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For most of us, family reunions are done annually. However, there are times when other family members live far away from each other, making it difficult to meet and be physically present during the planned reunion. While some of our grandmas and grandpas are not that fit to travel anymore, as well as when social distancing became our new normal, it’s time to meet in the middle by bringing our family reunion in the virtual world. Aside from it being cost-efficient and convenient for everyone, there’s a higher chance everyone can attend the said reunion.
Table of Contents
- How Can Virtual Family Reunions be Possible?
- Games and Activities for Your Virtual Family Reunion
How Can Virtual Family Reunions be Possible?
If you think that each family must have the usual vlogging equipment, such as camera, lights, mic, and the likes, you’re wrong! As long as you have a reliable internet connection, a smartphone, or any device that can make do for your video conference with the whole family, you’re good to go.
Here are some platforms the family can choose from when conducting the virtual family reunion:
Way before Facebook Messenger became a thing, we already had Skype. It’s one of the OG instant messaging apps on the web. For easier use, the host should add the family members as their contacts, and create a group chat to start the video conference.
Zoom is an application you can download on your smartphones, tablets, and even on your computers. It is the on-demand video conferencing application in town, as it is convenient and easy to use. A free account can allow up to 40 minutes of video conferencing with 100 members who can join.
If you guys want to buy more time, as reunions may take more than 40 minutes, we have a trick for you. You, as the host of the Zoom meeting, should schedule the meeting on Zoom ahead of time. It’s best if you schedule it at least a week prior to your virtual celebration. Also, make sure to tick the “Set Calendar to Others” option, and choose the “Generate Automatically” option for the Meeting ID tab. Get the Meeting ID, password, and link, and send it to your family members for easy reference.
Now here’s the critical part. When the 40-minute mark is coming, the host will receive a timer for it. You need to leave the meeting, not ending the meeting for all, and rejoin again using the same link in the invite. Several participants should do it, too, in order for you guys to have more free passes. It’s not an easy hack to pull, but it will be worth it.
Unlike Zoom, Google Meet has unlimited video conferencing time. You just have to download the app on your smartphone, or have the Chrome extension for it, and you’re good to go.
This app can be used if you’re all iOS users. It’s perfect for video conferencing, as it’s already downloaded upon purchasing your phone or tablet, not making it difficult for our elderly family members to navigate their way to our virtual family reunion.
This can be the most accessible and convenient for everyone as you guys communicate more often thru Messenger. All you have to do is to create a group chat or Messenger room, and you can conference with 50 of your family members all over the world.
Houseparty is a free app game available for all, whether you’re using Android, iOS, or Chrome. You can do your video calls here while playing and having fun! Virtual games, such as Pictionary, Heads Up, and Quick Draw, are incorporated in this app, and can be played easily.
Games and Activities for Your Virtual Family Reunion
Of course, let’s not skip one of the most-awaited parts in this virtual family reunion—the games! Let everyone laugh their hearts out all throughout your virtual family reunion with these fun games that can be played online.
Go on a trip down memory lane! Have everyone send their most unrecognizable baby pictures to the gamemaster or organizer at least two days before the program proper. The gamemaster will collate them, and have players guess who owns that baby picture. Will you be able to guess them all?
Charades is a classic game you can easily play virtually! Divide the families into groups, and have them turn on their video feed for the whole duration of the game. The “it” will be put into the spotlight, and will act out the designated word or phrase the team should guess. The team with the highest points at a particular time wins!
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
The ultimate goal in this family reunion is to have fun, right? Bring the joy virtually by organizing a virtual scavenger hunt suitable for all ages! The gamemaster’s task is to identify or list as many objects the players can find within a short time. This can be played individually or by groups.
To play this in a virtual setting, have each team consist of family members from different households. Let them choose a player who will whisper the word, and the team must guess it correctly.
The twist of this game is that the “it” will put their mic on mute to achieve the whispering effect. Remember that the words or phrases should be different for each team. The words can be categorized as anything under the sun, depending on the gamemaster. Examples of which are countries, cities, kitchenware, food, and so much more.
Where’s Waldo can either be fun and frustrating to play, which is why it’s one of the perfect games to play on a virtual family reunion.
The organizer may send the image in the group chat, and the first one to look for the correct Waldo wins. Here are some examples of Where’s Waldo guessing pictures. Good luck with finding Waldo!
Impersonate Me is kind of like Charades, in a sense that you have to act it out, and players have to guess correctly. This can either be played in teams or individually, with someone (a gamemaster or another player) mimicking or impersonating a family member. For example, you may mimic Grandpa’s way of telling his iconic lines, or your favorite uncle’s habits.
