Starting Young

Posted: June 18, 2020

The Farm Matching Game was distributed with kindergarten readiness materials.

By the time school starts this fall, more than 1,530 DeKalb County households will have received a special toolkit.

Designed to help families prepare their preschool children to enter kindergarten, each toolkit contains crayons, sidewalk chalk, scissors, dice, a dry erase board and marker, Play-Doh, a notebook, and a Farm Matching Game.

The DeKalb County Community Foundation made the kindergarten readiness toolkits possible through a grant program. The Farm Matching Game is a project of DeKalb County Farm Bureau’s agricultural literacy program.

Genoa-Kingston kindergartners unload readiness kits to be distributed to future students. Each kit contains resources to help families prepare their children for kindergarten.

“Our objectives for the Farm Matching Game overlapped perfectly with the Community Foundation’s objectives for the toolkits,” said Ag Literacy Coordinator Rhodora Collins. “They wanted to provide fun ways for families to engage their young children in learning, and so did we. In our case, the game helps young children and their families learn about agriculture around us.”

The game includes 30 pairs of sturdy, colorful matching cards, or 60 cards total. The front of each card includes the image of a farm feature such as a structure, machine, animal, or crop accompanied by the name of the feature. The backs of the cards show an aerial photo of a DeKalb County farm. Most of the other card photos were also taken in DeKalb County.

A Farm Matching Game is one of the key learning tools contained in the kindergarten readiness toolkits that over 1,500 DeKalb County families will receive when they register their children for kindergarten this year.

Also included with the game is a 16-page booklet containing the game rules, suggestions for other ways to use the cards, and background information on each of the 30 card images. “The farm facts provided in the booklet make it just as important as the game,” says Collins, noting it explains the differences between hay and straw, silos and grain bins, and various kinds of machinery, crops, and livestock—farm features even some adults find confusing.

Production of the games was made possible by generous contributions from local farmers who raise pigs in partnership with Minnesota-based Pipestone System. The farmers with Advantage Pork, Elite Pork, Future Pork, Independence Pork, and Precision Pork provided most of the funding, with additional funds donated by Pipestone System and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

More information about the game, including downloadable versions of the cards, booklet, and a vocabulary matching activity may be found at www.GrowYoungMinds.org.


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