Family Reunions: Games for “Breaking the Ice”

Kiersten Blanchard found some games which are sure to “break the ice” and get everyone having fun.

Reunion Bingo

Blank bingo cards


Slips of paper

Bowl to hold name slips

M&Ms (or other small candy) to mark of the names as they are read

Create bingo cards with squares containing possible characteristics of people in your extended family. Each characteristic may be a unique fact, an unusual activity of which the person has been a part or a physical descriptor. Examples include: sings in the shower, served in the armed forces, has a tattoo, left-handed.
Participants write their names on a slip of paper when they pick up a blank Bingo card. When you start the timer family members have to go around finding the person with each trait to sign their bingo cards on the correct trait square. At the end of the time, names can be drawn from the slips of participants, and the goal is to get five in a row in any direction.




Numbered cards for each participant (to document their guess)

Box of Whoppers for the winner

In groups of 10, each member writes three alleged facts about themselves – two true but hard to believe and one false but believable. Others in the group try to identify “Whoppers” as the lists are read. Points are awarded for people fooled, or for every whopper correctly guessed. Game presents fun conversation starters for remainder of the reunion.

Family Line Up

Emcee with list of distinguishing characteristics

Divide the participants into groups of 8 or more. The goal of each team is to get lined up according to a single distinguishing characteristic that’s called out by an emcee: birth order, height, distance traveled to the reunion.

For kids:

White Elephant Souvenir Swap

Need: Each participant needs a wrapped white elephant souvenir representing home town

Game is played like any white elephant swap. The first participant chooses a wrapped souvenir and unwraps it. The next participant may choose to “steal” the first or unwrap a new one. Any time a souvenir is “stolen” the past owner chooses another gift to unwrap.

Cousin Name Game

There are websites online which allow you to make a customized wordsearch. One such website is:

Pre-made wordsearch puzzle with the names of each cousin hidden


This is a great sit-down game. The kids at the reunion each receive a crossword puzzle and a pen. The object is to find all of the hidden names in the puzzle…and to get more familiar with their cousin’s names.

Family Tree Three Legged Race

Small sections of binding material

A small bowls with two sets of numbers 1-10
Participating children choose a number out of the bowl. Then, they find the person with the corresponding number. They introduce themselves, tie two of their legs together and race to the finish line.

Be sure there are prizes for each children’s game!

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