Since I got married at 19, I feel like I missed out on a lot of time with my family. It makes me especially sad that my younger sister, born 11 years after me, and I aren’t closer. Our 11-year age difference prevented us from staying up late at night talking and bonding like Meg and Jo in Little Women. Because I missed out on this family time, I’ve had to be very deliberate in developing relationships with my siblings over the years. I’m okay with some and better with others. Often, I wish I could turn back time and grow up with them again.
Those who know me well, know that I try to make family relationships a priority. In an effort to keep in touch with everyone, I started our Dunford Family Newsletter 20 years ago. A few of us have taken turns being “the editor” over the years, but I’ve always tried to make sure it goes out every month.
Along with our family newsletter, I put a high priority on Family Reunions. Last year, I was in charge of our Dunford Family Reunion. However, when COVID-19 hit, plans changed, and we rescheduled for this year. Unfortunately, starting a demanding new job prevented me from being in charge again, so I volunteered to organize an evening of Minute to Win It games, instead.
For those who don’t know what Minute to Win It games are, these games gained popularity after NBC launched their Minute to Win It game show in 2010. On the show, contestants had 60 seconds to complete various challenges to win prize money. These challenges involved common objects found around the house, so it made sense that viewers would take up these challenges on their own after watching the show.
Seven years ago, we had a family reunion and challenged everyone to our own Minute to Win It games. Since they were so much fun, we decided to bring them back for our post-COVID reunion in June. For those of you planning your own reunions this summer or any time coming up, here is how it’s done:
- Try and select 8-10 challenges that all different ages can participate in. The ones we chose can be found here.
- Select one person to be the “timer” and make sure each challenge is 60 second long.
- Prior to the activity starting, I organize each challenge on the counter with the supplies each one will need. Keep in mind that some challenges use the same supplies so there will be a bit of overlap. Having each challenge organized keeps the energy between challenges because there is little down time.
- Pick teams to compete against each other or choose various age ranges to compete individually. I usually ask for volunteers for each challenge but only give them a hint before telling them what the challenge is. This makes it fun and mysterious.
- During each challenge, encourage everyone to cheer the competitors on.
- Once each challenge is over, thank the competitors and declare someone the champion for each challenge.
- Once the entire Minute to Win It games are over, you can give out prizes if want to.
This year, our games were different from ones we’ve done in the past. The kids and adults all had a great time and most everyone participated—which is another reason why this is a great activity. Overall, these games were a fun addition to the reunion and they created some happy memories. Although these games are fun for reunions, I’ve also organized them for birthday parties and get togethers with friends. Go ahead and check out the games and make up your own!
Although I can’t be with my family all of the time, reunions are a way for us to reconnect and remember the importance of family in our lives. I’ve always believed that the family that plays together, stays together.