The afternoon went off with flying colors

While the women were comparing recipes, cleaning up and starting their good-byes, I organized a paper airplane contest. Everyone made a paper airplane with recycled computer paper or helped a young relative make one. Each contestant got three throws. Awards (paper ribbons) were handed out for all manner of reasons … to the oldest contestant, the contestant from the farthest away and so forth and to the plane that flew the farthest. Everyone was responsible for flying his or her airplane to the trash or their car when they left.
The hall was clean. I’d spent no money and the kids had such fun that they’re already looking forward to the next reunion.

Sailor hats

  1. Begin with two sheets of newsprint (or newspaper). Fold in half “hamburger” style. (Kids will understand the teacher talk.)
  2. Find and mark the center of the folded side.
  3. Bring the outside corners of the folded side down until they meet in the middle. The resulting figure will look like a flat house with a triangular roof.
  4. Fold the two bottom rectangles up and over the edges of the triangle. (The hat you’ve made will look a little like a sailboat.)
  5. Tape or staple the “center of the sail” and the “ends of the boat.”

Family Member Finder (made like Cootie Catchers of yore)

  1. Begin with a square piece of computer paper.
  2. Fold diagonally from corner to corner to make and “x” in the middle.
  3. Open the paper up, then fold each corner to the center line.
  4. Turn the whole shape over so open ends are down on the table.
  5. Fold each corner into the center one more time.
  6. Carefully lift the Family Finder and insert fingers in the four “pockets” you’ve made. Practice opening and closing the puppets mouth, from top to bottom and from side to side.
  7. Write “We’re related” on the inside of one of the “mouths.” As an alternative, children can draw little dots and say, “Oh look, you’ve got the (family name) genes.”

About the author
Ellen Javernick is a first-grade teacher and author of children’s books. She lives in Loveland, Colorado. All five of her children enjoy getting together with their extended families at family reunions.grams to accommodate guest children. If it will help your members, choose a facility with a child-care program and make the information available to members.