Empty Handed

Updated on June 18, 2010
S.. asks from Orlando, FL
15 answers

I'm headed to a family reunion this weekend. It's a BBQ and the hosting family are awesome cooks and will be taking care of all of the food and said not to bring anything. Instead of arriving completely empty handed, I'd like to give all of the kids something. I don't know my cousins' kids so I don't know all of their interests, so I need generic ideas. I don't want to bring something like bubbles or anything that looks like cheap dollar store stuff since the host family is spending a ton on the BBQ and another family is flying in from across the country. Quick!! I need ideas!! The age range is 4 through 11 with 4 boys and 2 young girls

*** Update***
Thanks for all of the quick and great ideas! I went to Walmart and bought a beach tote and bought a handful of foam water squirters and a few bubble wands and a set of water balls they can use in the pool. I think my cousin invited some friends, too, so I'm not sure if there will be extra kids. So instead of buying one beach tote full of little toys for each of my cousins' families, I didn't want anyone left out so I just bought a bunch of toys to be shared with all of the kids who are there at the party

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of your input. Sorry if I was unclear -- someone said to rent a bouncehouse or water slide-- I am not providing the entertainment at someone else's home. I wanted to bring gifts for the kids. The gifts I ended up getting can be used at the party if they want or they can just take them home.

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answers from Medford on

I would bring outside toys for all the kids. Walmart has a great selection of water toys, slip-n-slides, water balloons, bubbles, frisbies, kites, super-soakers, etc. You could get a large beach tote for each family group and fill it with all sorts of toys for the backyard/park and include a slip-in-side for each family (something the older kids would like as well). You could include some dollar store items to fill it out without looking "cheap". Good luck and have fun!!!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Maybe bring t-shirts and paints and let all the kids make a family reunion shirt to take home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I was going to suggest a water slide thing that you can buy from Wal-Mart.....the one where you hook up the hose and they run and slide on their tummies! Kids love it, and it's easy to put up and take down.......of course they would need suits for that......

Squirt or nerf guns are good as well.......Or marshmellow guns.....with marshmellows........kids love those. .....balls of any kind.........T-Shirts are good if you know about what size they wear.

I'm sure whatever you choose, the kids will think you are the greatest and if it keeps the kids occupied for a bit, so will the parents!

Happy hunting and have a great time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Squirt guns or nerf balls- something the kids can all play with outside would be my suggestion. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

We had a huge family reunion last year. The ages ranged from 80 to newborns.
They had bean bag toss, badminton, yes...bubbles for the little ones.
Are you thinking of "gifts" or things to keep the kids occupied?
Bug catchers, blow up beach balls, those little velcro toss games, whiffle ball.....
The kids didn't use half of the stuff that was brought for them to play with, they were just having fun running around and eating.
I think it's a wonderful gesture to bring things for the kids and even if they don't play with them at the BBQ, they can take them home.

I hope you get some great ideas.
Have a blast!


answers from Norfolk on

Bubbles sounds good. If you are going to be there long enough for it to get dark, all the kids (and adults) will love glow sticks/bracelets. Our local Target in their 1$ section at the front of the store has a package of 15 glow bracelets. For $10 you'd have 150 glow bracelets and that should be plenty for everyone.


answers from Dallas on

Best gift you can give the parents is time to enjoy talking to each other without kid interuptions. So, all these ideas for stuff to keep the kids busy outside are perfect. For my bbq last weekend, we broke out the water sprinkler, water guns, water balloons, and kiddie pools. Everybody had a great time and we got a lot of fun pictures out of it.



answers from Tampa on

What about renting a bounce house or water slide? www.herecomesfun.com/pcf



answers from Denver on

Given your edit...my response doesn't apply :) have fun at the reunion!



answers from Cincinnati on

Ask the hosts of the BBQ if you could help bring entertainment. A kiddie pool and some beach balls or an inexpensive racquetball set could be fun for the whole family and easy to set up and tear down. But ask first, in case they already have entertainment planned.



answers from St. Louis on

Along w/ water toys (as suggested below)and all the other fun outdoor toys suggested, if the BBQ will go on into the evening then sparklers, glowsticks and glow necklaces would be fun. Kids (ok, I confess, and me :)) love things that glow.

Also a croquet set is always fun for all ages (as are horseshoes)...I loved playing that at family BBQs when I was a kid. :)


answers from Richmond on

Why not plan a savenger hunt for goodies? Kind of like an easter egg hunt only... not. This way, the kids are all playing together and they're kept busy while the grown ups catch up. You can come up with a list of clues, and hide stuff like candy, cash, $5 gift cards, gum, and yeah, dollar store stuff too (you think a 4 year old doesn't like dollar store bubbles?!) If the older kids find the stuff more appropriate for the younger kids, they can swap. Have a great time!



answers from Chicago on

bubbles are a pain in the butt at our house. Don't get me wrong the kids do get them but then they want to blow them all around the food. sigh...... I would suggest a couple boxes of popcicles and maybe some sidewalk chalk, coloring books, markers that kind of thing is good to keep kids entertained.



answers from Salinas on

I have a 7 yr. old and 11 yr. old and for easter we did a treasure hunt with a bunch of Spring/summer stuff. Yes, there were the bubbles but also water toys, balls, sports stuff, frisbees etc. They are still playing with it months later. They have those sports sets at Target with badmitten, volleyball etc. The adults would enjoy too. I would say anything that you can play with outside in groups is the way to go. Also, I never come to an event like this empty handed and just because they said don't bring anything I doubt they would be upset that you thought of the kids. I would hope that during a weekend family reunion BBQ the little ones would get a little "dirty/messy/wet and muddy" anyway! Have fun!



answers from Washington DC on

Just get each of them a $30 gift card to Wal-mart or something if you feel like you HAVE to bring something.

Also, some bubble things aren't cheap dollarstore items. Target and walmart both carry the big bubble items like the wands and containers you use to make really BIG bubbles.

Or maybe you could bring jump-ropes for the kids or something.

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