NEWTON COUNTY — What do you get when you mix kids, parents and games? An evening of family fun that helps families spend quality time together. In early March, many families with kindergarten children participated in Kindergarten Family Fun Night (KFFN) programs; a collaboration of Purdue Extension, Step Ahead, Brook Library, Newton County Public Libraries and local elementary schools.

Families were encouraged to mark their calendars at least one night each week for some family fun. Families rotated through three stations where they had fun playing homemade games, board games and card games, and got some physical activity with some dancing.

Games are a great way to help your children learn from you and each other. Games can also be a great learning tool, teaching important life skills such as:

  • Cooperation & Teamwork – taking turns and working with others
  • Responsibility – playing by the rules, taking care of materials and putting the game away for the next time
  • Perseverance & Patience – waiting for that “special card” or throw of dice, sticking it out to the end and the importance of trying again
  • Honesty – playing fair
  • Understanding & Acceptance of Winning and Losing – know that we can try to win, but sometimes we lose, and being able to cope with wins and losses graciously

Games can also teach specific skills such as math skills, counting, totaling, money skills, vocabulary and spelling skills, strategizing, memory, deductive reasoning, eye hand coordination, perception and concentration. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive games; several different games can be played with a simple deck of cards.

Kindergarten Family Fun Night programs have been around since the 1990s and continue to be offered at each of the local elementary schools twice each year. The program is led by Purdue Extension in collaboration with the local schools, libraries and Step Ahead. A Step Ahead grant from the trustees in Jefferson, McClellan, Lake, Lincoln, Iroquois, Beaver, Washington and Jackson townships make the program possible.

If you would like more information about KFFN programs, contact Deb Arseneau, HHS Educator at arseneau@purdue.edu. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Captions for photos:

Make your own indoor shuffleboard game with painters/masking tape and milk jug lids.

Try some indoor golf using empty (clean) food containers, a ping pong ball and a roll of wrapping paper, whiffle ball bat or yardstick as the club.

A laundry detergent cup, some string and a large bead or button can be used to make the Hole in One game. This one may take some patience for younger children, but is a great hand-eye coordination game.

Make your own Catch and Toss using a ball made out of newspaper and duct tape and a milk jug.

Indoor bowling is super easy with some empty water bottles and a small ball.

Do you have room for indoor Badminton? Tape a painter’s stir stick or a ruler onto a paper plate, blow up a balloon for hours of fun!