family reunion activities

Learn all about the best family reunion activities, ideas, games, and more!

Family reunions are a lot like the family members who attend them — unique, complicated, and a whole lot of fun. Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a grand multi-generational shindig, there’s no denying that a family reunion is a great way to form lasting bonds.

Planning a family reunion, though, can be tough and time-consuming. It can also be challenging to find family reunion activities that everyone will not only take part in but will also enjoy. Fortunately, this article is chock-full of family reunion ideas and games to make your reunion the best one you’ll ever have.

In this article, we cover:

To start, let’s delve into how you can make a family reunion unforgettable.

family heart on the beach

How do you make a family reunion special?

Whether you’re expecting ten cousins or five-hundred relatives, planning and executing a successful family reunion is fraught with challenges. And while coordinating a family reunion will definitely test your patience and organizational skills, seeing participants smile while they engage in fun family reunion activities will make all the trouble worthwhile.

Here are a few ideas to help you make your family reunion special:

1) Make a suitable plan

You can start by planning for your family reunion at least twelve months in advance. This will give you and all your family members enough lead time to prepare for the get-together. One important first step is to pick a date and location that will be suitable for everyone involved. You can e-mail questionnaires to family members asking them for input on when and where they want to have the family reunion. You have to remember though, that you will not be able to please everyone so you’ll have to make do with what works for the majority of your family.

2) Delegate tasks

Don’t take on everything by yourself. If you do, you run the risk of burning yourself out. You want enough energy left to enjoy the reunion activities yourself! Gather capable and willing family members and form committees to handle organizational tasks. As committee head, you can delegate tasks, communicate with different committees, and oversee all the moving parts of the event.

Here’s a list of some of the reunion jobs that should be delegated to willing family members:

  • Lodging liaison: handles the accommodation of family members who are from out of town
  • Finance officer: is in charge of the resources and the budget of the family reunion
  • Food director: handles the menu and checks in with family members about food allergies and any other food-related concerns
  • Correspondence officer: is in charge of conveying messages to those attending the family reunion
  • Entertainment director: organizes the family reunion activities
  • Welcome committee: creates the nametags and signage and handles registration

3) Gather all the pertinent information in one place

As mentioned, a family reunion has a lot of moving parts that must be monitored. One tip is to gather all the copies of pertinent paperwork such as family members’ lodging details, registration information, and receipts in one place. You can keep them in a file folder like this one. Make sure these are accessible as well as you’ll be referring to these often. You can also create digital copies of these documents to make sure you have an extra copy in case these get lost.

4) Be transparent with finances

Cost is a crucial factor that impacts attendance. As mentioned before, you should give family members enough lead time to gather resources for the event. Twelve to eighteen months should suffice. To help with the seed money to pay for initial costs, you can also ask each family member to pay a set amount. Make sure to be transparent with all financial dealings and send consistent updates in the months leading up to the family gathering.

5) Consistently disseminate information

It’s best to keep relatives who are attending your family reunion abreast of the latest developments. Keep every family member updated to stir up excitement as the event draws near. Remind them about the potluck, ask for ideas about games, send them information about lodging, and so on. You can easily do this by going online and creating a private event page on Facebook.

A great way to keep everyone engaged is to encourage them to send: 1) family photos, 2) stories about your heritage, 3) genealogy information, or 4) trivia about your family history. This kind of engagement will only help to increase attendance for the family reunion.

 6) Take lots of photographs

You must remember that family reunions are rare and you never know when the next one will be. So make sure to take as many photos as you can using a camera bundle like this to preserve the memories of your spectacular family reunion! If you want to save costs, you can assign several family members to take pictures. But, if you have a budget for it, you can splurge and hire a professional photographer to capture special memories as they occur.

8) Have something for everyone

Strive to have a wide range of activities that cater to different age groups and interests. Try to create games or activities that promote people getting to know one another. This can be a scavenger hunt, a family talent show, board games, bingo cards, a family reunion game, and a whole lot more!

On that note, let’s take a closer look at several family reunion ideas that will make your event truly unforgettable!

fun things to do at a family reunion

Fun things to do at family reunions

One of the best ways for relatives to get to know one another is by letting them share a great meal. Here are some fun food ideas that you can try for your next family reunion:

Potluck

You can ask family members to bring their favorite family recipes to the family reunion. To make sure that there are no duplicates, you can publish a list on your family reunion’s event page on Facebook.

Dessert contest

There’s nothing like a competition to get family members involved. You can have a dessert contest to see which sweet treat is the best. Be sure to have impartial judges!

Enjoy a traditional meal

If your family traces its roots from a particular country or region, you can prepare a menu and serve food from that locale. For example, if your family history dates back to the Philippines, you can serve traditional dishes like adobo, sinigang, and pork sisig. Having a Lechon is also one of the best conversation starters ever!

Decorate your cups

You can make your family meal more memorable by decorating the plastic cups like this with your family crest. If your family has a family saying, you can also have this inscribed onto the cups. This will not only speak of your family’s heritage but would also serve as a fantastic keepsake of the event.

Have a cupcake tree

Do you have someone in your family who loves to bake? Get them to bake and decorate cupcakes with family names or photos. These cupcakes can be assembled into the shape of a tree.

getting to know each other

Getting to know each other

Family reunions can also have some awkward moments especially if you have a large family. Don’t expect everyone to know every single family member. To help them get to know each other, try these ideas:

Stage a “Baby Picture Contest”

Ask family members to bring their baby picture. You can then pin these on a board and ask everyone to guess who the people are. The person who gets the most correct answers wins.

Share stories about your family history

There’s nothing quite like going back in time and reliving stories from your childhood. Whether it’s a fun moment that you shared with your grandfather, an embarrassing memory involving your parents, or an anecdote about your ancestors, this activity is sure to get everyone to remember why your family is so exceptional.

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Think about how to engage different ages. For example, younger children may need visual aids, question and answer sessions, or shorter stories because they have limited attention spans.

If you want to get everyone really involved in your family history, consider displaying a family tree and telling stories about your ancestors. Pictures can be a great way to jog peoples’ memories as well. You could show a picture of your grandmother’s childhood home and ask her to describe what it was like growing up.

The more you can get different generations (kids, parents, grandparents) listening and talking to each other, the better.

Conversation starters

Write down questions on a card and place them on the chairs during mealtime. Questions can be random queries like “what’s your favorite food?” or “what’s your least favorite animal?” The point of this activity is to break the ice and hopefully get a conversation going.

Share family trivia

Form a committee to research bits and pieces of random, yet intriguing, information about your family. Learning that your Uncle Bob was a fighter pilot in World War II or your Aunt Betty played a bit role in an Elvis Presley movie is sure to be a lot of fun.

Stage a family talent show

Nearly every family member has a hidden talent. What better way to show this off than at your family reunion? Witnessing your meek cousin bust out the “Running Man” or your great-grandma belt out her favorite song makes for great memories!

Hold an awards ceremony

Give away as many awards like this as you can to make sure that no family member gets left out. Get creative with the award ideas and come up with fun categories like the highest number of cake slices eaten, brightest smile, best outfit, most talkative, etc.

Make a family map

This is a great idea if you have family members from all around the world in attendance. You can bring a large map and mark the places where family members come from. You can then ask them to share something interesting about where they live.

Create a time capsule

Have every family contribute something special to the time capsule and then bury it or store it in a safe place until you’re ready to open it in five, ten, or twenty years. (Maybe at the next reunion!)

family reunion games

What games can we play with the family?

What would a family reunion be without games? Here are our favorite family reunion games:

Minute to Win It-like games

Minute to Win It-style games are perfect for family reunions. The goal is to complete a task in one minute. Some ideas are: who can blow up the most balloons, eat an entire pie, or name the most number of relatives.

Scavenger hunt

Group family members in a random fashion, making sure that no two people from the same immediate family are in the same team. Then give them a list of items to find in the area as well as some vague clues to keep things intriguing.

Obstacle course

You can modify the complexity of the obstacle course to suit the age group and the fitness level of the participants. Get creative with the course and include things that your family can relate to. For example, if your family comes from a long line of musicians, you could add a rule in which they have to belt out an entire song while navigating the course.

Family relay game

Once again, strive to assemble groups with family members who are not quite familiar with one another to foster more togetherness. You can go with something traditional like a sack race or create something unique like a relay that involves swimming across a lake.

Family Olympic games

Why settle on one family competition when you can have a series of games? Plan different events and then create a big board where you can post all the results. To get the competitive juices flowing, allocate a great prize to the winning family like an all-expense-paid vacation.

A Jeopardy-inspired game

Create Jeopardy-style questions about facts relating to your family. Then hold a game show and see who wins.

A dance party or contest

Ask the families who are attending the reunion to prepare a one-minute dance number that they will showcase in a contest. Prepare a nice prize and let a neutral judge handle the decision-making. At the very least, it’ll be fun watching your 70-year old grandma bust a move.

commemorate your family reunion

Ideas to commemorate the special times

Take every opportunity to document the happenings of the reunion so that it becomes a tangible part of your family history. You can post all the photos and videos on the event’s Facebook page, or you can create a special family directory that each family can take home with them. No matter what you decide, it’s important to preserve these special memories.

Create a family directory

Take a photo of every family and label each one with the names of every single person there. Also include their address and other pertinent information. This is a great way to urge everyone to stay in touch long after the reunion has wrapped up.

Have a grand photoshoot

You’re better off if you get this done at the start of the reunion to make sure nobody is left out. You never know; some family members may need to leave early so it’s best to have all the shots taken while everyone is still around.

Produce a family reunion video

This might cost a little more than your average photoshoot, but it will be worth every penny once you see a professionally-done video that captures all the highlights of your family reunion. Find a videographer in the area that has a background with family videos or wedding videos and you will be in good hands.

family laughing

Conclusion

Family reunions are a great time to connect with relatives from all over the world and learn more about your genealogy and ancestors. With great teamwork, fun games, and proper planning, your family reunion will become an unforgettable memory. To recap, we discussed many family reunion ideas, including:

This post was all about the best family reunion activities to create an event that will be remembered for a lifetime. Make sure to involve your loved ones in coming up with fun family reunion ideas. Be open to serendipity and don’t sweat the small stuff. No family reunion is perfect; what matters is that everyone feels loved and appreciated.

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