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Older Adult Icebreaker Games for a Family Reunion

by Sera Rivers

Whether small or large, family reunions bring together relatives who may not have seen each other in a long time or possibly never met. Icebreaker games allow adult family members to get acquainted and catch up without feeling too much pressure or anxiety. Most group games help break the ice, but personalized, interactive games help family members learn about each other while they play along.

Scavenger Hunt Family Edition

Remembering characteristics about relatives can help people recall family stories.

As people arrive to the family reunion, the party planner should direct them to a table with index cards, a pen and drop box to place their answers inside. All family members should write down a physical characteristic that makes them unique, like a mole on the cheek, five earrings in the left ear, or square spectacles. Once everyone has arrived, the planner should divide the cards equally among the guests and set them off to find the matching family members. The first person to find matches to all their cards sits in the winner’s circle and so forth until all matches are found.

"Family Guess Who"

Learning interesting facts about each other helps bring family together.

Similar to "Trivial Pursuit," "Family Guess Who" helps people learn facts about their family members. While planning the reunion, one designated person should ask all family members who are attending to write a few facts about themselves on their RSVP cards or evites. Once the facts come in, the designated person should create index cards with a question on one side and multiple-choice answers on the flip side. For example, a question could be: “Which family member eloped in Las Vegas when he/she was 18? A: Uncle Andy; B: Aunt Martha; C: Uncle David; D: Cousin Jerry.” The correct answer should be listed on the flip side. At the reunion, the designated person should divide the families into groups and see which family gets the most answers correct. To help bring different family members together, groups can be divided by generation.

Family Resemblance or Oddball?

Every family has specific traits passed down from generation to generation.

A designated person should ask each family member to bring photos of themselves growing up, one from each decade starting with baby years. Pair people up to compare photos. Set the timer for 3 minutes. Each pair should see if there are any similarities between photos and write them down. Possible matches include same poses, facial expressions, hairstyles or clothes. When time is up, the pairs swap until all photos and family members have been compared. Throughout the game, family members should write down whom their pictures compare to. The person with the most comparisons wins the Best Family Resemblance award. The person with the least amount of matches wins the Oddball award. In case of a tie, family members should vote on the photo matches.

Sardines

Hiding games help people feel young again.

The game "Sardines" is like "Hide and Seek," except just one person hides while everyone else searches. When a person finds the hider, he hides with him. Soon, the hiders will look like a can of sardines. To make the game more exciting, before the search, ask the seekers to write down where they would hide and tuck the answers in their pockets. After the game see how many people had similar answers.

About the Author

Sera Rivers is a writer, writing coach and child advocate. In 2007 she began teaching creative writing in group and private settings and freelancing for "Southwoods Magazine." She writes online about Western Massachusetts special needs kids. Rivers received her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2010.

Photo Credits

  • Jenny Acheson/Stockbyte/Getty Images