Making Family Reunions Fun for Kids

Make your next family reunion kid-friendly and family history-focused with these fun activities for the younger set:

  • If you have a family newsletter or Web site for pre-reunion updates, create a kids’ section with information on activities planned for them, plus word scrambles or trivia related to your family history. You can reveal the answers at the reunion or offer prizes for the first correct answer.

  • Highlight an ancestor’s experience—such as immigrating to America or following the California Gold Rush—with a history display. Let kids help gather photos, maps and information; download music from your family’s country of origin; and create a fact sheet about your ancestor’s experience.

  • You and your child can use his genealogy research to create a giant tree chart showing how all the reunion attendees are related. Print one from your genealogy software, or draw your pedigree on butcher paper.

  • At the reunion, hold a show-and-tell session, to which families bring an heirloom, photo or other memorabilia and share a story about it.

  • Celebrate family recipes with a bake-off. Kids can enter or be judges, then create cookbooks with all the recipes.

  • Gather entertaining facts about ancestors, and hold a Trivial Pursuit- or spelling bee-style quiz. Or turn the game into an icebreaker: Give each person a printed list of questions to answer by asking others.

  • For reunions spanning two or more days, look for a nearby living history museum kids might like to visit.

  • Set up marbles, checkers, hopscotch, horseshoes, baseball or other games your ancestors played.

  • Give each kid a disposable camera and collect them later for film developing. You’re guaranteed to have plenty of reunion photos.

  • Bring craft supplies and have each child make a scrapbook page about their family. Back home, scan the pages and make a CD so everyone can have a copy. (To ease distribution, have anyone who wants one self-address an appropriate-sized envelope and put postage money inside.)

  • Let an older child be in charge of collecting information for a family contact book of phone numbers and e-mail addresses. He or she could ask for a fun fact, too, such as everyone’s favorite color.