Make New Family Memories with Games for All Generations
Kids might not be interested in listening to stories from ancient times (aka the 1980s), but they can always appreciate a good game. Not only do family reunion games help fill the hours when the weather keeps you all indoors, but they also allow you to create new inside jokes and unite the generations. Could Great Aunt Lisa and Ted's preteen stepson actually have a ton in common? Bring them together with a game to find out.
Use this game as an icebreaker when everyone arrives, or save it for later if the forecast indicates you'll be stuck inside at some point. Spread the word that every attendee should bring a baby picture to the gathering. When you're ready to play, spread out the photos or hang them using string and clothespins. Give everyone an hour to examine the photos and write down guesses as to who's who.
If you didn't solicit photos ahead of time, you can still play a version of this game. Have every person dictate to you an interesting personal fact or piece of trivia. Assemble them all in a list, distribute them to the group and see who guesses the most correctly.
Family Field Day
Weather cooperating? Head out to the yard or a nearby park for a full afternoon of head-to-head family battle. Lots of games means lots of winners, which is important when you have a lot of kids to keep happy. Three-legged races, water balloon tosses, tug-of-war contests, dodgeball games—the choices are endless. Get creative using whatever you have on hand. Challenge trios to keep beach balls in the air for as long as they can, play hopscotch and hangman on the sidewalk with chalk or organize lawn bowling using empty soda bottles.
A family scavenger hunt takes relatives who might not otherwise have much cause to talk and forces them to work together to reach a common goal. The goal in this case? Finding as many objects as possible before time is up. Create a list of either general objects ("a crayon") or specific family ones ("the kind of food that inspired Grandpa's most famous nickname"), and break the group into teams of two to five members. Set a time limit and send them off to locate and photograph as many objects as they can.
There's another way to play this game. Make it the game's objective to find family members who fit certain categories. So the list might include "a person who was born in January" or "a person who got married in France." Players have to talk to everyone assembled to find the answers.
It's a classic game for good reason. Charades seems simple but always ends up being hilarious. It's the perfect game for the adults to play after the kids go to bed, or with the whole group assembled.
Divide into two teams. Ask everyone to take a few minutes to write down general clues, like places or common phrases, on slips of paper. Then have one member of the first team start by picking one of the clues written by the second team and acting it out for her team. Set a timer and see how many clues the team can accurately guess within a period of, say, five minutes. Then alternate, with a member of Team 2 acting out the clues written by Team 1.
Even toddlers can rule at this game, with a little adult help. At the start of the reunion, find out who wants to play. Announce the names of everyone participating so everyone knows who's in and who's off limits. Give each player a sheet of stickers, with each player getting a different design. Their challenge is to surreptitiously place stickers on other players without them noticing. Keep the game going over the course of the reunion. Award a point for every sticker that's placed without the target noticing it's happening, or let the sneaky fun of the challenge be its own reward.
Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.