It is family reunion time and you’ve been selected to plan the games and activities. I would suggest starting by clearly documenting what your objectives are for the reunion. Double check your list. Does it feel right to you? Check with some of the family members and see if they agree. Once you have this list you can select activities to support your objectives. For the remainder of this article I am going to assume that your most important objectives are for all guests, adults and children alike, to renew acquaintances and/or get to really know new family members while having fun and enjoying the venue you selected, but they may not be!
Next you need to determine your budget for the games and activities and find out how much various options cost. You certainly do not want to overextend and go into debt, because as soon as you get home it will be time to spend money on back to school followed by holiday shopping. If the budget allows you may wish to rent a bounce house and/or have a van drive up loaded with all sorts of games. You may want to hire people dressed as characters to meet and greet your guests. You may want to go swimming in a pool, lake or ocean. You may wish to visit an amusement park. Alternatively, you may just want to bring some balls or yard games along. Regardless of which of these alternatives you select, be sure that the activities are consistent with your objectives and your budget. Also, remember to plan ahead so that you have plenty of time to secure rentals for your desired date, and/or book other’s time where needed. While having the more expensive of these alternatives may be unique and fun, they are not necessary and may even detract from your objectives, so be careful.
Family Reunion Activities
You’ll also need to decide who will participate in each activity. You may want to have some activities for everyone, and some activities for smaller groups of people, just be sure the activities encourage interaction. Once you have decided on the activities, sketch out your space and think about where each activity will be held. Keep in mind that some activities may require more room for people and objects than others. It is also important to keep safety in mind – if your activities involve balls being thrown, make sure that you allow for plenty of space for movement and that there are safe landing zones for objects that are away from other activities (especially those involving children).
Evenings and “rest periods” when everyone comes back from their activities during the day may be the most significant part of the reunion. Now, here is the difficult part… insist that your guests come together (not go off, watch TV, take naps or work) without any internet connected devices, cell phones, etc. for some group activities. If your group insists, allow, say, one hour a day for internet connectivity or naps but do not allow this to replace getting together time.
What do you do with the time together? For some close knit family groups the conversation will flow. Just be sure that people are really getting to know many other people, not just speaking with people they already know such as people who live in their own household. For others, family games and activities might help to facilitate communication. Check back here next week for some recommended games and activities.
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Ron Would like to thank Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.