You've done the impossible and scheduled a time when the whole family can get together.
Make this gathering one to remember with a few family reunion games. Not only are they fun for all ages, but they're a great way to elicit lots of laughter and create lasting memories.
Make a Family Album
Set up an area where people can gather between activities and meals to do crafts. An extra screened-in, family-size tent, or pop-up shelter would be an ideal place to set up. Ask everyone to bring copies of family photos that can be compiled into a family photo album and encourage everyone to decorate their own pages over the course of the weekend.
Here is a list of basic supplies to get you started:
The Banana game
Ask all willing family members to line up. Tie a string around a banana and hang the banana from each player's waist so that it hovers just above the ground; then put a whiffle ball in front of each player. Participants must use their hips to swing the banana so that it hits the ball. The first player whose ball crosses the finish line—about 30 feet away—wins. It sounds awkward, but it's a riot.
Group ball games are some of the best family reunion activities because they allow everyone to play together. Some games you can easily plan for include:
Water Balloon Toss
On hot days, this family reunion game is a must. Have everyone pick a partner and stand facing each other. Start standing two-feet apart, and after each toss, take one step backwards. The team who tosses the balloon the farthest without letting it pop wins.
Quick tip: It's always fun to have prizes on hand for the winners—even something small and goofy would suffice.
Another family reunion favorite, the egg race is great for a big group. Have everyone choose a partner, face each other, and then stand about 30 feet apart. All players have to put spoons in their mouths. The first player places an egg on their spoon and runs it to their teammate across the way. They must transfer the egg from their spoon to their teammate's spoon, without letting it fall. The teammate then has to run the egg back to the other side to win.
Everyone is racing against each other, and if you drop the egg, your team is out.
Family Talent Show
Have each family member perform a talent in front of the whole group. Even people who think they don't have talents should be able to come up with something.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Quick tip: This is one of the best family reunion activities to record with a video camera and watch at future reunions.
This is a great activity for the campfire. Ask everyone prepare a story about someone else in advance—remember, embarrassing is good, but maybe not too embarrassing—and plan to share it with everyone one night.
If you have a large group, choose one person from each of the nuclear families to tell a story about someone else.
Quick tip: Try to think of something that most of your extended family doesn't already know. The best stories are those that reveal something unusual, sweet or funny about that family member's personality.
A scavenger hunt can be about searching and collecting specific items or solving clues that lead to treasure. This can be as basic or intricate as you want to make it. Kids can play individually, or if you want siblings and cousins to build camaraderie have them play in teams of two or more.
Some of the items on their list can include:
If you want to get fancy, you can create clues that they have to solve along the way.
Quick tip: Set parameters by telling the kids that they have to stay within 50 or 100 feet of the campsite, or that they have to stay within eyesight of the camping area.
Send a questionnaire to all family members before the reunion so you can collect information. This will help you compile the list of trivia questions to ask during the reunion.
During the gathering, split the group into several teams—the size and amount of teams will depend on how large your family is. You can do this Jeopardy-style or take turns asking each team questions like in traditional trivial pursuit.
You can create categories such as:
And here are some sample trivia questions:
You can play with a traditional game set or come up with your own list of things to act out. If you want to create the cards yourself, have everyone in the group write the following little pieces of paper:
Michelle Valenti is the senior editor at ReserveAmerica.com. When she's not at work, you can find her climbing rocks, riding trails, and setting up camp in fun outdoor locations around the U.S. Follow her on Google+.