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Games are great activities at family reunions. They are especially important as ice breakers when people first arrive at the reunion and as a way to capture the interest of children and teens if they get bored.

Games are an activity with many uses at a family reunion. They

  • Make it fun
  • Help people get acquainted and comfortable with each other
  • Let you separate groups with different interests so that, say, teens can do one activity while adults engage in another.
  • Control behavior, so you can wear off excess energy or go from active to quiet.
  • Focus on your theme if you have one.

Games come in different varieties with some being noisy and active, others quiet or educational. Some are good for large groups and others for small ones. There are games for large spaces and others for intimate ones, games for young children and games for adults.

Think of games you played as a child: Hide and Seek, Red Rover, Tag. Choose your favorite games and have them ready for an appropriate time during your family reunion.

Break the Ice with a Game

A particularly useful kind of game is an "icebreaker." Use it to help people get reacquainted at the start of your family reunion.

When you haven't seen each other for several years it can be difficult to know what to talk about. Good ice breaker games elicit information that family members can use later to start up or continue conversations.

Ice breaker games need to be playable as soon as people arrive. If you wait until several people have arrived it may be difficult to overcome the inertia that hits once everyone is settled.

Ice breaker games are particularly valuable for teens who are building social skills.

Here's one ice breaker game you can try. Pin a slip of paper on each person's back as he arrives. Have the name of a person or an object written on it but don't let the player see it. To find out what is written on his (or her) piece of paper, the player has to go around asking each person a question that can be answered yes or no. He can only ask one question per person and he has to do it until he guesses what was written on the slip of paper. When he guesses, he gets a small prize, such as a drink or a packet of nuts.

Older adults may choose not to play, but children and teens who do play will involve the adults by asking them questions, assuring that the game will achieve its aim whether everyone plays or not.