Fun Party Games for Your Family Reunion

Are you looking for a fun game for your family party or reunion? Here’s a few fun  party games that also work well for  family reunions.  These games  work well for most ages  and abilities.

Paddle Ball Contest

I bought a dozen paddle balls, for under $10.00) from Oriental Trading ( so that we could have 12 people compete at a time. Everyone needs a partner so count off in twos. One person will compete, the other will count. I suggest coming up with some rules, for example, competitors must hit the ball down not up, they must not touch the elastic or the ball.

Give everyone a 1 minute “warm up” to practice and develop their technique. Time for 1 minute and award medals to those that hit the ball the most times.  Then reverse and let the counter have a chance with the paddle.


Feeding Frenzy Pudding Game

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You will need one single serving of pudding for each participant. Teams of two sit one behind each other. The person behind puts their arms underneath the person in front. (See pictures) The person behind must feed the person in front the pudding. First team done is the winner of that round. Teams then reverse and the person that was in front now sits behind and its their turn to “get even”!

Spray Bottle Relay


Set a garbage can 12′ from the foul line and place container of balloons behind the foul line. When the clock starts, player may toss balloon in the air from behind the foul line and attempt to direct it into the trash can using only the spray bottle. If the balloon hits the ground, the spray bottle, or any part of the player’s body, it’s void. A player may reuse an old balloon or use a new balloon to make a new attempt from behind the foul line. To complete the game, player must move 1 balloon through the air and into the trash can using only the water from the spray bottle within the 60-second time limit.


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This game is as fun to watch as it is to play. First, chose a leader to be the “caller”. After you have chosen the caller, they will think of a category (colors, animals, ice cream flavors, etc).  People will line up at the diving board. One person will jump off the diving board and the caller will say a category as soon as they leave the diving board. The person who jumps off has to name something in the category before they hit the water. If he or she does, they return to the line. If they do not, they are out. Then the next person in line goes.  The last person in the game is the caller for the next round.

Balloon Stomp


I think this is Uncle Scott’s favorite party game and it really does work well with a large group of people.

An area of your family reunion site is cordoned off or you could use an inside area. Participants tie a balloon to each ankle. On a whistle all the contestants have to try to stomp on each other’s balloons and pop them. If both of your balloons are popped you are out. The winner is the last one with a un-popped balloon on their leg.

Family Reunion in an Afternoon

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You want to have a family reunion but…

You don’t have a 3 day weekend for your family reunion.

You don’t think you can stand listening to Uncle George’s lame jokes  for an entire weekend.

You can’t stand the thought of feeding all those hungry people.

Planning all those games and activities is just too overwhelming.

In my family reunion presentations I tell people that ANYTIME you get together with your family can be a family reunion.  There are no rules that say you have to spend a certain amount of time with your extended family to make it an “official” reunion.

A typical family reunion will assemble grandparents, aunts and uncles and tons of kids that share the same surname for a meal, some games and activities and maybe even some genealogy discussion and if all you have is a Saturday afternoon in the park then start planning!

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Let’s look at a possible schedule for a possible family reunion in an afternoon.

Things to do in advance

Be sure to reserve your location if holding your reunion at a park or hall.  Ask family members to bring a sack lunch for the noon meal and make food assignments or ask everyone to bring a potluck dish for the evening meal.

Send out invitations

Include food assignments and items such as swim suits or softball equipment.  If you are planning to go swimming, golfing, bowling etc. include how much these activities will cost.

Choose a theme.  A family reunion doesn’t have to have a theme to be successful but creating a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend. A reunion invitation that invites you to a “Prehistoric” reunion for Brontosaurs burgers is more interesting than an invitation that invites you  to a family reunion at “the park”. It also makes things more fun when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion. 

