For many families a reunion is a summer tradition. Seeing extended family whom you have not seen in years is both heartwarming and grounding. Children do not always share in our joy at these events. After a few minutes of talking and connecting, kids often become bored, making it difficult for parents to then enjoy themselves. Here are some tips for making your family reunion kid-friendly and ensuring that your children look forward to attending next year’s gathering.
One way to kick off any good party is with games. You might want to go low-key and simply plan on having lawn games, like croquet and badminton. Classic games like a potato sack race, water balloon toss, egg relays, ring toss, and three-legged races are fun competitions for young—as well as young-at-heart—family members. Depending upon the number of children you have attending the reunion, you could also enlist the help of older cousins in running the games. If your tribe enjoys some friendly competition, you could even create a point system with a prize awarded to the winning family member(s) at the end of the games.
Prior to the reunion, ask family members to bring their favorite children’s book. Create a storytime area at your reunion where family members can read their chosen children’s story. You may enjoy listening to an older relative reading a book to your children that you remember hearing as a child, or a young child sharing their new accomplishment of learning to read. Sharing a love of stories is a beautiful family tradition.
Family Scavenger Hunt
One way to keep older children occupied and interested is through a Family Scavenger Hunt.
The goal is to find a family member who fits the criteria for a variety of specific traits, such as a person with the middle name Michael, a veteran, the youngest sibling family, the couple who was married on June 22nd, etc. This activity encourages children to engage with members of the family by asking questions and possibly even learning some family history.
Outdoor Movie Night
At the end of a reunion, children are generally tired. By providing an area for them to watch a family-friendly movie, you are giving them a chance to relax. Offering an outdoor viewing, as well as popcorn and snacks, makes this a memorable experience. A movie also allows adults to talk and mill about with family members that they weren’t able to spend much time with during the day.
Summertime is the prime time for family reunions. Warm, sunny weather is the perfect backdrop for picnics, cookouts, games, and fun with family members of all ages. Whether you are expecting a dozen cousins or several hundred relatives, don’t forget to include activities that will keep the young members of your family happy and engaged