A school family fun night helps forge school-family connections while bringing families together. It offers an opportunity for parents to connect and to have conversations that might not have been urgent enough to merit a phone call. Though fun is certainly a goal, some of the best family fun nights incorporate learning elements that tie into the curriculum.
Parents and schools recognize the need to make children’s physical health a priority, and a family fun night can bring this issue into the spotlight. A fitness coach could teach families simple exercises they can do at home. The school nurse may be willing to measure body mass index or take blood pressure readings. Organizers could also incorporate activities like jump rope or balloon volleyball, serve healthy snacks and offer ideas to help children make healthy food choices as well as suggestions for adding more physical activity to their day.
Holidays Around the World
Celebrate the diversity in your community and help kids gain a more global view by learning about cultures around the world. A fun night with an international flair offers a natural way to encourage participation from parents of all backgrounds. Families or community groups could work together to create a variety of booths to visit, each with pictures, artifacts and snacks from a specific country. Participants could get their travel passport stamped as they visit each “country.”
Families can simply play board games and card games that depend on math. Or organizers can set up stations where families can solve math problems and puzzles together. These can range from estimation activities to logic questions. Offer a puzzle with triangles that fit together just one way to create a large square. Have supplies for making pattern necklaces, including string and colored O-shaped cereal or pasta.
Celebrate the printed word with several activities that promote reading. Set up reading corners, create a stage where children can read some of their own writing aloud and offer bookmark-making supplies. Include a book swap, which can promote reading while helping families save money. Set up a simple check-in system where people get a ticket for each book they bring, and then use the tickets to get items they would like to take home.
Combine fun and educational events that raise environmental awareness for a green family fun night. Activities may range from a game that promotes recycling to an outdoor tree-climbing station (with appropriate supervision, of course). Since green living involves reusing, even a yard sale could be incorporated into this event.
Ann Wolters has been a writer, consultant and writing coach since 2008. Her work has appeared in "The Saint Paul Almanac" and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a Master of Arts in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota.