February 15, 2016
The Best Ways to Keep Everyone Entertained
When you think of a family reunion, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it old-fashioned games like potato sack races? What about learning a little bit about family history? Hanging out with cousins you just met for the first time and debating the merits of your favorite bands or baseballs teams? Or how reconnecting with cousins you haven’t seen in 20 years?
The fact is, a family reunion should offer something for everyone—no small task for reunion planners. The secret lies in preparing a variety of events and having downtime as well. Here are a few ideas to get things started:
Although you may not have been a gamer as a kid, many of today’s tweens and teens are. Consider setting up a video zone and host a gaming tournament. Some KOAs even offer Wii’s on-site to accommodate family-friendly, sports-related “battles”. If someone in your family has an RV, they may even offer to host the tournament in their rig.
Rent a Boat / Go Fishing
Getting out on the water in a Pontoon, Tritoon or Fishing Boat is a great group activity! Kids can rent tubes or skis from the marina store at Prizer Point, Dad can fish and Grandma can enjoy a cruise on the Pontoon. There is just something peaceful and communal about being out on Lake Barkley together-it’s where some of your best family reunion memories will be made!
While there may be a little moaning at first, there’s nothing better than getting out your family’s favorite board games or decks of cards and setting the up on the plethora of picnic tables found at KOA. Put games for younger kids at one table (with an adult to referee) and games for teens and adults at another. Scavenger hunts are another fun activity for kids (and adults!) and a KOA campground is the perfect place to play. Here are a few lists to get the hunt started:
Bingo and charades work, too. And those potato sack races mentioned above? Kids still love those, along with three-legged races, Red Rover and other games. Of course, bean bag toss is always popular.
Talk to the KOA manager and see if you can host a dance for your family outdoors or in the pavilion in the afternoon or early evening. Put the teens in charge, but make sure they incorporate songs from all decades, including 50s beach blanket tunes, 80s rock anthems, and a few of today’s artists as well. Get everyone moving and consider giving prizes or crowning a “king and queen” with the best (or worst!) moves.
Climb (Your Family) Trees
Ask family members to bring family photos and copies of stories or genealogy records they’d be willing to share. Set up a laptop and scanner and assign the tech-savvy folks in your group the job of getting them scanned in for easy sharing. Then add them to your reunion e-mail list, website or Facebook page (Your KOA hosts can help you with finding a great spot to plug in). Make sure to get the names of people in the photographs as well as any other information that can be provided—future generations will thank you for it. And while you’re at it, pull out that phone or video camera and collect some life stories from the folks who are there. It’s a great way to bring history to life. Here are a few ways to get the conversation started: Capture Your Memories | Family History Questionnaire
Are you the only person to have your great-aunt’s macaroni salad recipe or your grandpa’s one-of-a-kind barbecue rub blend? A family reunion is ideal for sharing them, along with the stories of why they and other recipes hold a special place in your heart or in family lore. Create a family recipe book or blog, or add them to your family website or Facebook page.
Find a cool spot, pull out the camp chairs and just take time to talk. Ask questions, share your own stories or listen as others share what’s important to them. It’s a great way to learn more about your family, whether it’s your grandparents or your own kids. And that’s really what family reunions are all about. Here’s a questionnaire to get started: Family History Questionnaire