Games at a family reunion is a way to get everyone involved. They add to the festivities and keep the event from becoming boring. It also stimulates a bit of friendly competition, remember that last family tug-of-war?. Family members look forward to having fun together.
The games you choose should be an assortment to get all generations to participate and appropriate to the locations (i.e., outdoor or indoors) - make your selection fit the age group and skill level.
Teenagers seem to be the "lost souls" at family functions, so have your Activities Coordinator give them the responsibility of heading up the kid's activities. Or, at least have activities that they would like to get into. (See the Water Slide below)
There are literally hundreds of books written that include different activities for group involvement. Here are just a few to get you thinking, that require little equipment - your Activities Coordinators can certainly add more.
Relay Races - set up these races having each branch of the family going against each other. The competition begins!
Sack Races - use old pillowcases if you can't find sacks. Notice the red shoulder straps attached to these sacks to hold them up on the kids. Good Idea!
Three-legged Races - use some rope or cord to tie the right leg of one person to the left leg of another. I've even seen this done with six people tied together - what a fun time!
Tug-of-War - Heavyweights on the ends - making sure each team is equal in weight, not necessarily by how many on each team. Who doesn't remember being pulled across a mud puddle with this one?
Scavenger Hunts - these can be done in many different ways, here are two suggestions: 1) make a list of items to find, and 2) make a list of family information to find among your guests. This is also a good ice-breaker!
Water Balloon and Egg Toss - The teams toss the balloon or egg to each other, when caught by each, they take a step back and keep tossing until one team still has their balloon or egg intact. Prepare to get wet or "scrambled" when they break.
Great way to cool off on a hot day!
At our family gathering last year, it was the end of July and HOT. My son-in-law went to a local home improvement store and bought some plastic sheeting. They placed it on the top of a grassy hill, attached a hose, added some soap bubbles and by magic - A WATER SLIDE!
Everyone enjoyed this quickly improvised activity. Cooled everyone off too!
The "Magical" Water Slide
My grandson, Nicholas trying out the water slide
My daughter, Cathy and two of my granddaughters, Kelli & Allie
My granddaughter, Gina and her cousin, Matthew
My son, Vince, and his grandson, Matthew
You may also want to plan some organized activities such as softball, volleyball, basketball and horseshoes, of course, assuming your function is outdoors. If you let your family members know you plan to have these games, they may come well prepared with their own equipment.
A Recognition Ceremony to Award Certificates for the winners is a great way to start wrapping up your day - actually it's a good idea to have certificates for ALL participants, then no one feels left out! Ribbons or buttons are very good items to use for awards.