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Solar Eclipse 2024

 

Have you heard the news? On Monday, April 8, 2024 a solar eclipse will occur over North America with portions of Mexico, the United States, and Canada in the path of totality. What is the path of totality? That means the moon will completely cover the sun, temporarily blocking its light. This can lead to a drop in temperature, animals behaving like it’s nighttime and stars and planets might be clearly visible. Imagine how scared the first people to view a total eclipse must have been!

Roughly 35 Ohio counties will experience complete totality while all other counties will experience a partial eclipse. Introduce your Cloverbuds to the eclipse by using the lesson, Small Moon, Big Sun 1 This is a stand-alone lesson focusing on the concept of the eclipse and a discussion about the solar system. Concerned because you are not a scientist? No problem! The lesson includes the background information to help you explain the event to your Cloverbuds in language they can understand.

Begin your Cloverbud meeting with a discussion about what an eclipse is and learn about the parts of the solar system. There is a cool experiment to help your Cloverbuds understand how the moon, which is much smaller than the sun, blocks the sun during an eclipse. If you have available internet connectivity, you can share the video about gravity which explains why the moon doesn’t fall from the sky. End your meeting with a discussion about what your Cloverbuds think it would be like to live on another planet.

In addition to this lesson, there are some children’s books that can be used to reinforce the key concepts: The Sun is Kind of A Big Deal by Nick Seluk, Eclipse by Andy Rash. and Eclipse by Darcy Patterson. Look for a related Cloverbud Reading Adventure coming soon!

If your 4-H families are planning to view the eclipse, follow these Tips for Sun Safety.

For more information or for other eclipse activities, visit ohio4h.org/solareclipse.

ALL SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING RISKS BORNE BY THE VIEWER. Any and all risks associated by viewing the solar eclipse on any property operated by, or with glasses distributed by the Ohio State University, are borne and accepted solely by the individual taking such action. Instructions on how to use the glasses are printed on the inside of the glasses. Please read them carefully and follow the instructions exactly as written. You hereby release The Ohio State University, its Trustees, boards, officers, employees and representatives from any liability, for any and all claims and causes of action for loss of or damage to property and for any and all illness or injury to your person that may result from or occur during your participation in the activity, whether caused by negligence of The Ohio State University, its Trustees, boards, officers, employees, or representatives, or otherwise. See instructions on glasses before use.

Heart—The Second H

Did you know? The month of February is American Heart Month. Along with the important job of pumping blood throughout our body, our heart is often associated with feelings and emotions. February is a great time to think about the second “H” in the 4-H Pledge and explore heart-themed activities with your Cloverbuds.

Science with Valentine Candy Hearts

Supplies

  • Three Plastic Cups
  • Conversation Candy Hearts
  • Marker
  • Water
  • Soda (clear soft drink or club soda)
  • Vinegar

What to Do

  1. Fill each cup with one of the following: water, soda, and vinegar.
  2. Label each cup so Cloverbuds know which liquid is in each cup.

Predictions (Hypothesis)

  1. What will happen to the candy hearts when they are placed in a cup? Will they float or sink?
  2. Ask Cloverbuds to predict whether the hearts will float or sink. Record their predictions on the chart.

Experiment time

  1. Drop the same amount of candy hearts in each cup.
  2. What happens right away? What happens after 15 minutes?

Discuss

  1. Were the Cloverbuds’ predictions correct?
  2. Can the experiment be extended or lead to more questions? What happens with hot versus cold water? Oil?

Heart Hop

Supplies

  • Large, full sheet hearts
  • Markers
  • Additional items—markers or crayons

What to Do

  1. Draw a large heart on a sheet of paper.
  2. You need one heart per Cloverbud.
  3. Write a motion or activity on each heart. Examples—10 toe touches, 5 jumping jacks, 3 Frog Hops
  4. Ask Cloverbuds to color or decorate the hearts as they enter the meeting.
  5. Place the hearts on the floor in a large circle.
  6. Ask each Cloverbud to stand behind one heart.
  7. While music plays, Cloverbuds walk around the circle of hearts.
  8. When the music stops, Cloverbuds complete whatever motion or activity is listed on the heart they are standing behind.

Rolling Hearts Craft

Supplies

  • Cardstock—white and pink/red
  • Foil or plastic container large enough for the paper to lay flat
  • Marble
  • Paint—pink, red, purple

What to Do

  1. Lay the paper flat in container.
  2. Place a small dot of paint in each corner.
  3. Lay a marble in container on top of paper.
  4. Cloverbuds should slowly roll the marble into the paint by tilting the container slowly back and forth.
  5. Once the paper has paint across much of the paper, take the paper out to dry.
  6. Once the paper is dry, Cloverbuds can trace and cut out hearts from the “marbled rolled paper”.
  7. Have the Cloverbuds glue the “marble rolled hearts” onto white paper and add a valentine saying or note of appreciation for someone else.
  8. Encourage Cloverbuds to add their own valentine saying to the artwork.

End your Cloverbud meeting with a heart-healthy snack and remind your Cloverbuds that it is important to keep this valuable muscle healthy by eating nutritious foods and exercising.

For more heart-related activities, check out Chapter 12, Heart to Heart: Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Senior Living Center Residents, in the Ohio 4-H Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities. Purchase directly from Ohio State University Extension Publications or from your county Extension office, where Ohio 4-H club advisors, club members, and other Ohio residents get the best price.

Weathering the Winter Blues with Cloverbuds

Most 4-H clubs begin meeting early in the year while some meet all year round. During the winter months it can be cold and dreary outside. During club meetings, Cloverbuds may be rambunctious, display more behavioral health issues, and not listen as well. You may be feeling more irritable and tired and find it harder to stay upbeat during club meetings. Why does this always seem to always happen during this time of year?

The “winter blues,” also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects the mental health and moods of thousands of people. Many parents are affected by the winter blues, which in turn, affects children. Children are very observant and responsive to their environment. They look to adults to know how to respond during times when they aren’t sure how to feel. The younger the child, the more likely they will pick up on the moods of others.

According to Mental Health America National:

  • Approximately 5 percent of the United States population experiences seasonal depression each year.
  • Four out of five people who have seasonal depression are women.
  • The main age of onset of seasonal depression is between 20 and 30 years of age, however symptoms can appear earlier.

Winter blues are most associated with reduced sunlight during the winter months. It is much colder than usual outside making it uncomfortable to get out and about. A lack of sunlight and exercise can seriously affect a person’s mood.

The good news is that Cloverbueds are incredibly resilient. To help beat the winter blues begin by finding little ways to expose you and your Cloverbuds to light and exercise. Go outside in small bursts. Open the blinds! You might surprise yourself by how much better you feel brightening a room with extra lamps or by finding out that being outside isn’t as bad as you think. Sensory walks (looking, smelling, hearing, feeling) with your Cloverbuds are an excellent way to do a quick burst of outdoor time. Also, don’t underestimate the power of laughter!

Other ideas to make your own sunshine and boost your mood:

  • Open the blinds to get direct sunlight in your meeting space or turn on extra lights during Cloverbud events.
  • Open the windows to let in some fresh air if you are able.
  • Get physical with your activities such as taking a walk or playing with your Cloverbuds at the park. Playing relay games inside at a 4-H meeting is also a great way to involve a large group and get the blood pumping.
  • Boost your mood with foods high in Vitamin D. (yogurt, eggs, meats, milk) Host a cereal snack party with your Cloverbuds to see which ones contain the most Vitamin D.
  • Listen to a new mood boosting playlist. Freeze dance is a simple, high-energy way to move about.
  • Help others by volunteering or simply helping a friend or family member. This goes right along with your 4-H club community service.
  • Smiles are contagious! Read a funny story (check Cloverbud Reading Adventures for ideas) to get the smiles and laughter started. (Cloverbud aged children tend to laugh hundreds of times a day, while adults average about 15.)

Be sure to reach out to others for support. This includes, planning, prepping, and carrying out your Cloverbud events. Good moods of others are just as contagious as the winter blues. Keeping your Cloverbuds active and laughing can go a long way to get them, their families, and you in better spirts throughout the long winter months.