10:30 Registration

Set up a registration table for attendees to receive a name tag and schedule of activities.  This is a great time to get family member’s phone numbers, email and home addresses.  Provide an activity  that family members can participate in while waiting for everyone to arrive.  Try a huge game of badminton or volleyball for the teenagers, sugar cookie decorating or a coloring page for the youngsters and printable Older Than Dirt Game for the older generation.

11:00  Ice Breaker getting to know you games.

  My favorite ice breaker game is DO YOU LOVE YOUR RELATIVE?

The group sits in a circle with room in the center.  The person that is “IT” does not have a chair and stands in the center of the circle. “IT” walks up to one of the people in the circle, points to someone and asks, “_________, do you love your relative?” The individual pointed to can say one of two things:

“Yes I love my relatives (everyone sitting in the circle must move to a new chair)

“No, I don’t love my relatives but I love everyone _____________________.” Fill in the blank with things like- everyone that is wearing green, everyone that likes chocolate, everyone that has a dog or everyone that wears glasses. (Only the people that meet the requirements move to a different chair.)

In both situations, the person that asks the question runs to sit on a chair. The person left standing, without a chair to sit on, is the new “IT”.

Family Reunion Helper has lots of fun Ice Breaker Games.  You will need to plan on playing two to three games.

12:00  Sack lunches and family photo

After lunch you will want to take a picture of your family.  It doesn’t need to be professional, just a record of who attended the reunion.


1:00  Extra Curricular Activity

Arrange in advance for your family to go swimming, bowling, roller skating, hiking or a road rally scavenger hunt. Some families like to split up during this time so people can participate in several activities- some may go golfing while others shop or make a craft. This will be your major activity.  For some activities such as boating or visiting an amusement park you may need to schedule more time.

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3:00 Theme Activities Craft or Fund Raiser

If you have chosen a theme for your reunion now is the time to do some of those activities.  This is also the time to do any fund raising such as an auction or raffle.

4:30 Genealogy Spotlight and Business Meeting

Ask someone that is a good story teller to share an interesting story from your family history.  It is very important that this presentation appeal to all family members and includes pictures and props.  You may also want to take a few minutes to discuss any family business such as when and where to hold you next reunion.

5:00 Dinner

You may do a potluck dinner, a meal that reflects your reunion theme (dinosaur theme- Brontosaurus Burgers, western theme- chuck wagon beans etc.) Other simple meal ideas are a baked potato or taco bar, grilled burgers or have your favorite pizza place deliver a variety of pizzas.  Do not serve dessert at this time.

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6:00 Talent Show Free Time

This is the time to let family members share their talents.  Play Let’s Make A Deal to keep everyone interested between acts.

7:00  Wrap it Up

Serve dessert and thank everyone for attending your reunion.  You will be tired and ready to clean up and go home but some family members will want to hang around and visit.  Put them to work helping you clean up. 

The  Branson Family Reunion web site list five reasons to have a family reunion.  One reason it lists is “Tradition”. “Tradition should be a big part of your family.  Taking the time to come together and teach (in a fun way) the tradition of your family will keep it alive and strong.”  Although planning a reunion can be a lot of work bringing your family together, if only for an afternoon, can be a rewarding way to keep traditions alive.


Aunt MO

Baby, Bronco, Backpack


If you’re looking for a fun game that any number of people can play and that doesn’t need a lot of advance preparation or props then “Baby, Bronco, Backpack” is the game for you.

Gather your group together and have them split into groups of two.  It’s usually best if groups are fairly evenly matched- same size and strength etc. but mismatched teams can add to the fun.

Explain the three poses teams must be able to form.



If the leader of the game says “BRONCO” one person in each group of two will jump down on all fours and the second team member will sit on their back as if they are riding a horse.


If the leader says “BABY” one of the players in each team of two will jump into the arms of the second team member as if they are being cradled like a baby.


If the leader says “BACKPACK” one of the players in each group of two will jump on the back of the second player like they are getting a piggy back ride.

The last team of two to form up the combination is out of the game and teams are eliminated until there are two teams left and the winning team is determined.

