A. Yes! Think of ways favorite games can be adapted to a family-history theme. For example, gather fun facts about ancestors and hold a Trivial Pursuit- or spelling bee-style quiz. To turn the game into an icebreaker, give each person a list of questions they have to answer (in 10 minutes) by asking other relatives.
Also try games that bring back the good old days, such as marbles, Bingo, checkers, hopscotch, horseshoes and sack races. In our hometown, Cincinnati, the big family-gathering activity is cornhole—you toss bean bags at a slanted board with a hole in it. If your clan’s Italian, try bocce ball.
Decks of cards are inexpensive and let people of different ages play a variety of games in groups. You could make it fun by staging tournaments with family history-themed prizes.
You also could keep people busy with arts and crafts. Kids will color with sidewalk chalk for hours (make sure you have paper towels for cleaning little hands). You could have everyone bring scrapbooking supplies and a few photos, and let each family create an album page. Later, scan or color-copy the pages to make a souvenir and mail everyone copies.
• A Family Affair by Sandra MacLean Clunies (Rutledge Hill Press)
• Family Reunion by Jennifer Crichton (Workman Publishing)
• The Family Reunion Planner by Donna Beasley (John Wiley & Sons)
• Family and Party Games by Trevor Bounford (HarperTorch)