If you’re familiar with the board game Encore, you can also play it virtually! Gather the family, and divide them into several teams. It’s better if you can have groups of four to six. The more teams, the merrier!
The game master will give the word to the first team, and they should sing a song with that particular word in the lyrics. Other teams can jump in and sing a new song, but it must have a common word with the previous song. This goes on and on, earning the team points until the timer goes off. The points should equal the number of songs they have connected successfully.
The Generation Game
Yup, this game is named after a British TV game! Haha! The Generation Game is a test of your photographic memory skills. Two teams will compete on who’s the brainiest of them all. Each team will have to choose 15 to 20 objects in their home, and lay them in the order they want. The other team should recall everything to win points, and have one minute to memorize all of the objects.
Test everyone’s creativity and critical thinking skills! You can use Pictionary sites, such as Skribbl.io and Drawsaurus. Choose a team to play first, and its designated drawer. They have one minute to draw the word, and if the team guessed it correctly, they earn a point.
Minute to Win It
Having some challenges like these can strengthen your family ties amidst the distance! This is also perfect if you tap a person from each family to prepare the materials needed ahead of time. If you’re familiar with the game show game show Minute to Win It, you should know the mechanics upon reading the game title.
Check this awesome compilation of Minute to Win It challenges here.
This one’s a classic! For sure, this family game has passed from generation to generation. It’s a word guessing game played virtually. Just make sure to guess the word right before you lose all of your lives!
You can download this app on your smartphones, and let the games begin! It’s like charades where the player holding the smartphone will guess the word by asking questions to the team, which they can only answer “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.” You can also choose the theme of your choice for this game using the app.
This game is perfect when you have kids around to participate in the virtual games on your family reunion. This game will make your kids move, and have fun throughout. Also, it’s a perfect icebreaker to keep the hype and excitement rolling.
Bingo is also a classic game everyone loves! Have everyone have their bingo cards, and the gamemaster will call out the random numbers with corresponding letters of BINGO. You can generate your bingo cards through MyFreeBingoCards.
Alternatively, you can play Bingo Blitz and similar Bingo games on Facebook, and create a room for the whole family. The first three to five winners to complete a particular pattern wins! Don’t forget to prepare small tokens or prizes, such as gift cards or cheques, and the likes.
Be creative, and have fun by bringing Family Feud in the virtual family reunion! As we all know, Family Feud is a classic American game where two families compete to bring home the bacon. For more details on how you can achieve this virtual family game, check this out.
If your family loves card games, then you can play UNO by downloading an app or straight from your messenger accounts! All you have to do is to assign one player to create a room from the UNO room feature, and give access to all the players. From there, you can play your favorite card game, easy as 1-2-3.
I Spy is a classic game that you can easily play in the virtual world. The Spy starts the game by saying “I spy with my little eye something that…” and give them a descriptive clue.
The players can ask questions, and the spy can only answer with a “yes” or a “no.” Then if the player is now confident that he thinks his guess is correct, s/he may ask, “Is it this toy car?” If s/he guessed it correctly, s/he will now be the spy.
If you’re familiar with the Werewolf card game, MAFIA is similar to that. The goal of this game is for the mafia to kill everyone, and vice versa. There will be a gamemaster, a mafia, a doctor, a sheriff, and civilians.
The group has to identify and vote who among them is the mafia. Those voted off and killed have to turn off their video feed to signify they’re out of the game. This will continue until the group unmasks the mafia or everyone is killed.
Psych! is a party game, developed by the same developers of Heads Up. It’s kind of a trivia game, but you need to stray away from the fake choices or else you’ll be Psyched!
There are a lot of categories to choose from, and they also have a deck called “And The Truth Comes Out” wherein you guys will be answering personal questions about one another. It’s one of those good getting-to-know-you games, perfect for a virtual family reunion.
Despite any obstacles that may hinder your family reunion to take place, you may always consider alternatives, such as bringing the celebration in the virtual world. It’s more inexpensive and, at the same time, it allows everyone to join the fun, may they be a thousand miles away.
You can do so much in your virtual family reunion, such as bringing the classic games online. These will surely leave a smile on everyone’s faces at the end of the reunion. The preparation may need some time and effort for it to be a successful event. But, with cooperation and teamwork, all will be worth it, especially when everyone gets to know distant family members and takes some time off to destress with the family.
The distance does not equate to games being less exciting. Also, the distance will not hinder us from meeting everyone virtually. With the changing situation around the world, let’s not resort to canceling our annual family reunion just because we can’t all be physically together.