ROCKINGHAM — With summer comes the endless need to entertain children who are out of school, which can put financial pressure on parents.
Teraefean Goodwin, coordinator of HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency Service, wanted to show residents that they could have fun with their family without spending too much money. Inspired by HUD combining its Mother’s and Father’s Day events — and NBC’s “Minute to Win It” game show — she decided to hold a Family Fun Day on Thursday that would have low-budget games that families could play together.
The games used household items like plastic cups and tissue boxes, pingpong balls, paper ribbon, balloons and playing cards and made them into games like “This Blows!” where two competitors have to blow up a balloon and race to push the cups off a table using only the air from the balloon. In “Paper Dragon,” players each have a roll of ribbon on the ground and race to see who can wrap the entire roll around their arm by whipping their arm in circles as fast as they can.
“Who could think of this stuff?” wondered Laperria Andrews of Dobbins Heights, as her son, Le’Avien, 8, was twerking pingpong balls all over the room playing “Junk in the Trunk,” where players tie a tissue box filled with balls to their rear end and race to see who can shake them all out the fastest. “We might have to start a family game night.”
Kiarra Cole, a volunteer helping with the “Junk in the Trunk” game and a member of Project R.E.B.U.I.L.D., said the event was “crazy.”
“These kids are having a great time and I’m having a great time beating them,” Cole said. “It’s a chance for them to unplug and interact with friends they can actually see.”
In addition to the games, FSNB, Richmond Community College, NCWorks, New Horizons and the Rockingham Fire Department set up tables to provide residents with information on financial planning, higher education and job search help. FirstHealth was also providing free blood sugar screenings.
Holly Russell, director of Workforce Development for RCC, said their table had about five people who came by to ask pointed questions about signing up for courses. Allison Melvin, manager of the Richmond County NCWorks office, said they had a good amount of people who came in for information on their services.
“If one person is affected positively, it’s a good day,” Melvin said. “If I get more, it’s a beautiful day.”
Overall, Goodwin said there were 150 kids and parents at the Fun Day. Many of the kids were part of the Dobbins Heights Adventure Camp. Fati Brown, coordinator for the camp, said he would try to incorporate more non-technology games like the ones played at the Fun Day in the Adventure Camp.
“It helps kids use their heads,” Brown said. “Without technology they have to think outside the box.”
“It’s a great thing for the kids,” Kelly Hutchinson, a volunteer for the Fun Day and executive director of R.E.F.O.R.M., said of the games. “It shows the concept of bringing family together because there are so many things that pull them apart.”
Hutchinson added that many of the games involved leadership and teamwork skills. She was in charge of a game where players had to blow all the playing cards off a table except for the kings, who were turned face up. Hutchinson said she tried to explain to the kids that the game was all about perseverance and endurance, but one stopped her saying, “Can we just play the game?”
“I don’t know what I expected,” Goodwin said. “But I wanted everybody to have fun and see that doing things with your family doesn’t have to cost money.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or at [email protected]