On those occasions when families do reunite, enjoying one another’s company, sharing experiences, reminiscing, playing games and laughing are essential to keeping the affection and security of a family nucleus together. Why? Well, it’s paramount that families know wherever life takes them, however far the geographical distance may be, they’re always a family.
Now family gatherings do vary in style. Some are raucous events, filled with unreserved emotions. Others are more subdued affairs. But, what cannot be argued is that playing family games online, or offline helps bond families together – and should be a part of any reunion. We recently had a wedding in Portugal and it rained one day, so we decided to give a few modern games a try. Here are some games that you can suggest playing to your nearest and dearest the next time you all are together.
Hot Potato Camera
Who doesn’t like a selfie with the family? Who doesn’t take more than a handful of pictures at a family reunion before posting happy, smiling faces to Instagram?
It’s safe to assume that whipping out your Smartphone to capture that picture of a long-lost uncle, second cousin or even a sibling you haven’t seen in years brings nothing but joy to a family reunion.
But, why not try something a little different?
Have everyone sit in a circle, set the self-timer and pass the camera around, pointing the viewfinder at everyone’s faces in turn for just a few moments. Let everyone take a picture in-turn and see how long they can hold their smile. The slowest person to take the photograph is the loser.
You could make it even more fun by determining that the person left holding the camera when it flashes must wear a silly hat, do an impression or sing a song – just make sure no-one drops your Smartphone. Like fun online party games, like The Name Game, Hot Potato Camera rewards speed with side-splitting laughter.
Family History Photo Swap
With a little preparation, a family history photo swap game can really pay off. Before your family gathers together for the first time in ages, ask them to bring with them old and new pictures that mean something to them.
When game time comes, spread the pictures across a large table and ask everyone to name when and where the picture was taken. This is a great way to reminisce and reconnect with times in your life that have long since been forgotten.
Have everyone sit around the table and in-turn choose a picture that they believe speaks to them. Share stories and discuss what you all were feeling at the time. Unlike some family games online, the family history photo swap doesn’t encourage competitiveness, but it does bond everyone together – and after all, isn’t that what a reunion is all about!
We recently had a family reunion on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day for those unaware. I was surprised to get an ultra slim wallet from an aunt I haven't seen in years. Otherwise we had agreed not to buy presents for each other. Instead we were focused on having fun, which was very successful, so I thought I would share some options for games to play.
Water Balloon Toss
This is a great game to play in the soaring heat, especially for playful families with young children. Certain to put anxious smiles on everyone’s faces, water balloon toss is not for anyone who hates getting wet!
Separate the family into teams of two: brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, aunties and uncles are fine – whoever you feel will work the best as a team. Form two parallel lines with teams facing one another.
One person starts by tossing the water balloon to his or her partner. Once it has been successfully caught, each person moves a step back. Then again. And again. And again. The team who manages to catch the water balloon from the greatest distance is the winner – but be careful! Catch the water balloon too softly and it’s likely to slip from your fingertips. Catch the balloon too firmly and you’re likely to get wet!
Tug of War
A good-natured tug of war is a great way for families to bond. Unlike online party games that need an internet connection, mobile devices and a reliable family member to organise and mediate the game, you only need a rope (and maybe a set of gloves) to have some rip-roaring fun with everyone in the family!
Separate your family so into two, making sure that each team has members of equal physical prowess, grab a strong rope and after a 3-2-1 count get everyone pulling. Now, this isn’t the best game for elderly family members, nor is it for young children, but if your family are dedicated to physical fitness, it’s a great game to test everyone’s strength and resolve.
Why not make the contest a little more interesting by having a battle of the sexes, or battle of the mum’s or dad’s! You may discover that your cousin Joe is far stronger than you thought!
These are but a few of the different types of games that you can play with your family when you all come together for the first time in what seems like forever. If you’re considering which of the family games online is sure to get everyone excited, ecstatic and energised, you really need only consider The Name Game. [update: The Name Game seems to have stopped].