Are you planning some fun gatherings with your whole clan? That’s exciting, but how can you keep everyone entertained and happy, from great-grandpa to the youngest grandchild? Of course, you’ll plan great meals and some outings, but what can you do on long afternoons or evenings when there are family members of all ages to include?

Here are some fun ideas to keep the “children of all ages” happy. You might even want to create teams in which individuals from each generation are represented and working together to have a great time.

  1. Plan a family nature walk and scavenger hunt. Choose an area where the pathways are either paved or relatively flat for the older members of the crew. Have a list of items to give to each family team. Allow a set amount of time to wander and collect and a time when each team has to report back to the beginning site. Be sure to make some of the items you’re searching for easy to find and some more challenging. When all the teams have reported in, give out small prizes for the winners and maybe even include a booby prize for the last place. Make the event lighthearted fun, and enjoy your walk at the same time.

  2. Make rock garden mementos to take home. Find some nice, flat rocks. Wash and dry them. Then, apply one coat of decoupage glue. Decorate with stickers, leaves or flower petals; add beautiful words with a permanent marker, such as “joy,” “family,” or maybe the surname of the family members. Then, add a second coat of glue and allow your rocks to dry. Guests can take them home and place them in their own garden areas to remember their fun time with the family.

  3. Create a family bingo game from photocopied pictures of all the family members. Place pictures on pieces of cardboard in a bingo pattern of five rows with a free space in the middle. Also, create call cards to match. Use some buttons, squares of paper or other objects as markers and then begin playing. Everyone will laugh when they hear, B—Grandma Allen or G—Baby Ethan. Buy small prizes for winners.

  4. Build an outdoor fort and use it as a gathering place for meals and other fun times. This is a great activity for the children in the group. Designate blankets, tarps, rope, chairs and any other items needed to create a comfortable space in which to spend great family time.

  5. Play a Family Trivia game. Choose a family member who is rich in family lore to write lots of family questions and matching answers. Bring them along to the gathering and then split into two teams. The creator of the game can be the game host, and the team with the most correct answers wins. Plan on plenty of laughter when you ask a question like, “How many hot dogs did Uncle Bernie eat at the last 4th of July barbecue?” or “Which family ancestor came out west on a covered wagon?”

  6. Do a Frame It Craft with all sorts of found items. If you’re near a beach, gather shells, bits of driftwood and beach glass. If you’re near a forest, pick up beautiful leaves and twigs. Whatever you find, manipulate the pieces into a larger shape, such as a fish or the family surname initial. Paint a piece of cardboard with glue and secure the items, then place them in a standard picture frame to take home and admire. An 8” X 10” frame works well for this project, and younger kids can team up with an older member of the family.

  7. Find a driveway, or other paved area in which to conduct your Family Chalk Art Gallery. Select smaller teams of three or four and then allow a set amount of time in which to create a team masterpiece. You might provide a theme for the event, such as “the things we love” or “our favorite pastimes.” Have a family member act as judge and award small prizes, with every team winning some award such as “best in show” or “most creative.”

  8. Bring along supplies to help every family member create their own rhythm or musical instrument. You’ll find lots of ideas at Activity Village. All you need is some sort of container and something inside to make a noise. Spend the afternoon creating the instruments and then allow practice time. Enjoy a concert at evening time. Maybe you’ll want to schedule the concert outdoors in the family fort. You might want to play some background music or encourage presenters to sing a song while they use their drums, shakers and kazoos.

  9. Do some sort of craft such as making paper flowers, creating a greeting card or designing some sort of paperweight. Make the craft with others in mind. Then, deliver your gifts to a local nursing home or an assisted living facility. Give the family the pleasure of giving to others.

  10. Plan an evening Star Watch. Gather some books on the constellations and stars. Take some time to share information, and then when it’s nice and dark outside, take the whole clan out to star watch. If someone owns a telescope, all the better. Identify constellations and note how they move over time. This “happening” will be one to remember. 

One of the best gifts you can give your family is the memories you’ll create when you have fun together. Grandparents and grandkids and everyone in between will have a time to remember. Enjoy.