We love a classic family cookout as much as the next gal. But if we’re being honest here, your folks have been grilling up the same tired hams and hots at the annual barbecue since the Nixon administration. For a truly epic reunion, consider these 15 family-friendly add-ons and alternatives.
Related: The Ultimate Summer Grilling Guide
Throw a dance party.
Fact: Everyone loves dancing with abandon, and there’s no need to wait until the next family wedding to do so. Book a DJ for a family hoedown or '80s revival night.
Print a family cookbook.
Task everyone with bringing a favorite recipe and have them bound into a book to take home. (Long live Nana’s red bliss potato salad.)
Craft a DIY photo booth.
No need to rent; just get creative. Hang some frames from a tree and keep a fun prop bin on hand. Then set up a phone on a tripod and snap away.
Make an all-inclusive monogram gift.
Embroider a family inside joke or favorite phrase on espadrilles, hoodies or towels.
Organize a badminton or croquet tournament.
Try a low-impact and non-crazy-competitive summer sport (no fights, thank you very much) that suits all ages.
Throw an outdoor movie night.
Rent a projector and bring blankets, pillows and snacks to the lawn for a mock drive in.
Hand out family photo books.
Collect photos from Facebook (and ask the less than tech-savvy to send in), then have them bound in a beautiful book and make copies for everyone.
Hold a talent show.
Who better to judge your tap-dancing skills than your own kin?
Print tote bags embossed with your family tree.
A decidedly useful, interesting and non-hideous freebie.
Pick a theme for your meal.
Choose a country (Greece!) or theme (Roaring '20s), then dress up for and cater the menu accordingly.
Try an ancestor trivia night.
Do a deep dive through the family records and poll everyone for fun facts to be quizzed on.
Light a bonfire.
Whether out in nature or right there in your own backyard, this is a surefire hit.
Encourage family members to bring belongings they no longer want (clothes, furniture etc.) and do a family-style round robin. You just might end up with Aunt Cindy’s beloved tea towels…