Family Reunion Games and Activities

Games, also see Family History Focused Fun for games

Old Fashioned Games are still some of the most fun to play. Our daughter-in-law planned a family reunion with an afternoon at a park playing  many of these old games. It was fun for everyone–old and young! It can be used for family-history themed reunions as well.

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What games did our grandparents play?

Click on the names to go to websites with rules for old games.

Red Rover

Anti I Over

Three-legged Race

Gunny-sack Race

Kick the Can

Capture the Flag

Eat Donuts off a String

Guess Who? We had square pieces of paper for everyone to write something about themselves that most people don’t know. They all go into a jar, and the M. C. reads them out and everyone tries to guess who that is. For instance someone wrote that she loved to dance and would lock herself in her room, turn the music up, and dance. Most people were guessing teenagers, but it was not a teenager. Someone wrote that a helicopter had landed in her front yard, etc.

About You   (These questions start conversations as other people remember something that is relative, so the point is not to get to everyone, but to engage everyone in conversation and reminiscing)

Have questions in a bowl for people to draw from. Each person answers the question, such as  Which sibling were you closest to and why? What chores did you do when you lived at home? What was your favorite piece of clothing you had as a child? What store did you shop in the most when you were young? Who was a neighbor you didn’t like and why? What was the best advice your dad gave you? What activity did you like to do the most when you were young? Where did your dad or mom work? Did you go to work with them ever? Where was your room located in the house, describe it. Where was your favorite place to play? Sing a childhood song you knew back then. What do you remember about Grandma (or Grandpa, or Aunt? Uncle? ) What was your favorite treat as a kid?

Did You Know?

Have a box with pieces of paper, and invite all the guests to write a little known fact or story about the family–anonymously.

Confessions

The host of the game reads something about an ancestor and asks everyone there to admit it, if they have done the same thing. This one can be used as a fund raiser. If you have done the same thing as Grandpa, Grandma, or some Aunt or Uncle, you put a quarter in the pot. Such as, ” Grandpa used to drink beer. If you have ever drunk beer, put a quarter in the pot.” Grandma one stole a piece of chalk from her teacher. If you have ever stolen anything…” Grandpa loved to drag State Street in his souped up car. If you have ever had a “souped up” car or drug State Street…” Grandma used to die her hair,  if you have…” Grandpa started fights at school. If you have ever been in a fist fight…” Grandma never would miss an episode of her soap opera. If you have ever watched soap operas…” Grandpa used to swear…” Aunt Lizzy could never keep a secret, if you have blurted out something you shouldn’t have…”

(This one could also be played with a basket of candy–if they had similar experiences to Grandpa…take a piece of candy.)

Who Am I?

Have names of family members on sticky notes, stick one of the names on a person’s forehead. He has to go around asking yes or no questions about who he is, such as “Am I male?”  ”Am I young? ”  ”Am I a farmer?”  ”Do I make delicious bread?” “Did I live in Oregon?” He can’t ask the same person more than once, so everyone has to mix and mingle. If children are playing this game, then you could use the names of people at the reunion–just cousins and aunts and people they know.

Name This Baby

Gather baby pictures of all those attending. Place them on a wall or board with numbers on each one. Each guest gets a paper with the list of all attendees (whose pictures you have), and places the corresponding number of baby picture with the name. If it is an extended family, then have everyone gets to play. If it is the more immediate family, then maybe just the kids should guess.

Who does this baby belong to?

In an extended family reunion we had all the mothers with babies –up to two years old  stand in a row holding someone else’s baby. Guests had to guess which baby belonged to which mother. This was really fun because some babies look just like their mothers, and others look nothing like their mother. We had a blond, blue-eyed mother with a dark haired, brown eyed baby that a stranger would never have guess belonged to her.  But that baby looked a lot like others in the family. It’s a fun way to look at family resemblance.

Team Building Games

We have played team building games like they do at business retreats, and they work really well at family reunions, and they can be hilarious. I can’t remember the rules to them, so look online. There are tons of them. Here is one website: Team Builders 

Herding Pigs

We played this team game at our Cowboy and Outlaw themed Reunion. You blow up pink balloons and let the kids draw faces on them. Then you have an area that is enclosed on three sides to act as the corral. Each team takes turns herding the pigs into a corral with flyswatters. This is a lot of fun because balloons are as hard to herd as pigs would be. It can be done at the same time, if you have two “corrals” or one team at a time with a stop watch. There are lessons that can be applied to this activity such as being unwilling to follow the crowd, if that is a teaching that is needed, or it can be of following rules for safety and happiness reasons.  I try to adapt games to a lesson when I have the kids around.

Charades

Charades is a classic game that most people really like to play. I have a container that is about the size of two cups filled with Popsicle sticks. I have written a names of movies, books, and songs on each stick. I geared these to children to play charades. They pull out a stick and act it out and have their team guess, as any game of charades is played. The popscicle sticks are a good way of preserving the titles for the next group of kids is ready to play. Kids tend to entertain themselves with this for a long time. It, of course, could be geared for adults as well.

OUTDOOR GAMES

It would be fun to have rotating yard games–three or four games going at once, and every 15 minutes two people from each game rotate to the next game and pick up where the other players were (other players rotate as well), so not every rotates at once, but everyone gets to play with many people.

Croquet, Bad Minton, Volleyball are always fun, but we found two new games last year that our family loves.

