Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frugal Friday: Fun Family Reunion Ideas

This year we were in charge of putting together a family reunion for Brandon's family. We decided to do a potato theme because the reunion was held at a big farm where his Grandparents live. I had a lot of fun coming up with activities to do with the family. Today I'll share four of my favorite activities that we did for the family reunion that you can adapt in your own family. These were all inexpensive, easy to prepare, and a lot of fun.

Mr. Potato Head Craft

Everyone had a blast making these Mr. and Mrs. Potato heads out of real potatoes. The activity is really simple to put together and everyone really enjoyed it. All you need is:

Potatoes - Yep. Real ones. All sizes and shapes. In fact, the stranger shapes the better!
Elmer's Glue (or you could use hot-glue if you're not worried about someone burning themselves like I was...)
Googly eyes
Pipe cleaners (for arms and legs, mouths, hair or eyebrows)
Pom-poms (for hair, mustaches, eyebrows, etc) - you can cut them in half for fuzzy hair or keep them whole...
Paint - all different colors. Glitter glue was fun...
Optional: spangles, beads, bits of cloth or felt for clothes, hats, etc...whatever you have on hand!

Set the items out on newspaper-covered tables and let them go to town...

Everyone used their creativity to come up with some amazing potatoes. We had squid potatoes and spider potatoes and silly potatoes and movie star potatoes. This would be perfect to do for a Toy Story birthday party or any activity with kids. It's as much fun as carving pumpkins (without having to wait for Halloween). I was surprised how much even the adults enjoyed using their creativity in this project. 

We judged all the potatoes and had a little certificate for each person that participated. We had awards for the silliest, cutest, prettiest, most colorful, most lovable, etc., etc., etc. Everyone got recognized in some way and it was a great time.


Potato War

This was a really fun activity that can involve everyone. We've done it at another family reunion where they called it "snowball fight" - you can adapt the name to your own family reunion theme. All you need for this activity is:

Some old nylons or pantyhose
Buckets to hold the "potatoes"

Before the activity, you take some old pantyhose and stuff the bottom with a handful of some type of soft stuffing. The more you stuff, the bigger the "potato". Then tie a knot in the pantyhose just above where the stuffing is, to make it fairly tight. Tight another knot about 1/2" above that knot leaving room to cut in between afterwards. Repeat this process on each side of the pantyhose until you run out of room, ending with a single knot at the top of the pantyhose. Then cut in between all the knots and you are left with your soft "potatoes". 

For the activity, divide the group into teams and give each one a bucket full of potatoes. On the count of three have them start throwing them at the other teams. It's a blast. If someone's not participating, just throw a soft potato at them and just see if they won't throw one back! Even the grandparents got into this game.


Hot Potato Dress Up

Another fun activity that we did was a game called hot potato dress up. This is a variation of the well-known and well-loved game "hot potato."

Before the activity, gather up goofy dress up clothes and put them in a bag: fluffy bunny slippers, gaudy jewelry, a tutu, high heels, fireman hats, sunglasses, anything that you have on hand.

Everyone but one person stands in a circle. The person outside the circle is in charge of turning the music on and off with his/her back turned away from the circle. The people in the circle can either pass the bag of dress ups around or we just had them pass one of the soft potatoes that I made for the potato war. When the music is turned off, the person with the potato (or bag of dress-ups) gets to put on one of the dress ups in the bag. You can put each item in a smaller bag to keep them from feeling what they are if you want. Or have the person in charge of the music just hand each person a dress-up. Restart the music and replay. Everyone continues to play even when they've already had a chance to dress-up. It's really funny as they keep getting more and more things to put on. When all the items in the bag are gone, take a picture and/or vote for the best dressed Mr./Mrs. Potato head. It's a lot of fun!


Sweep Potato Relay
Printable Instructions

This is a fun relay race that everyone enjoyed. You will need:

2 brooms
2 soft potatoes (we used the same potatoes we made for the potato war)
2 buckets
Tape or a rope

You divide the group into two even teams. Give each team a broom and a soft potato and mark somehow the starting and ending lines for the relay. Place the buckets on the opposite side of the area you are playing past the ending lines a little ways. When someone says "go" a person from each team sweeps the potato with the broom down the relay path to the ending line and stands behind the line to throw the potato in the bucket. They keep throwing until they make it in and then run back to the line. This repeats until all the people on the team gets through the line. Whoever finishes first wins!


Family reunions are fun. The best part is just spending time with each other, but it sure does make a difference having some fun activities to do while you're there. Hopefully these will give you some good ideas that you can use for your family reunion, birthday party, or other activity. These activities are not only fun, but inexpensive and easy to prepare.

Hope you're having a wonderful summer!

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