The summer months of July and August are prime season for family reunions. In fact, I bet there’s a chance you aren’t even reading this column because you are away at a family reunion this very weekend.
By definition, a family reunion is an occasion when many members of an extended family gather. Sometimes these gatherings happen regularly (annually for example), or as ‘one-off’ events. Either way, the potential range in age of the family members, combined with the potentially large number of people, means an important part of a successful reunion is planning.
Often at my family reunions, I get called on to help plan the games and activities, and if you can believe it, I sometimes go a little overboard. At our last family reunion, one of my two favorite activities included a game called ‘3 Blind Mice’, which was a race involving blindfolds and colored balls, where the caller gives the blindfolded ‘mice’ instructions to locate all the balls of a given color. This is especially fun when the kids are the callers, and the adults get blindfolded. The other activity that was a favorite was the marshmallow shooters. These were built out of PVC pipe, and we incorporated them into a relay race, which ended in one player on a chair with a cone on his head, while the other teammate tried to hit the target on the cone with a marshmallow for the win. As an aside, stale marshmallows work better, and eye protection is a good idea.
On the other hand, many of our family favorite back yard games were inspired by family reunions, such as ladder-ball. When we first discovered it, I made our frames out of ¾ inch PVC, while my husband drilled holes in painted golf balls. We called the game ‘Irritation’ at the time, but it’s widely available commercially now and known as ‘ladder-ball’.
If you are looking for instructions for 3 Blind Mice, Marshmallow shooters or DIY ladder-ball, feel free to send me an email at [email protected].
If you are looking for some other fun activities to do at your family reunion (or company picnic etc.) we encourage you to check out our #YQLChallenge list of 150 things to do. It includes some old-time favorites, like the 3-legged race, wheelbarrow race, tug-of-war, and relay races, you’ll also find some classics like horseshoes (we often have a round robin tournament that takes all day), bocce and baseball. Others to choose from that require minimal or no equipment include Twister, tire-racing, the washer game, tag, soccer, ring toss, kick ball, lawn darts, minute to win it, monkey in the middle, dancing, croquet, Chinese skipping (we have a set of Chinese skipping ropes you could borrow), capture the flag, kubb or molkky or kick the can.
I recently stumbled across a variation of baseball that is popular at family reunions, as it doesn’t require all players to have a ball glove, can use a tennis ball, and can be played one-handed (because I hear some people like to have a beverage in one hand while they play?) The game is called Rounders. If you are the ‘follow the rules’ type, Wikipedia has a great explanation of the games, but you could also check out the video posted on our Facebook page for a more relaxed version of Rounders.
If you want to get a little more creative (or as my family likes to call it, ‘carried away’), you could take a look at your #YQLChallenge passport to see what you can make work for your reunion. I like the scavenger hunt, which can be personalized to fit your surroundings, the requisite water-balloon fight, or the one I’ve been itching to try; DIY Ninja Warrior obstacle course (if you are not sure what that means, let google fill you in). With the DIY Ninja Warrior, you can incorporate so many things, like balancing, balls, hula hoops, bean bags, exercise balls, hopscotch, jump rope, parkour, (double backflip gainer, anyone?), standing long jump, noodles and even trampoline.
Many of these activities can be combined into an amazing race or survivor type of event. This is a great way to get family members of all ages involved as some activities might be better suited to older or younger participants, allowing everyone to have fun.
With so many options to choose from with #YQLChallenge and beyond, there’s no reason to have a dull family reunion this year!
If you try any of these activities at your reunion or event this summer, we’d love to see pictures or video! You can email us at [email protected], or post to social media and tag us on Facebook (@LethbridgeSport) or Instagram (@lethbridgesport). Have fun and be safe!
- Tanya Whipple
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald on August 5th, 2017