Family Reunion Activities & Games for Extended Family Bonding
Family gatherings with extended family are special moments throughout the year that allow relatives to come together and get to know each other a little better. As fun at these moments can be, they can also be stressful depending on family relationships and how well everyone knows each other. However, the family reunion or gathering is an excellent time for extended family to bond and see what they have in common, because family is one of the most important aspects of life for a lot of people, as you’ll always be connected with them in some way.
Respect Each Other’s Differences
A big reason many people dread family gatherings is because although you are all related in some way, family members sometimes have very little in common depending on where they’re living and how they’re raised. It’s important to discuss guidelines before family gatherings, possibly by writing up a family code of respect, to ensure everyone feels comfortable spending time around each other despite the differences in political and religious views or ideologies.
Creating these boundaries can be a great way to teach younger children about respect and can foster a healthy environment that all family members want to be a part of. With a set of guidelines, it will be easier to stand up for other family members who may become a part of an uncomfortable situation. Respect each other’s differences by ensuring that the entertainment is well balanced with everyone’s interests and viewpoints in mind.
Helping members of extended family to bond is a lot easier when everyone knows each other’s names. Name games can be a fun and silly way to get to know each other and to remember names, especially for people who you were wanting to connect with. It can also be a good way to analyze each other’s demeanor and shyness levels so you can think about what kind of approach to take when talking to a niece or nephew.
Introduce Another: this game involves partnering up with someone. Each person takes five minutes to talk about themselves and when both individuals have had a chance to share about themselves, the group goes around in a circle and each person introduces their partner. The pro of this is that people don’t feel as embarrassed talking about someone else as they do about themselves. The con is some people may not feel like their partner highlighted what they would have wanted shared about them.
My Name: for this game, each person goes around and tells the story of where their name came from. This can be a fun game at family events because people are often named after family members their parents were close with. As adults explain where their names came from, the younger family members can have a chance to learn about family members that either aren’t present or may no longer be around. If anyone is unsure why they were given their name, this could be a chance for them to find out.
Closing Age Gaps
Spending time with family is an excellent chance for children to learn how to communicate with family members of all ages. If your family gathering is an all-day activity, consider scheduling some arts and crafts to take up some time in the afternoon. Arts and crafts are fun for family members of all ages because they can be as simple or intricate as each person might like, and each person can dedicate as much time to their craft as they feel comfortable putting in. Consider putting them on display at the end of the night, letting family members vote for their favorite and having a prize for the most creative or fun craft of the day. Then afterwards, participants will have a small souvenir of the reunion to remember the day.
Other fun intergenerational activities include classic and common pastimes like board games, puzzles, word searches and sudoku. These games and activities also vary in difficulty levels, which makes them fun for people of all ages, and can take up as much time as you want them to. Break groups up into teams with extended family they might not know very well and let them work together to put together a complicated puzzle, or pair up other family members and let them put their heads together to figure out a word search. There are plenty of resources online where all sorts of games can be printed and provided on a table for children and adults to pick from.
Photographing the Moments
The best part about family gatherings are the memories made throughout the day. Assign one person to be the event photographer or set up a photo booth area where groups can go to take pictures. Follow a few photographing tips to capture the perfect moments with children, as well as with adults. While photos can be really a really fun and important part of documenting the event, ensure that it doesn’t come above the actual bonding and time spent with the family, as the most important part of the event overall is creating memories.
Whether you’re hosting a family reunion party or simply getting some extended family together for some bonding time, small games and activities can turn a long family afternoon into an engaging time for children to bond with their older relatives. The best thing to do on a family day is simply to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible so they can spend and enjoy the time they’re spending together. Make every moment of family bonding count.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
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