Holiday Season Refresh

As 2023 comes to a close, many of us may be thinking – including myself, “glad this year is over, what a difficult year it has been.” It is common to focus on the negatives of life and kids are not immune to this thought process. The hustle and bustle during this time can be challenging for Cloverbud kids and is important to keep this in mind so they can flourish and enjoy this special time. Ways to reduce holiday stress and refresh for kids is to:

  • Keep daily routines as much as possible
  • Get kids outside even if cold (dress for warmth)
  • Provide quiet time to read or rest
  • Remind them this is the season for kindness and gratitude
  • Watch overeating on sweets (provide fruit snacks or other alternatives)
  • Cut back on over-scheduling

The good news is that there are many ways for Cloverbud kids to thrive during the holiday season rather than stress. Here are some proven strategies:

  • Sends cards to active military or nursing home residents
  • Teach importance of giving, rather than focus on receiving gifts
  • Go caroling to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or any occasion to spread good cheer
  • Encourage experiences rather than focus on material gifts – such as going to a zoo light show, volunteering at a local food bank, or enjoying a museum
  • Visit a local animal shelter bringing play toys or treats

Thanks for the important work you do as a 4-H Cloverbud volunteer and advisor. Remember, the holidays are a special time for Cloverbud kids, and we don’t have to make it perfect for that to happen. Just by showing that you care, Cloverbud kids will make special memories and help others do the same.

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude All Year Long

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
— Cicero

The Thanksgiving holiday is typically a time when we stop to give thanks for our blessings. But expressing thanks and gratitude does not need to be limited to Thanksgiving—we can help our Cloverbud members cultivate an attitude of gratitude all year long. Let’s take a look at what gratitude is, why it matters, and how to foster it.

What is Gratitude?

Perhaps the most basic definition I could find for gratitude is being “aware of and thankful for the good things that happen” (Seligman et al., 2005, p. 412). Gratitude has many facets. It may be expressed in response to something specific or tangible given by someone (such as a gift), or it can be something more general or broad (appreciation for the support of family or the beauty of nature). Although we may think of gratitude as a passing feeling or emotion, it can also be thought of as a mindset, tendency, or wider life orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world (Wood et al., 2010).

Children and Gratitude

Children’s understanding and expression of gratitude evolves over time. Gratitude does not appear to occur regularly in response to receiving benefits until middle childhood, which is between the ages of 6 and 12 (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). The themes most common in children’s expressions of thanks are generally related to their basic needs (e.g., food, clothes, shelter), families, friends, pets, school, and teachers (Gordon et al., 2004). This makes sense, because Cloverbud-age children are at a very concrete stage of their cognitive development. As a cognitive process, gratitude has (at least) two parts: (a) recognizing that a positive outcome has been achieved and (b) that this positive outcome came from an external source (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). An additional important aspect of gratitude, termed connective gratitude, is wishing to reciprocate to benefactors with something they might want or need (Freitas et al., 2022). Expressing connective gratitude is also developmental: When younger children want to return the favor, they often reciprocate with something they would like, rather than the recipient. This is because young children see things from their own point of view and have not yet learned to take another’s perspective. How gratitude is expressed may vary by culture (Freitas et al., 2022).

Expressions of gratitude should be genuine. Of course, when they are young, children need to be reminded to express gratitude. But by forcing a child to be grateful by saying thank you can potentially decrease their motivation to be grateful (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014). To counter this tendency, authors recommend providing choices about when, to whom, and how to express gratitude (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014). As children’s capacity to understand emotions and take another’s perspective develops, so will their ability to feel and express heartfelt gratitude.

Why Does It Matter?

Research shows that gratitude leads to a number of positive emotional and social outcomes. People who think about the good things in their life tend to be happier and less depressed (Allen, 2018; Brown & Wong, 2017; Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014). Gratitude is important for forming and maintaining important relationships with the people we interact with every day (Algoe, 2012).

The benefits of gratitude come not just from being on the receiving end, but also on being the giver or doer. Recent research shows that actually expressing your gratitude to someone else may be particularly effective (Walsh et al., 2023). Not only will you feel good, but sharing appreciation with a teacher, family member, or friend will surely make their day.

Taking gratitude one step further is the idea of paying it forward, that is, assisting an unrelated third party (Chang et al., 2012). This can create a ripple effect that has a benefit to the larger community and society. For example, gratitude to nature is associated with engagement in pro-environmental behavior (Tam, 2022).

Gratitude Activities

The practice of gratitude and the benefits that come from it take time to develop. Don’t expect that doing one activity will increase gratitude on its own. It may take time for expressing gratitude to become a habit. However, research suggests that we should stick with it.

Breaking the concept of gratitude into smaller pieces may be helpful. That is, a focus on helping children understand a benefactor’s intention in helping them, the costs that come from helping, and the benefits realized by the receiver are all crucial components of learning about gratitude (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014).

  •  Paper Chain of Gratitude: On strips of construction paper, have members write down things they are grateful for, one per strip. Staple or tape them together in interlocking loops. They can continue to add loops to the chain and use if for a holiday decoration. This activity can be adapted to express gratitude on the leaves of a tree or the petals of a flower. Prepare the strips, leaves, or petals ahead of time to streamline the activity.
  • Gratitude Jar: The gratitude jar can be started in a meeting, with instructions to continue at home.
    1. Use a clean jar with a lid, at least 1 quart size. Jar can be decorated if desired.
    2. Think of at least one good thing that has happened each day and write each on a separate slip of paper. This “good stuff” can be something great that happened, or it can just be something more ordinary. The point is to reflect and write it down.
    3. Put the slips in the Gratitude Jar.
    4. At the end of the month (or other amount of time), you can look back through the slips and reflect and be reminded of all the “good stuff” that has happened. You may be surprised to see how the “little things” have added up.
  •  Books: As always, books are a way to introduce abstract concepts and make them more concrete.
    • The Gratitude Jar by Katrina Liu (which would pair nicely with the Gratitude Jar activity).
    • The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

You can find other gratitude-related book recommendations at Children’s Library Lady, Reading Middle Grade, and Brightly.

  • Gratitude Letter: Writing a gratitude letter ties in with the research showing that expressing your gratitude directly to someone else may be particularly effective. Writing a letter will give Clovrbuds a chance to practice their writing skills; it doesn’t need to be long or elaborate.

Teach our Cloverbuds to maintain an attitude of gratitude all year long!

References

Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in everyday relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(6), 455–469. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00439.x

Allen, S. (2018). The science of gratitude [White paper]. Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Gratitude-FINAL.pdf

Brown, J., & Wong, J. (2017, June 6). How gratitude changes you and your brain. Greater Good Magazine. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

Chang, Y.-P., Lin, Y.-C., & Chen, L. H. (2012). Pay it forward: Gratitude in social networks. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 761–781. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9289-z

Children’s Library Lady. (2023, September 17). Sparking thankfulness and job: Picture books about gratitude to engage your students. https://childrenslibrarylady.com/best-thankfulness-and-gratitude-books/

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377

Emmons, R. A., & Shelton, C. M. (2002). Gratitude and the science of positive psychology. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 459–471). Oxford University Press.

Freitas, L. B. L., Pahares, F., Cao, H., Liang, Y., Zhou, N., Mokrova, I. L., Lee S., Payir, A., Kiang, L., Mendonça, S. E., Merçon-Varga, E. A., O’Brien, L., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2022). How WEIRD is the development of children’s gratitude in the United States? Cross-cultural comparisons. Developmental Psychology, 58(9), 1767–1782. https://soi.org/10.1037/dev0001383

Gordon, A. K., Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., & Dalrymple, J. (2004). What are children thankful for? An archival analysis of gratitude before and after the attacks of September 11. Journal Of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25(5), 541–553. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appde v.2004.08.004

Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). Benefits, mechanisms, and new directions for teaching gratitude to children. School Psychology Review, 43(2), 153–159. https://doi.org/10.1080/02796015.2014.12087441

McMurdie, D. (2023). An attitude of gratitude: 17 books that show kids what it means to be thankful.  Brightly. https://www.readbrightly.com/books-that-show-kids-what-it-means-to-be-thankful/

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410–421. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410

Tam, K.-P. (2022). Gratitude to nature: Presenting a theory of its conceptualization, measurement, and effects on pro-environmental behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 79, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101754

Umesi, A. (2023, November 16). 30 heartwarming picture books about gratitude. Reading Middle Grade. https://readingmiddlegrade.com/picture-books-about-gratitude/

Walsh, L. C., Regan, A., Twenge, J. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2023). What is the optimal way to give thanks? Comparing the effects of gratitude expressed privately, one-to-one via text, or publicly on social media. Affective Science, 4, 82–91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42761-022-00150-5

Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890–905. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005

From Polliwog to Grown Up Frog

Frogs are fascinating creatures! Here are some fun facts and activities about frogs for your Cloverbuds. There are many interesting facts about frogs, many books to read (both fiction and nonfiction), crafts to do, snacks to make and even songs to sing! Want to learn more about frogs? Let’s hop to it!

Have you ever seen what looked like little jelly eyeballs floating in the water? What could these be? They may have been frog eggs. Frogs lay their eggs in water and the eggs hatch into polliwogs, also known as tadpoles. Polliwogs live completely in the water, they have no legs yet for jumping, just a tail for swimming! As a polliwog grows, it develops legs and becomes a full-grown frog. Once it is a grown-up frog, it can live on the land.

Ribbit, ribbit, how far can you jump?!   (let’s see how far you can jump like a frog!)

Frogs are amphibians. They can live both in the water and on land. Frogs can be very small or very large. Some frogs can weigh up to 7 pounds while others are so small, they can sit on a dime. Frogs live everywhere in the world but Antarctica, and have been around as long as the dinosaurs! Where can you find frogs near you? (Ask Cloverbuds to share their ideas.) *Note: if you have a nearby location with a frog population, you might want to take your Cloverbuds on a frog adventure!

All frogs are green, right? Not true! Frogs can be yellow, red, orange, blue and even purple! What color of frog would you like to be? Check out this frog coloring page for your Cloverbuds to color as they wish. (You might show some pictures of colorful frogs).

There are many frog crafts available that are suited for the Cloverbud age level. Here is one that you can use or feel free to search for other options that your group might enjoy.

Supplies you will need for this craft:

  • Paper plates
  • Frog feet cut from green construction paper (4 per child)
  • Markers/color pencils/crayons
  • Party horns
  • Jiggly eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors (adults may want to cut the hole so that it is the proper size.)

What to do:

Give each Cloverbud a paper plate. They will fold the plate in half. Have the Cloverbuds decorate the outside of the plate to look like a frog. Cut a hole in the center of each plate at the fold. The hole should be big enough to slide the party horn in snugly. Glue the jiggly eyes on the top side of the plate. Glue the feet on the bottom side of the plate. Insert the horn into the hole in the plate. Complete–a frog ready to catch some flies!

Would your Cloverbuds like a frog snack that will make them smile? Try the Apples Smiles recipe found in Fall Festival: A Harvest of Fun section of the Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities. To make the smiles look like frogs, substitute a slice of strawberry (replacing the marshmallows) to look like a frog’s tongue. To take an extra leap, place a gummy worm so it appears to be hanging out of the frog’s mouth. Enjoy!

Your Cloverbuds might enjoy these books about frogs—How Does A Tadpole Grow? and I Don’t Want to be a Frog. 

Camp songs are always fun! Try this funny song about frogs.

LITTLE GREEN FROG

Um Ah, went the little green frog one day
Um Ah, went the little green frog
Um Ah, went the little green frog
and his eyes went Um Ah, Um Ah, Um Ah Ah
Beep, beep, went the big Mack truck one day
Squish Squash, went the little green frog
and his eyes diddn’t go Um Ah, anymore
’cause they both got eaten by a dog Woof Woof!

Gestures:
Um-Hands in and closed
Ah-Hands out and open
Beep-Pulling Mack truck horn motion
Squish-press hands together like your squishing something
Squash-Same as above

“Toad-ally” funny jokes to share with your Cloverbuds! 

What kind of music do frogs like best? (Hip hop)
Why are frogs such good basketball players? (They always make their jump shots)
Where do frogs go for breakfast? (IHOP)
What do frogs play during recess? (Hop-scotch)
What do frogs eat in the summer? (Hopsicles)

We hope that your Cloverbuds enjoy learning about frogs. A good way to end this meeting may be to ask your Cloverbuds what other animals they would like to learn about.

Sources:
annex.exploratorium.edu/frogs/mainstory/index.html
unsplash.com/s/photos/frog

 

Incorporating Apples into Fall Cloverbud Activities

October is a perfect time to visit a local apple orchard. Last year, I took my Cloverbud to an orchard and picked at least 9 different varieties of apples. Some were good for eating. Some were good for baking. Some were good for freezing. We enjoyed trying new recipes as well as seeing the variety of apples that grow here in Ohio. Did you and your Cloverbuds know that Ohio is one of the top apple producing states in the United States?

A few fun and easy activities for Cloverbuds include

  • Tasting a variety of apples- Allow Cloverbuds to have red, green, yellow apples. Make a graph of their favorite ones to eat fresh. What words would they use to describe the taste of the apples they tried? (sour, crunchy, shiny, juicy, cold, sweet, red, bitter)
  • Try a few new recipes. Encourage the Cloverbuds, with your help, to use an apple corer or make a fruit dip to eat with their apples.
  • Read a book all about apples. There are so many wonderful books about fall. Read the book outside while the leaves are falling. A good book to start with would be “Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie”.
  • Make an easy snack for a club meeting.

An easy snack for a Cloverbud club meeting would be apple pie in a cup. It is easy to set up an assembly line and allow each child to visit each station. Don’t forget to wash those hands before you start.

Apple Pie in a Cup

Ingredients needed:

  • Graham crackers
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Can of apple pie filling
  • Whipped cream
  • Cups
  • Plastic Bag
  • Spoon
  • Napkins
  1. Give each Cloverbud a plastic bag, a cup, and 2 graham crackers. Have them break apart the graham crackers and put them in the baggie. They should crush the graham crackers into small pieces. Then they will put a layer of crushed graham crackers at the bottom of their cup for their crust.
  2. You can warm up the apple pie filling in the microwave but not required. Ask each Cloverbud to put 2-3 scoops into their cup on top of the graham crackers.
  3. Put some whipped cream on top of the apple mixture. Sprinkle a little cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top.
  4. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from https://www.theprintableprincess.com/apple-pie-in-a-cup-freebie/

Reviewing Your 4-H Cloverbud Programming

Portrait Of Excited Elementary School Pupils On Playing Field At Break Time

As 4-H Cloverbud volunteers and educators, we are always focused on planning for the next big event. Many times, we don’t take time to review our programs. The Ohio 4-H Clovebud program several resources that help with program delivery, curriculum, goals, and tools to help with evaluation. As your 4-H season comes to an end for the year, build in time to take a closer look at your Cloverbud program. Spend time with other club volunteers discussing their activities and events. Sometimes we get so busy throughout the season, we plan activities for the “wow” factor instead of selecting the best hands-on educational activities for our Cloverbud members. Not that we can’t bring in fun age-appropriate activities, but we need to provide and teach the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud program curriculum to our Cloverbud 4-H members.

So where do you start? As you reflect on your 4-H club season, think about each one of your meetings and activities. The Cloverbud program should explore areas of healthy lifestyle, earth/environment, citizenship, plants and animals, consumerism and family science, science and technology, personal development, and community expressive arts. The primary goal of the Cloverbud program is to promote children’s healthy development—mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. The program should be fun and positive, leader-directed, activity-based, noncompetitive, success-oriented, and group-centered for youth aged 5 and in kindergarten until they reach age 8 and in the third grade. Did the programs that you provided follow the goals of the Ohio 4-H program and did your programming create an environment for Cloverbud members to develop self-understanding (self-esteem), social interaction skills (getting along with others), decision-making skills, learning skills (learning how to learn), and mastering physical skills?

Here are a few Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Guidelines to help make sure you are on track. One of the best ways to start evaluating the program is asking yourself, where did you get your club resources? Often volunteers search online for activities instead of using Ohio 4-H resources. The Ohio 4-H program has done the hard part for you. Visit ohio4h.org/cloverbudresources for information on the 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook, The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities, My 4-H Cloverbud Year, activities, kits, and extra materials used to support Cloverbud programming. Check with your county Ohio State University Extension Office to see if there are free resources, books, or kits for Cloverbud volunteers. 4-H Volunteers must use the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud curriculum when working with Cloverbud members. To use any lesson other than the Cloverbud curriculum, you must submit a written lesson plan for approval to your county 4-H professional.

