Family games and other activities to enjoy

courtesy of Janice Maxine Jones

Members of the Windham family enjoy games, such as this wagon blanket, at a family reunion in 2016.

In Spanish

For nearly 25 years, Janice Maxine Jones of Carrollton, Alabama, has created games to encourage loved ones to mingle at Windham’s biennial family reunion. The wagon blanket raffle and Hula-Hoop string game are so popular that they have become regular events.

Whether you’re planning a small barbecue in your backyard or a 200-person jamboree, fun activities are key to entertaining people, bringing multiple generations together and maintaining momentum. When people participate in activities, they make connections, tell stories and share their family history.

“If you want to bring people together, there should always be an element of fun,” says Corrine Thomas, event planner and owner of Absolute Events by Corrine in Kearny, New Jersey. “The more fun they have together, the more they will want to see each other again.”

That’s especially true for parents who travel long distances to get to a reunion or make it their annual vacation, says Sylvia Ford-George of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, who serves on the advisory board for the Family Reunion Institute. Plus, “activities are a way to get young people interested and involved in planning the meeting to keep it fresh,” she says.

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