen and sit is right after a big meal when everyone needs to digest and recuperate.
Record everything you can from one reunion and show a highlights reel next time to get everyone excited.
4. Cocktail Hour
Fair warning, you might want to set an adult’s and children’s zones for this and keep them separate.
The idea is to use a variety of different ingredients to create your family’s signature drink. Decide on a base or keep it freeform, the amount of rules is up to you.
After a mixing period, give your poor elders (the designated taste-testers) a sample of each drink and let them declare a winner.
5. Ancestral or Regional Potluck
For one of your shared meals, bring in dishes that represent meals eaten by the family over time.
You can choose to reach into the past and create foods from the time period fo the umpteenth grandparents. Be prepared to keep these in smaller batches and as tasting only menus. Some old recipes don’t do well on modern palettes.
The regional variation lets you include foods from the cities and states that the family members live in. This tends to be easier to coordinate and more appetizing.
6. Hot Potato Selfies
It’s a fun game that also helps commemorate the occasion. In this fast and furious game, you set a camera with a timer and then pass it person to person.
Each person holds the camera out at length (or on a stick, if you have such) pointed at themselves. When the time is up it takes a photo.
This game is best played with a steady hand to avoid dropped cameras.
Play a secondary game at the same time to get some intense shots of family members in the moment.
For the less active family members that want to be involved in other shenanigans, this activity puts them action-adjacent. Take the videos and photos being created at the reunion and let them sort out the moments as they go.
This also lets you create a fine keepsake for each family to take with them at the end.
8. Family Olympiad
Why play a single game when you can play a series and award prizes for the participants?
Have family members submit an easy to set up and play park game. Pick the most popular and create a scoring system. This is also a great time to force everyone to wear those matching family t-shirts you’ve always envisioned.
9. Pick a Theme
Why do all of the planning for next year’s reunion yourself?
This family reunion party idea is to create and vote on a theme. Let the family speak and be heard.
Set up some parameters of what a theme can be and then give people time to create a presentation. Each family should be their own team and the children can help design props for their presentation.
Another great after-meal digestion only activity is storytime. Share some of the longer tales of the family and its growth.
This gives your family historians a time to shine and spread the bond that is what the family has overcome to be able to celebrate today.
This activity is best done in the afternoon to avoid pre-sleep children’s antics. Using the family trivia activity in conjunction tends to ensure more attention gets paid.
Take an Interest
Obviously this list of family reunion activities is a bit much for a single excursion. You’ll be better of mixing and matching to find that just-right blend. Consider rotating a few out to keep the events feeling spontaneous.
For more ideas and items of interest, keep coming back here.