Family reunions can be joyous occasions, but they can also be awkward. There are the cousins you’ve only met a few times, the inappropriate auntie, the uncle who likes to lavish everyone with gifts; so to help break the ice, why not try some of the popular family games?
If you’re feeling brave, play a game of family trivia, a twist on the classic board game, Trivial Pursuit.
The chief organiser should collect questions about the family and facts about each family member. Write each of the questions on cards and write the answers on the back whilst dividing them into categories. Then divide into teams of two to four players, each team then takes turn to pick a card and ask a question to whichever team’s go it is.
Not only is the game fun and competitive but you can also find out who in your family knows you best whilst learning a great deal about your relatives. If you’re struggling to think of questions, ask things like “Where was aunt Mary born?”, “Where did cousins Tom and Sarah meet?”, “What university did I attend?”.
Tug of War
Why not go old school sports day with a game of tug of war? This game can be played numerous times – all you need to do is to split into teams of two and take a solid rope that is easy to grip and one that won’t stretch.
Place a piece of paper in the centre and draw a line in the ground with an equal distance between the two teams and centre of the rope. The first team to pull the centre of the rope over their side of the line wins. You can mix the game up somewhat by making it a battle of the sexes, old vs young, or many more combinations.
Surprisingly, bingo is a great ice breaker. It is a simple game which helps to loosen people up, and with the popularity of the game taking off recently, particularly online and via mobile bingo sites, it’s sure to be a winner with all the family.
The game also makes way for friendly banter whilst helping you to avoid those awkward questions of “so what are you doing now?”, “have you moved out yet?”, “still single?”. And if you want some more family tailored games, then rather than using numbers, draw grids of 12 squares on pieces of paper and write everybody’s name on. Then place everybody’s name into a hat and call them as you would with numbers in a bingo hall. It’s a fun twist on traditional bingo, inexpensive and the time will fly by.
For another family favourite, why not bring out those jigsaws you’ve been hiding in the loft for years?
Split into teams with an equal numbers of players and provide each team with a jigsaw puzzle. To ensure the game is fair and to stop those inevitable family squabbles, make sure that the puzzles have around the same number of pieces and level of difficulty (I suppose you can give the younger ones an easier puzzle).
Begin the puzzles at the same time and the team who finishes first wins. To add to the competitiveness (and to keep the kids interested!) you can offer prizes to the winning team.
For summer reunions when it’s simply too hot to be indoors then water balloon toss is the perfect game and one which is guaranteed to get everyone laughing. The aim of the game is throw a water balloon from increasing distances without is breaking and soaking your partner.
Split the family into teams of team and form two parallel lines with team members facing each other. To begin with, place the members at no more than arm’s length apart and increase the distance by taking a step back each time. Once the balloon bursts, that team are out and the last pair standing win.
To spice things up you can add some water-soluble paint or food colouring to the balloons, or even use eggs, however the traditional water balloon method tends to be less messy!