For larger groups you may need to say that the last three are out.
As teams get a little more experience you can make the game more fun by yelling out combinations of movements such as “BABY, BRONCO, BACKPACK, BABY, GO!” The teams of two will frantically go through all of those until they perform the last “BABY.”


HINT: One rule that may help you keep some control of the game is to explain before hand that the teams can not move until you say “GO!”

Fun Pizza Party Twist

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To add some suspense to a traditional pizza party divide you family and friends into teams.  Give each team a premade pizza crust a jar of pizza sauce and a bag of cheese.

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Wrap pizza toppings in gift wrap or newspaper and let each team pick 2 or 3 of the wrapped toppings.  These are the toppings that they must use on their pizza.

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After all the teams have “decorated” their pizzas and baked them, set them out for everyone to try.  Cut pizza in small slices so there are lots of samples.

Below is a list of popular pizza toppings:


  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Salami
  • Proscuitto
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Chorizo
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Ground Pork
    • Artichoke Hearts
    • Bell Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Sun Dried Tomatoes
    • Asparagus
    • Cauliflower
    • Red onions
    • Herbs (Fresh if Available)
    • Portobello Mushrooms
    • Kalamata Olives
    • Leeks
    • Mushrooms
    • Corn
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Chili Peppers
    • Squash
    • Eggplant
    • Jalapeno Peppers
    • Olives


Mafia Family Reunion

When it was first suggested that we use “Mafia” as our theme for the Stewart family reunion I was  a little apprehensive but after three days of Mafia activities over Labor Day I’ve decided that “Mafia” is just another word for “Family”.

My favorite activity was the marshmallow wars- the longer the game went the more strategic the teams got.  I hate to admit I was on the losing team but if the winner is the team that had the most fun it would most certainly be my team!

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The “Godfather” of our family got a little help to get around the reunion site.

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“Gangster” ball and “Mob”  Ball were two favorite activities.


We printed our own Mafia “funny” money.  It featured portraits of the Godfather and Godmother.


Family photos with a Mafia twist were snapped as family members entered the “speakeasy” and sat down to a delicious Italian dinner and murder mystery theater.


A picture of the “Family” was taken in our black Mafia shirts.


Look for the all the “Mafia” reunion fun at family reunion helper- Aunt MO will soon be posting everything you need to have your own Mafia themed  family reunion so your family can learn how to put “Family First” too.

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Aunt MO

Family Reunion Hot Wheel Party

I love to do family reunion presentations to church groups and women’s conferences.  At my recent presentation one of the dear grandma’s that attended expressed some concern about doing a three day family reunion and it occurred to me (kind of like one of those “could’ve had a V-8 moments in the commercials)- have I ever mentioned that your reunion doesn’t have to last three days or two or even all day?  A family reunion can be a fun afternoon with your family at the park, swimming pool or the family homestead.  Any time you can get together as a family is a good thing and counts as a family reunion.

So I thought I’d tell you about a fun party idea for abbreviated family reunion.  My family loves to have their own car races- Pinewood Derby or Hot Wheels race.


If you know anything about scouting you know how fun and popular a Pinewood Derby can be. About 10 years ago we had derby at our family reunion. We let anyone that wanted to participate bring a derby car. It could be one that they had made in the past or one that they made just for our derby. We awarded prizes for how the cars looked and how they performed.

We arranged for a man in our local to bring his derby race track and timer for our event. He charged us $20.00. Our reunion was held at a campground and we asked the camp hosts to be the judges at our derby. We invited them to stay for Dutch oven cobbler after the races and I think they really enjoyed being part of things. We gave trophies for the fastest car and also gave out the following awards:


Best Paint Job
Most Colorful
Most Realistic
Most Original
Best Workmanship
Best Funny Car
Coolest Design
Most Unusual

image I heard of a family that passed out unfinished Pinewood Derby kits to their family as they arrived at their family reunion.  They gave them an hour to put their cars together and make whatever alterations they wanted to their car.  When the hour was up they began the race with roughly finished cars.

