Kids Interactive by Heather Down

Family reunions are a wonderful opportunity for children who don’t see each other often to reacquaint themselves with close and distant cousins. Having a house full of children can be exciting and a little intimidating too. Young people may be hesitant to interact or may interact explosively. Finding things to entertain and bring children closer in a fun and memorable way may sometimes be difficult. Having ideas other than the usual videos and computer games can end frustration and make you a hero. Here are a few that work:

Drive kids up a wall – literally! One of the best places I ever took a group of kids was a climbing gym. Simulating a rock climbing experience, kids can scale new heights in a safe environment. While one child climbs the wall in the safety of a harness, the other has to belay. Team work and co-operation are imperative. Interaction and communication are a must. It builds confidence and brings any group together, regardless of age. These gyms are in most major cities. A day pass, which usually includes an introductory lesson, is much cheaper than a day at a theme park.

Make your kids disappear. Some of my fondest memories are from an ordinary Saturday night that turned out to be magical. We were at the cottage and my husband suggested that each of the six kids in our group practice performing a trick or illusion. Some wanted to do more than one trick and others joined together for group efforts. After several hours of preparation, one lucky child was chosen as MC and a magic show was performed. This is a perfect reunion activity because it requires a lot of interaction among the children. Parents and grandparents get the added bonus of being dazzled by a terrific show. Have a few how-to magic books from your library, cards, coins, ropes and silk hankies handy for the occasion.

Make ’em board. Have you heard, “I’m bored,” more often than you care to remember? Children play a lot of interactive games with entertainment sets and computers, but the art of playing games with others is being lost. Kids love contact with others and thrive on the fun and laughter that come from certain games. Besides the traditional faves such as Sorry, Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders, try some truly lively, animated and sometimes loud games. My favorites are good for a group of mixed ages; Twister, Headbanz, Guesstures and Outburst. These games are available at most department and toy stores and cost less than taking your family to the movies.

If you’re feeling a little nervous about entertaining children at your next reunion, relax. Armed with a few good ideas and a couple of resources, you can make this reunion the most memorable for generations to come!

About the Author
Heather Down is a freelance writer and elementary school teacher in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She has authored three gift books and really enjoys reunions.