Tuesday, April 19, 2016
P is for Photo Play
Take individual Photos of younger children with their mom and/or dad. Have these photos printed and available at the beginning of the reunion. Write their names on the photo and punch a hole in the top, stringing a piece of yarn through the hole. Tie the yarn and hang the photo around the child’s neck. When a child is upset and the parents need to be found quickly, the photo helps to identify “who belongs to whom.” The photo is a helpful tool (and a great memento) especially at a large reunion with many children in attendance.
My niece had this great idea at a reunion I attended a few years ago. It’s unrealistic to think that everyone will remember all the names and faces of every family member in attendance, particularly if your extended family is large. People have likely traveled long distances just to get to the reunion, and may not have seen each other in years. Christmas card photos once a year will not have everyone remembering each other, especially as kids and even adults, grow fast and change quickly.
The kids too will proudly wear their photo/nametags and you will find it helpful if a child should come running up to you for any perceived emergency, from skinning a knee to not remembering where the bathroom is to needing some water. You will readily learn their name, and if they are just plain scared or upset for some reason, you will know whom to ask for should they really need their parent to attend to them.
The teens and adults may want to get in on a version of the photo identifiers too. Ask family members to bring their baby photos. Have a large easel pad of paper set up and tape the photos to the paper with numbers for each one. A ballot box should be on a table next to it with premade ballots for filling in the names of who belongs to each baby picture. You can have a prize for whoever gets the most correct. Good quality photo frames would make a nice prize.
Yet another variation is to have the older folks bring photos of when they were teenagers. Have the same sort of game with a prize for the winner, perhaps a photo album. Everyone will enjoy the memories that are sparked by the dress and hairdos of earlier years. It will also provide an opportunity for stories to be shared with young and old alike. Stories of your family are important, not just to share history, but to build that sense of belonging. Telling your story has also been shown to be healing, so a reunion where people tell their stories is not just fun, it’s therapeutic as well!
Brainstorm with your reunion planners other interesting games with your own personal family twist to them utilizing photos and other memorabilia. An active reunion builds memories.
Share your best ideas here for all my readers to enjoy!