Last week we discussed planning activities for your family reunion and mentioned that this week we would present some specific family games and activities.
Honor An Awesome Person. Select an awesome person, perhaps a favorite grandparent, aunt or uncle several weeks or more before the reunion. Collect photos, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, invitations to weddings, birth announcements and whatever else you can find. Make a display wall to honor the person. Set aside some time to tell stories about the honoree. Maybe, distribute a quiz about the honoree that all family members have to complete. Give a prize to the person who knows the honoree best based upon the quiz scores. Perhaps, have one of the meals be the honorees favorite food. Have a cake ceremony in which each of your guests (or in the case of large reunions, each family) greets the honoree and says something nice about the honoree while lighting a candle on their cake. When all of the candles are lit the honoree acknowledges their guests and extinguishes the candles. (Be sure to make a video and numerous photos of this ceremony.) These items may be handed down from generation to generation. As an alternative or in addition to the cake ceremony you might have each guest bring a sign drawn, printed, or written on heavy 8.5 by 11 matte paper for the honoree saying something nice about the honoree. You can make photos of the guests presenting the honoree with their sign. Collect all of the signs right after they are presented to the honoree, slide them into page protectors, and place them in a binder which you present to the honoree to conclude the sign activity
Who Knows Their Mom and Dad Best? Start with the youngest generation of children who will be entering Grade 4 and above. Each of their moms and dads select one of their children to team up with them for this competition. All of the children are blindfolded. Each parent receives one page of sturdy (e.g., matte photo) paper or a white board. The parents each write four words on the white board: 1) how would I describe this child in one word, 2) how would this child want me to describe him/her in one word, 3) how would this child describe me in one word, and 4) how would I want this child to describe me in one word. (While this activity is going on the grandparent generation writes similar words for each of their children as well. These pages are hidden so no one sees them.) Now, hand each board to the child. Make a photo of each of the parent child pairs, while the child attempts to say what is on the board. Keep score. Now, for the surprise… Blindfold each of the parents. Have them stand beside their parents holding the paper or board their parents prepared for them. Make photos and see how well the parents predict what their parents said. Award prizes to the winner in each generation. Now spend a bit of time discussing the outcomes.
That’s My Mom/Dad. Blindfold all of the children in Grade 4 up (For a large reunion work with groups of four to six families at the time). Hand one parent in each family a sign which says YES on one side and NO on the other side. Children ask each of the adults YES/NO questions about what they do at work. The parent holds up the appropriate sign. The master of ceremonies tells the children which sign was held up. When all (or a pre-established number of) questions have been answered, the children try to identify their parent. Make photos of the new families before blindfolds come off and as their new family is revealed. All children eat dinner or spend the rest of the day with their new family. (Children who guessed their own parents get to choose a family to join.)
Find the hidden present. Divide the children and young adults into three groups based upon age. Have the youngest group of children find presents (which you have hidden for them before the event). Blindfold the next group of children and have them find their presents. Repeat for the oldest group. (For the oldest group, their present is a check hidden in their bandana). All contestants get to ask yes/no questions as they search for their presents. Discuss strategies as a family.
Family Bingo. Before the event prepare bingo cards which have short descriptors in each block. Each descriptor needs to fit one (and hopefully only one) guest. All guests have to get the person described to sign their block. Goal is 100% of all cards signed.
Concluding Activity. Select the champion of all activities for the reunion. Blindfold the champion. The champion’s assignment is to name and describe everyone at the reunion. Every guest is to raise their hand while they are being described. There is a good chance they will forget to name themselves and if they do name themselves there is a very good chance they will forget to raise their hand while naming themselves. Next, have the champion stand against a wall which you have covered with large sheets of paper. Everyone writes a special message for the champion. Photograph the champion standing in front of their wall. (Alternatively, have everyone write a message to the champion on an 8.5 by 11 matte paper and make a photo of the champion with each of their signs.) The champion is told what their sign says and needs to guess who wrote it, while the person who wrote it stands next to them. Once the champion figures out who wrote it, the guest explains why they wrote it. Make a video and lots of photos for this keepsake.
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Ron would like to thank Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.