I heard a quote once that has stuck with me. IT goes like this- “New and improved is not always better than tried and true”. That quote kind of sums up the games I’ve included here- they are not “new and improved” but they are certainly “tried and true” classic games that we probably all played as kids growing up. Try some of these classic games at your next family reunion or party.
Game #1. Three Legged Race
I remember doing the three legged race at the Fackrell family reunion when I was a girl, this certainly is “classic” reunion game.
Equipment: Bandanas or rope for each team of two
How to Play: Each team breaks into pairs (matching an adult with a child keeps things fair and interesting). Using a bandanna or a piece of rope or twine, each pair ties one partner’s right ankle to the other’s left ankle. When the whistle blows, all of the pairs, assembled side by side at the starting line, race to the finish line. The first team whose pairs all cross the finish line wins.
Game #2. Clothes Pin Drop Game
Equipment: Canning jar or wide mouth bottle of any type, wood clothespins, chair
How to Play: When playing this game at family reunion you will want to divide into teams. You will need a bottle, chair and clothespins for each team. Place the bottle on the floor behind the chair. Players line up behind the chair. The first player kneels on the chair, leaning over the chair back. Each player gets 3 clothespins to try to drop in the jar. When each person has a had a turn dropping in the clothespins they count the number of pins in the jar. The team with the most clothespins in the jar is the winner. NOTE: You will want to make some rules about where you hold your hand while dropping the clothespins. I suggest keeping your hand at your chin.
Game #3. Kick-the-Can
If you like Hide ‘n’ Go Seek and Tag- this is the game for your family reunion!
Equipment: can (empty tin can)
How to Play: Depending on how many people you have, you choose one person who will be IT (you can have 2 or 3 if you would like.) You choose a designated "prison." By the prison you put a standing can. You have IT close their eyes while the rest go and hide somewhere. Then whenever IT chooses, they can go and look for their soon-to-be prisoners. Once a hider is captured, IT takes them back to the "prison" and that one has to stay there. The only way the prisoner may come out is if one that has not been captured kicks the can, then all those inside the prison are free. But, if the one who attempts to kick the can gets caught before kicking the can, he has to go to prison. You may decide when the game is over, by either everyone is captured or if IT gives up.
NOTE: At our family reunion we like to play this game in pairs- the game moves faster and no one gets stuck being "IT".
Game 4. Wheelbarrow Race
Game 5. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
I like this game because it can be adapted to fit any family reunion theme you are using. For instance, you can do pin the “crown” on the “king” if you are using a medieval theme for your reunion or “Pin the moustache on the outlaw” if you are using a western theme.
Equipment needed: Donkey picture and tails, tape or pins
How to Play: Hang up a picture of a donkey without a tail. Line the kids up a few feet away and give each one a tail e a different color). Blindfold the first child and slowly spin him around three times. Point him in the direction of the poster to tape on his tail. The child that puts the tail closest to the correct spot on the donkey is the winner.
Game #6. Gunny Sack Race
You can get gunny sacks, also known as burlap bags or potato sacks at co-op or feed stores such as IFA or Cal Ranch.
Equipment needed: Gunny sacks
How to Play: Line your family up at one end of the field. Contestants should step into the bag, one foot at a time until both legs are inside. The bag should come up to at least the player’s hips. Both legs have to remain inside the bag and the bag should stay up around the waist. On the word “GO”, racers begin hopping to the finish line.
Game #7 Duck, Duck Goose
Once I decided to be clever and adapt this game to my family reunion theme. It didn’t work- kids just want to play it saying “duck, duck goose”. They don’t like a “new and improved” version of this game.
How to Play: In this game, kids sit down in a circle facing each other. One person is "it" and walks around the circle. As they walk around, they tap people’s heads softly and say whether they are a "duck" or a "goose". Once someone is the "goose" they jump up and try to chase "it" around the circle. The goal is to tap that person before they are able sit down in the "goose’s" spot. If the goose is not able to do this, they become "it" for the next round and play continues. If they do tap the "it" person, the person tagged has to sit in the center of the circle. Then the goose becomes it for the next round. The person in the middle can’t leave until another person is tagged and they are replaced.
Game #8. Mother May I (or Father may I, or whatever fits your family reunion or party theme!)
Line all children up on a start line and put one child on the finish line who is “Mother”. Mother will then tell each child, one at a time, to “take one giant step forward” or “do 3 spins forward” or “take 2 baby steps forward”. That player must then say “Mother May I?” Mother then gives permission to take the steps. If a child forgets to say, “mother may I?” then that child must return to the start line. The first child to cross the finish line wins and gets to be the “Mother” next.
Game #9.Red Light Green Light
Equipment needed: none
How to Play: Line your family up on the starting line. Choose one of your family members to be “it” . “It” stands on the finish line. “It” shuts his eyes and calls out “green light”. At this signal, the other children begin to run towards the finish line. Then “it” calls “red light” and opens his eyes. The other players, when they hear “red light” must freeze. The first child to reach the finish line wins and gets to be “it” next time.
Game #10. Red Rover
How to Play: Divide the family into 2 teams. Each team makes a line by holding hands and stretching the line out. The two teams are arranged facing each other about 20 feet apart. One team begins by saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (person’s name on other team) over.” The person whose name was called runs from his line and tries to break through the hands of any two people on the other team. If he successfully breaks through he then chooses one opponent to take back to his team with him. If he does not break through he must stay on the opposing team. The team to get the most players wins.
Game #11. Blind Man’s Bluff
Equipment: Bandana or other blindfold and a big open area
How to Play: Chose someone to be “it”. They count to 12. (You don’t want to give them too long to hide or get too far away”.) As “it” counts everyone else finds a place to hide or stand in the playing area. When “it” gets to 12 he then yells “stop.” Everyone must freeze where they are. “It” then says, “BLIND MAN’S” and the players must each say, “BLUFF”. You may not move and “it” must try to find each of the other players blindfolded using only their voices as direction to them.
Game # 12. Tug-0-War
Another classic game that can be adapted to your family reunion theme. Pit family against family or make up team names that fit your reunion theme.
Equipment needed: About a 120 foot rope (Measure 15 feet from the center in each direction and tape the rope at those points. When this line crosses the line on the ground, the team on that end has lost.) and perhaps some gloves
How to Play: Line both teams up on their respective ends of the rope. Each team pulls until one side’s tape crosses the line.