It was quite surprising to me how excited everyone was about participating in the derby. One of my nephews even had his car professionally painted.


Hot Wheel Car Races

When my brothers and I were little we used to have Hot Wheels races and the tradition continues with our children today. In fact, if any of my nieces and nephews read are reading this blog just remember Aunt MO ALWAYS has the fastest car!! The track we used to use is now orange “vintage” track and you cannot buy it at the store or online. However, you can, always find it on eBay. The most important part of your race is the starter which you see pictured here.


We love to get Hot Wheels cars in our Christmas stocking and then have a “race day” during the holiday. At other times of the year we converge on the local toy store in search of the fastest car rolling them back and forth in their clear containers and checking them for weight. We limit everyone to just two entries in our double elimination tournament.


I’m always on the lookout for Hot Wheel and Nascar type prizes and store them in a box until the next family race day. Notebooks, stickers, candy and even Spaghetti O’s make fun prizes for your race.


One final idea that I have never tried but sure sounds fun is to play a car relay race as a warm up before the big race.

CAR RELAY GAME: Have teams line up and each person in the team has a certain action to do. For instance, the first person in each group is a flat tire and hops on one foot; the second person is a broken steering wheel and runs zig-zag; the third person is a rusty transmission and takes three steps forward and two backwards; the fourth person is stuck in reverse and runs backward; the fifth and sixth people are a car with a trailer – one runs behind the other grabbing on.

The movie “Cars” sure made it easy to find auto type decorations and novelties.  Wilton put out a Cars cake pan that was fun and fruit chews and cookies helped complete the party theme.

image Gentlemen, start your engines…

Aunt MO

A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing (car racing) and missionaries. Will Rogers

Annual Proclamations and Observances


I just became aware of three official proclamations pertaining to family reunions and thought it was interesting that there are basically three “official” family reunion month.

Make your family reunion official by issuing an official proclamation. You can ask for a proclamation from your city for many reasons including the date of your family reunion. You could ask that the day of your reunion be declared, “Wells Family Reunion Day” or “Stewart” Family Reunion Day.

Use a proclamation to recognize an ancestor or a special family member. Dignitaries are anxious to grant such requests especially if the family has a long history of service in the community. Some communities will even dedicate a week to your special event, cause or industry.  Reads more about obtaining an official proclamation for your family reunion here.

 Family Reunion Month A Proclamation in 1985 To raise awareness of a growing trend of runaway children and newly formed organizations to help reunite families of runaways the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 64, has designated the period between Mother’s Day, May 12, and Father’s Day, June 16, 1985, as "Family Reunion Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this period.

National Family Reunion Month While some commercial enterprises have dubbed August as National Family Reunion Month many social groups including churches observe National Family Reunion Month in the month of July.

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month A family awareness group with a focus on genealogy and traditional family reunion planning established in 2005 named November as "Annual Family Reunion Planning Month". Mark A. Askew, Founder, Legendary Heritage Heirlooms, "Family Reunion Planning Month." (November, annual monthly family reunion awareness observance)

Do’s and Don’t for Large Group Game Playing

 DSC05388Don’t plan games that make people feel uncomfortable mentally or physically

Don’t force people to participate.

Don’t allow “leaders” to choose sides.  This will lead to hurt feelings and discouragement.  At one of our family reunions we had everyone put their name in a hat and then we drew out names to make teams- what a disaster.  It took forever to get people to put their names in the hat and then everyone was so noisy they couldn’t hear whose name had been drawn.  Try this idea for choosing teams.  Line your family up tallest to smallest and count off into as many teams as needed.  If you need four teams count one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four etc.   For variation use Colors–Red-Blue, Red-Blue, etc. or by first letter of their name (not their last name if you are at a family reunion- veryone might be on the same team.)


Another idea for separating into teams is to pass out cloth hair elastics for people to wear around their wrists to designate whose team they are on and you still keep some amount of control over whose team people are on.

Do keep the instructions for the games as simple as possible.

Do keep control of the game.  Explain the rules and demonstrate the procedure if necessary but after that stick with the rules.  Children are notorious for wanting to change the rules especially if they have played some other variation of the game before.  Explain that there are many different ways to play the game but that your family is playing it by the rules you’ve already explained.

Do have a back up plan and be ready to improvise if necessary.


Do vary activities.  Even if your family is enjoying the game don’t let it go on too long.  The idea is to stop while everyone is at the peak of fun then waiting until interest is waning.

Do plan circle games.  To separate into two circles make one big circle then break in half, having each half become a circle of its own.

Do have more than one game leader.  If you have more than one game leader you can take turns leading the games.  That gives leaders time to prepare their props and get their game ready while the family is playing the current game.

For fun family reunion games click here.

Aunt MO

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed

African Proverb quotes

Brain Teaser and Mind Reader Party Games

Brain teasers and Mind Reader party games are great fun! They can be used for family reunions to draw people together.  Brain Teasers make great ice breaker activities because they get everyone working and talking together to come up with a solution.  I still remember the first brain teaser I ever heard- 



That brain teaser drove me crazy and I finally asked, no begged for the answer.  You’ve probably already figured it out but just in case you need a little help- the doctor is the MOTHER!  So obvious!!

Research has long been touting the positive effects of playing brain teaser games but brain teaser games are actually fun too. Our family has several brain teaser games and activities that we can get together on a moments notice.  If we have some down time and need to find something to do we pull one of our favorite brain  teasers out of the hat and immediately have a fun activity for those that want to participate.  It doesn’t take long before some of us are pulling out our hair in frustration and others are laughing hysterically from the sidelines. Here’s a few of our favorite brain teasers  and mind reading games and activities.

Spoon Pictures Game


At least two people will need to know how to play this game. One is sent out of the room (the mind reader), and the other remains inside to take a picture of someone. This is done by holding up a spoon or some polished surface to a player’s face. When the picture is taken, the mind reader is called in, given the spoon, told to look at it, and guess whose picture it is.  The mind reader studies the spoon and then says whose picture they see on the spoon. The mind reader leaves the room again, while another picture is taken, is called in, and guesses that, and so on.

If any family member thinks he can be the mind reader, he may have a trial, but he may fail.

The secret- the person that took the pictures sits in exactly the same position as the person whose picture was taken.  If his feet were crossed and his hands folded, the leader will take that position. If another person is in that position, the one who guesses waits until one makes a change, and thus the name can be guessed.

Chinese Silverware Reading Game

Drop a pile of table knifes, or forks or spoons and it writes someone’s name. So your partner goes out of the room. Everyone in the room picks a person to be "IT" You then arrange the utensils in some random supposedly meaningful way. Partner walks back in looks intently at the utensils and then pronounces whose name they spell. What they are really watching is the way you are sitting because you are imitating the person who’s IT. (You could use any thing as your props- sticks, matches etc.)

Crystal Clear Game

This is a fun brain teaser game to do right before dinner, perhaps while everyone is waiting in line to get their food.  (They can think about the game as they move through the line.) Line six glasses up in a row. The odd ones are full, the even ones are empty. The object is to move only one glass, and by so doing line up three full glasses next to three empty glasses.


Answer- Pour the contents of glass number five into glass number two and replace glass number five.


Magic Squares Game

Once again it will necessary for two of the players to know how to  play this brain teaser game.    Arrange nine books or magazines on the floor in columns and rows of three.  Send the “magician/mind reader” out of the room.  As a group, choose one of the books or squares.  When the book is chosen, the magician is called in. Ask everyone in the room to concentrate on the chosen book.


Begin by pointing at different squares repeatedly saying "Is it this the one?” The magician will tell him to stop when he is pointing at the correct square.

