One of the most difficult aspects of planning a family reunion is creating space and excitement for all ages. You’ve probably already experienced and witnessed disastrous reunions where children are running in and out of hotels or jumping into the pool unsupervised and teenagers or ‘young adults’ bored out of their wits. That is why it is very important to have detailed family reunion checklist, games, activities and ideas planned that include everyone. Here are some ideas and easy ways to add a sparkle and excitement to your family’s important event.
1. Change the location
The simplest way to add excitement to an annual family reunion event is to change the location. Move away from the home to a hotel; better yet-move away from an indoor locale to an outdoor state park or camping site. You can choose to camp in a RV or move into a dormitory style accommodation. A simple change of this type can help add excitement and sparkle to an annual gathering.
2. Keep technology away
When you think of family reunion activities, it is essential to not include stuff that needs smartphones or tablets. If there are kids involved-even better! Now is a great time to keep video games and TV away for a few days. This tech detox will refresh everyone and is an ideal way for family to be together in the real sense. Encourage kids to tell stories around the campfire. Children and parents can have a great time fishing or cooking together.
Related content: Easy ways to overcome Smartphone Addiction.
3. Arrange a golf/mini golf tournament
Instead of having regular family reunion games, you could arrange for a golf or mini golf tournament with proceeds going towards a nonprofit or charity. What a great way to get kids involved in their community.
Related content: Easy ways to fundraise with kids
4. Try the family version of ‘who wants to be a millionaire’
One of the best family reunion games is the ‘family version’ of ‘who wants to be a millionaire’. This is real fun way of asking questions about one’s heritage and learning about one’s ancestors. This game is best played when you have a large family. You can divide the family into males vs. females or old generation vs. new. It is essential to keep the questions light hearted and fun and applicable to all members of the reunion.
5. Opt for a family version of ‘dating game’
This game is sure to bring about lots of laughter. Young people can come up with questions for their parents/adults etc to answer about their spouses. This family reunion game will help everyone learn a great deal about their family members and it is very engaging and fun at the same time. Prizes for the winning couple can include gift to spa or shopping at a local store. You can also have other family reunion games as follows
- Sack races
- Water balloon or egg tossing
- Three legged races
- Relay races
- Scavenger hunt
- Video game tournament
6. Create a family tree
What a lovely way to celebrate a family reunion. Use a Polaroid camera to take pictures of all members present. Add the pictures as the members come and create a wonderful family tree. You can also add photos of missing relatives or deceased ones. At the end of the reunion, you will be left with a wonderful family tree with pictures. You can also plan an oratorical program for older kids and award scholarships to the winner. Reunion planners can also add an element of history by making kids listen to their family’s history.
7. Plan a themed dinner/brunch
Based on your roots or origins, plans an evening entered around them. This is one of the greatest and most successful family reunion activities. For example, Southerners can plan a Cajun night or soul food night. If you have roots in the Caribbean, plan the food, wardrobe, décor, music and dancing centered on that theme. For large reunions, when you have a budget, you could hire a DJ who can dole out music on which each generation can get its groove on.
8. Get the younger kids involved in planning
The best way to have a successful family reunion is to ask younger kids what they want. They feel great to be asked and often their suggestions are practical and helpful. Don’t forget toddlers and newborns. You must plan age-appropriate activities for all the kids during the reunion. If there are newborns and toddlers, arrange for a nursery and get someone to tell stories. For the teenagers, arrange for a party with latest songs. Get one of the high-school kids to supervise swimming and other activities for younger children.
9. Don’t forget to bring toys, board games etc
When you arrange to have a family reunion away from home, use the following family reunion checklist:
- Board games
- Craft supplies
- CDs and DVDs or video games
- Children’s books
- Plenty of snacks
10. Arrange the reunion near a major attraction
Adults and kids will have fun learning about their history or get everyone to visit the national park or museum nearby. Reunion planners can visit the convention centers and visitor bureaus in their reunion city. These places have tons of information about attractions that are fun for adults and kids.
11. Use this family reunion checklist timeline
When you are planning a grand reunion, you may use the following planning checklist to stick to a schedule:
- 6-5 months before the reunion – Contact members and begin looking at venues. Select a theme.
- 4-5 months before – Finalize the date, location and make reservations. Create a budget. Send out invites/make phone calls.
- 2-3 months before the date – Get RSVP s, contact caterers, contact/buy entertainment related stuff, and plan the reunion activities and games.
- 1-2 months – gather family memorabilia, contact professional photographer if planning, create a family reunion website or social media group, inform family members about activities planned if those need planning, order reunion souvenirs, create schedule of activities, contact nearby attractions for group tickets/discounts.
- 2-4 weeks before – Update the reunion group/website, make phone calls to confirm, last minute arrangements and bookings, make arrangements for your home if you are going away (pets etc), do last minute grocery shopping, buy decorations and so on.