15 Unique Family Reunion Ideas
Somehow you have managed to get the entire family to meet together in one location on a chosen date. Congratulations! If you can do this, you can do anything… including a plan for the rest of the reunion, or delegate someone to help. If you’re in need of some creative inspiration, Family Education has your back. Here are 15 unique family reunion ideas that are sure to build lasting memories.
It’s ok to admit that the first few hours of a family reunion can sometimes be a little awkward, especially for newcomers or if there hasn’t been a reunion in a very long time... or ever. Icebreakers, like these conversations starters, are a great way to, well, break the ice, and get the conversations flowing.
Games for All
Consider family trivia, scavenger hunts, and dance-off video games. If you have plenty of kids at the family reunion, Emily Kowalski Schroeder, founder and author of Growing Little Leaves: Geneology for Children says, “Some kids will naturally gravitate towards group games, like tug-of-war or water balloon fights, while other children would much prefer the time with an individual or small group activities like puzzles, coloring, cards, or board games.”
Photo booths are loads of fun and simultaneously help to document and encourage family photos. Set up a background and a tripod with a camera that has an automatic time setting. Toss in some hats, masks, wigs, and handheld signs to add to the fun. On the last day of the family reunion, you can display your photo booth images on a slideshow or poster.
If you’re one of the lucky families that have a tech or video guru, then consider adding a video documentary to your family reunion bucket list. Besides filming funny and tender moments, you can also film short interviews with each family member, even the kids.
Make a pact with your family to create a time capsule. Family Search suggests including a questionnaire and items that represent that year, like
- newspaper clippings
- notes to yourself or to other family members
Find a family member who can summon their inner Martha Stewart and get everyone in on some family crafts that can potentially be kept for years. A lot of crafts can be used to help the younger generations learn about their family tree, like this Giant Family Tree from Geneology Kids made of handprints or this Grandparent Pyramid from Growing Little Leaves.
Reenactments and Plays
Write or find some stories from your family history and act them out. If someone is a non-actor, they can model clothing and other gear from that time frame. An alternative is to come up with skits about things that happened since the last time you saw your family.
Family Talent Show
Every family member has some kind of talent, even if it’s balancing a book on his head. Have each person showcase talent in front of the group, like singing, magic tricks, or dancing.
Family Recipe Cook-off
One way to combine a fun, competitive nature with mealtime is to have a family cook-off, but with ‘secret’ family recipes. You can do blind votes from each family member and calculate the results right after dinner or the next day. Perhaps the winner gets a nice pat on the back, a fun prize, or a cheesy award for going down in family history as the best cook of the year.
Rutger Bruining, a genealogy expert at Family Education and owner of Story Terrace says, “At StoryTerrace, we provide writer stations for family reunions, big birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Participants talk about 15 minutes each with one of our writers to share a memory. If needed, the writer helps to generate ideas with prompts. Not only does the conversation often continue to flow throughout the day with other family members contributing more memories, but the writer will also collate all the memories after the event. The result is a unique book with photos and stories that will bring the reunion back to life for many years to come."
Get to Know Your Ancestors
Genealogy is an increasingly popular hobby. Some neat ways to bring in the past of our ancestors are:
- Family heirlooms
- Cemetery walk
- Go to an ancestor’s hometown
If you want a cooperative challenge for your family, try your hand at an escape game. Rovena Bridi, owner of Every Second Counts in Beaufort, SC, says escape rooms are something different you can do with your family. “Everyone that visits contribute in some way to help solve the room and escape within 60 minutes,” says Bridi. “The players are monitored, so we hear a lot of laughter, fun, and brainstorming. We also hear them cheer when they realize they completed a task together. The groups always have a blast regardless of winning or losing.”
Outdoor Movie Night
Set up a cozy space with some bean bags, camping chairs, or picnic blankets. Pop tons of popcorn or some other delicious treat: Shirley Temples for the kids and special drinks for the grown-ups. Have a bbq and eat up while you watch your movie in the great outdoors.
When your family is together, come up with some ideas on what your family values and principles are and put those to paper. You can either assign your family artist to illustrate a crest or logo, or use a company to create, download, and print a new crest just for your family.
A great way to end your family reunion is with family superlatives or awards! You can use topics like Funniest Reunion Moment and Tallest Kid. They can also double as family reunion souvenirs.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to jumpstart your family tree and genealogy research. Here’s our guide on how to get started.
Pin these ideas for reference when you start planning your next reunion: