Family Reunion Ideas To Make Your Event Even More Special

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Erban, LMFT, IMH-E
Updated April 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Planning a unique family reunion can be a big undertaking. It’s often challenging to find the right family reunion ideas in terms of venues, games, food, and activities. Part of this challenge comes from the fact that there are likely to be various age groups and personalities to consider. 

If you’re looking for advice or inspiration in the planning process, read on for everything from best family reunion activities and fun family reunion games to gift ideas that can help you encapsulate the special moments for future generations. We’ll also discuss a few ideas for stress management if you’re feeling the pressure of planning a family event.

Stressed about planning an upcoming family reunion?

Planning family reunions: Where to start?

When planning a family reunion, it can be challenging to know where to begin. To help you get started, focus on what you think most of your family might enjoy—perhaps a cookout, a formal dinner, a weekend of outdoor activities, or a day at the park? Consider the age groups of the individuals in the family who will be attending—including whether there are any children or older family members to consider—when planning the activities. Some people also find it helpful in the planning process to consider a potential theme for the reunion. While you can certainly host a gathering without one, a theme could help you make decisions and create a party that’s cohesive and fun. 

What you decide to do and where depends on your own style and any constraints. For some families, a simple backyard barbecue or family potluck where you swap recipe ideas and dishes can be a relaxing way to have fun and engage in spending quality time together. Others might prefer a bigger event, like a rented event space with a DJ who plays everyone’s favorite songs. You could even have a virtual family reunion if members live far apart and/or can’t easily travel. Since every group is unique, consider your family's overall personality, member ages, and availability when tossing around unique family reunion ideas. You might also consider who will be paying for the event and what the budget will be.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three ideas, you might find it beneficial to reach out to a trusted family member or two to get their opinion. Some prefer to allow all family members to vote on what the reunion will be and when, while others find that having “too many cooks” can make it even more difficult to decide. That said, if significant travel or financial contributions will be required of guests, it can be wise to agree on at least a date, budget, and basic plan with the larger group or most family members.

Ideas for family reunion games and activities

Planning a few games or activities for your family reunion can be a fun idea for breaking the ice and promoting interaction among family members. According to the Society of Behavioral Medicine, playing games as a family may also have several potential benefits, including social connection and bonding and even support for healthy child development. Adding a game or activity to your reunion may help give the event some structure and get people involved—and you might have fun creating and planning it, too. Below are a few ideas to consider.

Talent show

A talent show is one way for family members to get to know each other’s hidden talents, passions, and pastimes. To plan one for your reunion, you might encourage family members to sign up beforehand and then create a lineup. On the day of, you can clear an area to serve as a makeshift stage, like a deck in the backyard or a stretch of grass at the park. You could have the audience vote by applause for their favorite talent and the winner could receive a prize.

Yard games

If your event is outdoors or in a large indoor space, you might consider setting up some yard games or other interactive activities. This may be a particularly good idea for extended families with many children. You could set up a game of cornhole, tag, tug of war, Simon Says, a relay race, or a three-legged race, for instance, to bring people together and cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and fun. If your event is indoors, board games could be a viable option too. 

Who's who 

In this game, you have everyone in the family send you a baby picture of themselves before the event. Then, stick all the photographs to the wall or to a poster at the venue. Keep slips of paper with numbered spaces to match the number of photos nearby so each guest can write down their guesses of who is who. You might also consider having a small prize for the person who gets the most correct. 

Scavenger hunt

Creating a scavenger hunt doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may sound, since you can often find scavenger hunt templates online. You could then customize the clues using specific details about different people in your family. 

For example, one square could say “Find the couple who has been together for over 40 years” or “Find the family that has four dogs.” When a player locates the individual, couple, or family in question by asking around, they can write that name in the box and go on to the next one. The person or team who finds all the right answers in the fastest time could win a prize. 

"Getting to know you" ball game 

To learn more about your family members—particularly any you may not see often—you might also try playing the “getting to know you” ball game. Simply take an inflatable beach ball and write a question on each section with a marker. Examples of questions could include:

  • What is your favorite family memory? 
  • Do you have a hobby?
  • Where have you traveled, or where would you like to travel?
  • What’s your hidden talent?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What’s a fun fact most people here probably don’t know about you?

At the reunion, you can get all the participants to stand in a circle and throw the ball around. Each person must answer the question written on the section that their right hand touches when they catch it. This can be an easy way to increase each member of the family’s knowledge about the others. 

Family reunion gift ideas

In some cases, those planning family reunions get or make gifts for the attendees. If you’re interested in doing so, you could get a few gifts to use as prizes for games you might play or as party favors for every attendant. Here are a few ideas.

Photo mementos

You could hire a professional photographer to take pictures of you and your family at the reunion. Or, you could consider having a Polaroid camera or disposable cameras set out and encourage guests to take photos of themselves and each other throughout the event. Setting up a simple photo booth and then uploading all the pictures you take to a digital album that everyone has the link to is another idea.

A family history list or family tree

Family members who are interested in genealogy might find it enjoyable and rewarding to create a family history souvenir to give out at the event. For instance, you could draw out a family tree or compile a list of fun facts about family members and family history. You could then make and distribute copies or send a digital version to each attendant to have and enjoy.


If you have many family members who live in different cities, states, or countries, you might consider asking each of them to bring a small souvenir with them to the reunion—such as a magnet, a sweet, a postcard, or another item that represents their home. Everyone who brings one can place it in a designated area and exchange it for another person’s souvenir to take home with them as a memento. 

Personalized items 

If you want to memorialize the reunion, you could make or buy objects with your family’s name and the year on them. Some examples include:

  • Hand-painted photo frames
  • Magnets
  • Buttons
  • Hats or t-shirts
  • Pens
  • Postcards

Stressed about planning an upcoming family reunion?

Managing the stress of planning a family event

If you feel stressed about planning a reunion, seeing certain relatives, or avoiding family conflict, there are several techniques you can try to manage it and care for yourself in the process. Meditating, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, setting boundaries, and asking for help from other family members could all be helpful. 

If you’re looking for additional support, you might also benefit from speaking with a therapist. This type of professional can generally offer support related to stress management, anxiety, challenging family dynamics, and many other topics. 

If you're busy planning your reunion and don't have time to commute to in-person therapy appointments, you could look into online therapy instead. With a platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched and meet with a licensed therapist remotely from anywhere you have a reliable internet connection. Research suggests virtual therapy can typically offer similar benefits to in-person care, so you can generally feel confident in choosing whichever method you prefer.


Family reunions can be a fun and memorable way to connect with your relatives, but planning one and coming up with good family reunion ideas can be stressful. Considering a theme, deciding on a budget, picking a venue, and planning some activities or souvenirs are all tasks you might want to think about when planning a family reunion. If you’re looking for support in managing stress or navigating difficult family dynamics, you could consider connecting with a therapist. 
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