Kubb-Viking Bowling

This game is very fun. It is difficult, but a child can do it as well, almost as an adult. My husband made us a set because our family enjoyed playing a borrowed set so much. There are rules online.

We love this game, and we take it with us. We were camping last year at Pete’s Hole, and people who passed would stop their cars and ask what game we were playing. There is a lot of laughing.

Washers –Urban Horseshoes

This is a very fun toss game. There are lots of sites that have the rules online

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Self Defense and Safety

It is a great place to talk about self defense to kids as well as adults. There are safety councils in all cities that have people who will come talk about self defense, neighborhood watch, drunk driving, etc. My daughter was the EMT Director in her town for many years, and she brought some of these things to our family reunion. Impaired Driving Goggles were a big hit, as everyone tried to walk a straight line with them on. It is a very effective way to teach about drinking and driving.

Water Slide

My sister set a water slide up at a park in Bountiful with a very steep hill. She bought the visqueen at a home improvement store. They secure it with tent pegs (this time they forgot them and used rocks). There is a water tap close by, and they took a hose to hook up to it. (Their ward had done this for a couple of parties.)

Hawkins water slide1

Everyone  had a ball with this homemade slide. We had dinner lunch before and during the water activity at the pavilion in the park, and watermelon afterward. Awards were given to the kids. Awards can be purchased at thrift stores and painted. Kids love getting an award, even if they have a bowling ball on them and they won the award for bravest slider.

Roller Skating

My mom used to rent a Roller Skating Rink every year the night after Thanksgiving Dinner as an activity to keep us together having fun on that day.

Family Fun--Roller Skating-001

 

 

 

 

 

Family Reunion Classes

Set Up Some Mini-Classes &

Learn From Each Other

All families have people that are really good at one thing or another. A fun idea is to ask family members in advance to teach a Class Activity and share their talents and break the group into classes. The possibilities are endless–look around your family and figure out who could teach what. After dinner, some could show what they’ve learned, like the dancing, acting, or rhythm, etc.

Here are some of our ideas:

Crafts–Have the crafty cousin bring supplies for a mosaic craft or some other trendy craft that people can sign up to do. This is one of the options my niece is going to have us do at our next reunion.

Family Trip--Provo River

Alisha’s Craft

Here is a craft that looks so perfect for a family reunion! Check it out at Saving with Sarah blog.

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Another variation of this is found on Ginger Snaps blogab187fa0761aebb84d36a6d26a5630b4You can order supplies for these pendants at Photo Making Jewelry

Cake Decorating–I have two daughter-in-laws who decorate cakes. Either one could teach marshmallow fondant, or using tips at a family reunion. One year I made cupcakes and frosting ahead of time, and we had “Cupcake Wars” with the family divided into three teams. The cupcake flavors were Applesauce, Red Velvet, Chocolate, made before the event started. Everyone adults and kids participated and had a great time.

Grandma's Camp Wonderland

Quilting–In our family, a good class to teach would be the basics of patchwork. (Sewing machines are portable these days and can be transported to the reunion.) Our daughter learned quilting from her grandmother, and now teaches. Grandma tried to teach all of her granddaughters quilting and held Quilting Camp at her house for a couple of years.

Nina Quilting and Sewing

Grandma Nina was a professional quilter. Top Row L-teaching her granddaughters to put a quilt on frames and tie it. R-The girls finished quilt tops. The rest are Nina Grimes quilts. Bottom R-teaching a granddaughter.

Embroidery–Our  Grandma taught ribbon embroidery and traditional embroidery to one of our daughters. It would be a great class to teach something relating to an ancestor at a family reunions.  Quilting or Embroidery would be a great way to honor her in our family.

Self Defense or Personal Safety–Get some tips from someone in your family that is in law enforcement or has taken these kinds of classes.

Dance –Have the dancer in your family choreograph a simple dance.– Our daughter-in-law taught teenagers and younger kids a Stomp.

Music or Rhythm –Our grandson gave everyone some type of percussion instrument–look around there are all sorts of house hold things that can double as percussion instruments. He started a beat and we all followed it and the person next to him would start with another beat; you could follow or keep the same beat going. The longer it went, the more fun it was!

Act It Out

We’ve done this in so many different ways. You just need a director.

  • I had condensed “Joseph’s Technicolored Dream Coat,” and had some simple costumes for the main characters. We watched parts of the movie, and then rehearsed, giving tips on what their character needed to portray.
Grandma's Camp Wonderland1

All dressed up and ready to play their part. These guys write their own plays.

  • My mother had simple costumes and put together a reader’s theater about a Court Case of Thomas Hawkins–one of our ancestors, and they rehearsed it briefly and and put it on for the crowd.
  • Another time my mother dressed pioneer clothes and did a one woman show of her great-grandmother crossing the plains and mountains with seven children and a handcart. She had collected her history from family members as well as first hand accounts from her grandfather. Everyone loved it and learned so much about this ancestor.

Archery–Have the archer in your family bring some bows, arrows and targets and teach the basics of archery. We bought some inexpensive homemade bows that worked well for little kids, and a couple of adults had their own bows to share.

Grandmas Camp Medeival 2013

This archery event happened at Grandma’s Medieval Camp.

Shooting–Choose someone in your family that can teach gun safety if you are in areas where you can have target practice with guns, or maybe you are close enough to a shooting range. We live in a rural area, so its not hard to set up a shooting range in our 10 acres or go to North Springs Shooting Range near Price, Utah.

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Headed out to teach gun safety and target practice at our Cowboy Camp.