Family reunions are joyful occasions where close and extended family members sharing common lineage gather. Since a wide range of relatives from young to old are invited, it’s important that event activities include everyone. Reunions are more than merely hanging out. They are culturally rich experiences to include sharing of heritage and history, enjoying traditional foods, engaging in conversation, enjoying music, and more. Activities such as playing games are an important part of these family celebrations, especially when big age gaps are present. Having something fun to do unites people and builds new relationships and memories. Here are some tips for a successful family reunion:
- Share delicious foods and copies of your recipe. People preserve tradition through food. The experience of sharing a meal or specialty food, especially a recipe that has been passed down through the generations, ignites joy of one’s heritage. Sharing how to prepare traditional foods allows favorite recipes to remain in the family. Knowing that Grandma’s homemade red velvet cake recipe will be made by other family members for future events, such as welcoming a new baby, throwing a bridal shower, or celebrating a retirement, is immensely heart-warming.
- Create a genealogy presentation. Family members of all ages come together during reunions to share stories and learn more about one another. Showcasing photos of ancestors or a reunion-themed movie, and displaying family artifacts, documents, or maps of family origins, connects the smallest baby to the oldest member of the family. Folks will learn family history and take pride in the roots that unite them.
- Due to big age gaps, there needs to be a variety of activities to include everyone. For example, a family baseball game is a fun idea. If there are lots of kids in attendance, allow them to play a short game of wiffle ball where adults cheer them on. Older kids and adults can follow up with an entertaining game of baseball. Of course, comfortable seating in the shade should be offered for onlookers who prefer to watch the game rather than play, thus considering everyone.
- Craft tables should be set up with activities for various age groups. Kids may enjoy building with LEGO bricks or playing with Play-Doh, whereas teens and adults can draw or paint at an art table. Contests are also great fun. Yard games such as cornhole, volleyball, badminton, ladder ball, and/or croquet can be set up. Also consider setting up card and game tables for family members who seek involvement but prefer to participate in less strenuous activities. Do consider having prizes for winners to make things a little exciting.
- Consider hiring entertainers such as a musician, magician, or professional DJ. Or keep things low-key and let the family self-entertain via a family talent show. Not only is it a great way to get people to actively participate in the reunion where people can dance, sing, play instruments, act, tell jokes and more, but it also creates fun memories. Also consider establishing a karaoke area where reunion guests can sing and entertain the crowd. A scavenger hunt and Yankee swap featuring interesting or impractical gifts are also delightful activities where everyone can be included.
Typically, family reunions are attended by a wide range of family members of different ages, from the tiniest babies to the elderly and everyone in between. Don’t allow big age gaps to be a roadblock to fun. A little clever planning ahead can make this memorable event inclusive of all ages. Making everyone feel welcome, establishing opportunities to share in the family history that unites them, and offering a multitude of activities worthy of participation, allows family reunion members of all ages to meet, interact, and create extraordinary bonds that are forever uniting.