There’s something about summer that inspires us to connect with family to celebrate the unique bond that unites us. The joy of sharing not only a cultural heritage, but a family history makes these multi-generational gatherings a time-honored tradition.
Whether it’s an elaborate gathering of the entire network of extended relatives or just your immediate family, here are some great ideas for get-togethers that will have everyone enjoying the day together and creating some special memories.
- Check out the zoo (and we don’t mean your zany cousins): A visit to your local zoo will bring out the kid in everyone as they explore different exhibits and learn about exotic creatures. Interactive places like this also inspire conversation and mingling throughout the group, which is the main goal of any family reunion.
- Croquet in the park: This centuries-old lawn game is making a comeback in a big way—and it also allows all ages and skill levels to partake in the fun. Pack a picnic, bring out the wickets and hoops, and enjoy a relaxing (and minimally competitive) sport.
- Celebrate your heritage: Choosing a memorable date from your family’s country of origin is a good way to help everyone remember when you’ll get together each year. Make your party a celebration of your roots by utilizing traditional colors, foods, activities, and even a little history lesson for the younger generation.
- Of grapes and grain: If you’re looking for a way for just the adults to enjoy some time together, visiting a local winery can be a fun way to get outside and enjoy a few spirits in good company. Check with the winery beforehand to see if reservations are necessary and if you’re permitted to bring your own snacks. If so, assign a few people to breads and fruits and ask everyone else to bring a new type of cheese to share.
- Take me out to the ball game: Few things say summer like a baseball game—but even if you don’t have a major league budget, minor league and local high school games can still prove to be fun for the whole family.
- Scrounging for clues: For another type of interactive activity, consider hosting a scavenger hunt. There are many resources on the Internet to make planning a snap. Consider assigning teams of non-immediate family members to get everyone involved and working together.
- Summer camp, family style: Camping doesn’t just have to be just for the experienced outdoorsmen—there are many state parks and recreation areas that offer lovely accommodations for pitching a tent or parking a recreational vehicle for a weekend of turning off the electronic devices and enjoying the great outdoors. What better way to connect than over a campfire and a few good ghost stories?
- Cook-off: Is your family known for their barbeque or another summer treat? Host a cook-off where the family chefs present their best recipes (and bring copies to share!) A fun set of cooking utensils makes an appropriate, yet inexpensive grand prize.
- Walk for a cause: Start off a traditional picnic with a purpose by signing up the family to participate in a fundraising walk. Selecting a cause that’s near and dear to your family will ensure that everyone feels connected to the event. Host a potluck picnic afterwards to keep the good times going—and pat yourselves on the back for the good deed you’ve done!
- Make your family tree: A great activity during any family reunion is to piece together your family tree and history. Take photos of all family members who attend and ask them to provide photos of family members who could not attend or are deceased. Consider putting this family history together in a format that everyone can order a copy of like a custom photo book.
What special things does your family do in order to stay in touch? We’d love to hear in the comments!