The trick is simple. The first time the accomplice points to a square, he points to the relevant part of the square to indicate where the correct item is in the grid of 9 items. So if he points to the top right of the first square, the correct item in the item is in the top right of the grid. For instance, the picture below shows us that the book is the one in the top right corner.  Keep pointing to a couple of books before pointing to the book that is “it”.


You can vary this a bit so the accomplice shows the magician on  his second or third point if you want to. As people catch on they can become magicians and see if they get it right.



For this brain teaser game, all players will need to sit in a circle, and one is given a pair of scissors.  In turn, the scissors are passed around the circle, from one player to the next.  As a player passes the scissors to the next person they say either "I pass these scissors CROSSED" or "I pass these scissors UNCROSSED", and will be told if they are right or wrong.  The object is to try and find out what the rule is.  To make things more interesting, make a great play of turning the scissors around and opening and closing them.  The game continues until all have solved the mystery, or you take pity on those family members that remain clueless. 

The secret of this game has nothing to do with the scissors- it’s whether you have your legs crossed!


“I pass these scissors open.”


“I pass these scissors closed.”

Aunt MO

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”  ~e.e. cummings

Family Reunion Church- Discovering the Roots and Branches of Your Family Tree

Our family reunions are full of fun games, unusual activities, creative crafts and delicious things to eat but we also take time to learn about and honor our ancestors during “Family History Church”.

Most of our family history church meetings are relatively simple but we have done some amazing and memorable things. Several years ago, we included an airplane ticket to Scotland with our family reunion invitation.


During the reunion, we made a huge “airplane” out of tents, tarps and lawn chairs and took off, in our makeshift plane, for a visit to our ancestral home. We lifted off to the sounds of recorded jet sound effects, and our flight attendants served us peanuts and pop. As we approached the halfway point, our plane developed engine problems and we crashed.


After the crash, we were greeted by a beautiful angel dressed all in white who led us to a secluded area of our campground where we were visited by six of our ancestors who shared their life stories with us. These “ancestors” were actually family members who memorized a script and dressed in costumes from the era in which they lived.

This was a very elaborate family history church and took a lot of advance preparation but it’s an activity that family members still talk about.

Most of our family history churches are not nearly as complicated.  We always begin our family history church with a prayer and a song about family history/genealogy.


A few years ago we began spotlighting two family members, a child and an adult. We tell a little about the person and give them a few inexpensive gifts such as their favorite candy bar or soda. The next year those spotlighted choose another person to spotlight and so on.

I have the fun opportunity of giving a family history presentation about one of our ancestors each year.  These aren’t long, boring presentations but often include games such as “Wheel of Ancestors” or “Family Feud” and other fun activities.


We have made crossword puzzles, coloring books and word searches to help our family learn about their ancestors. We have even acted out fun family stories and experiences that make us laugh.  Everyone in the Stewart family know the story of Aunt Ann and the banana because we acted it out during our family history church.


We value the life stories of our ancestors so much. I wish I could say that all of our family are keeping wonderful descriptive journals for their posterity but we aren’t, so for more that 20 years we have asked our family to take a few minutes to fill out a journal page at our reunion. On the journal page, they record their experiences from the past year and then Grandma stores the pages in binders in hopes that some day we will compile them into family histories. Questions that are typically asked on the journal page are- What is the best thing that happened to you this year? What is the saddest thing that happened to you this year? What was the best movie you saw this year? For a more complete list of questions and sample journal pages, please download Journal Page Samples & Question Ideas.

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Anyone who has delved into the history of their family knows that, the more information they discover about their ancestors, the more real these people become, and the more fascinating. I love to learn the stories of the people that came before me and I love to share them with my family. Family history church is a wonderful way to join the past with the present and by learning about ones ancestors, it helps us understand ourselves, our heritage and the roots and branches of our family tree.

Aunt MO

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us,
we see the past, present and future."

Author: T.S. Eliot