Did you have a minimum of two youth ages 5-8 and one officially trained Cloverbud volunteer? This can be tricky especially with 4-H clubs with only a few Cloverbud age members. Sometimes it’s hard to have at least two Cloverbuds, so effective communication and planning can help get full participation. There must be a ratio of at least one 4-H volunteer for each six Cloverbud youth.

How often did you meet? Cloverbuds meet a minimum of six times throughout the operating year. The operating year will begin October 1 and end September 31. Offering more than six meetings will help your busy members meet the state requirement.

A great resource is the 4-H Cloverbud Program Foundations available online, ohio4h.org/sites/ohio4h/files/imce/Families/4H%20Cloverbud%20Program%20Foundations%202.20.15.pdf. This tool explains the 10 foundations of the Cloverbud program. Another awesome resource is the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Program table shown below. This reference will help you be sure each one of your activities is best matched for Cloverbud-age members. This helps separate project members versus Cloverbud members, as well as explain criteria for fair, camp, and animal activities.

 

Utilizing these helpful guidelines and tools when reviewing your 4-H Cloverbud programming will help ensure that your members are receiving curriculum designed just for them. The Ohio 4-H program has developed curriculum, tools, and resources to help you enjoy your role as an Ohio 4-H Coverbud volunteer. For more information contact your county Ohio State University Extension Office or visit ohio4h.org/cloverbudresources.

Get Excited for Fall with this STEM Activity!

STEM activities are a great way to introduce Cloverbuds to the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. By participating in hands-on STEM activities, children can learn problem- solving skills, creativity, and decision making skills.

Using the season to build activities around a theme engages Cloverbuds and connects them to real world experiences. Try this favorite Fall-themed STEM activity with your Cloverbuds at your next meeting.

Mini Pumpkin Volcano

Materials Picture of a Mini Pumpkin Volcano made with baking soda, food coloring, and vinegarNeeded:

  • Mini Pumpkin
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Food Coloring
  • Spoon
  • Measuring Cup
  • Tray or paper (for the mess)

What to Do:

  1. Cut the stem area of the pumpkin, keeping the opening smaller.
  2. Clean out the seeds.
  3. Place the pumpkin on the tray or paper.
  4. Add 3 to 4 spoons of baking soda to each pumpkin. Add a few drops of dish soap, and a few drops of food coloring.
  5. Pour vinegar into a bowl and have the Cloverbud use a measuring cup to pour vinegar into the pumpkin. Watch as the pumpkin erupts!

To make your pumpkin volcano even more interesting, carve the pumpkin like a jack-o-lantern and watch the eruption from different angles of the pumpkin.

Check out the Cloverbud Connections Pumpkin STEM and the Pumpkin Ideas for Autumn 4-H Cloverbud Activities blogs for more pumpkin and fall ideas to use with your Cloverbuds.

 

Pile of mini pumpkins

Sources:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/mini-pumpkin-volcanos-fall-science-experiment/

https://www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com/pumpkin-volcano-science-experiments/

Photos from Adobe Stock

 

Fall Fun with Cloverbuds

Autumn is here! Temperatures are getting cooler and days are getting shorter. Fall is a favorite of many families. There are so many things to enjoy about the fall, but what happens when chilly and rainy days upset your plans for a sun-filled perfect autumn day? Most of the following activities can be done inside, with warm dry clothes, still creating seasonal memories with your Cloverbuds.

Rainy Weather? Go out Anyway! In his 1973 book, “Coast to Coast”, Alfred Wainwright wrote “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” Sometimes, rainy days make the best days outdoors. Popular outdoor areas, like pumpkin patches, the zoo, and the parks see a reduced attendance rate on less than picture perfect days, so you’ll have smaller crowds. Places like the zoo or aquarium have interspersed buildings that can provide a quick place to duck in if the weather is especially blustery. If you’re looking for an inexpensive outdoor experience, local metro parks or your own backyard are the perfect solution. Take your Cloverbuds (be sure to tell parents in advance so they can dress their Cloverbud for the weather) on a wet weather scavenger hunt for the biggest and smallest puddle, see who can create the biggest splash, find animals tracks in the mud, or make leaf boats to float. A bonus of parks and trails is gathering fallen leaves or materials to use to make art but be sure to leave the wildflowers for others to enjoy. (Know and follow your local park guidelines. Some have policies that state the only thing you should take is pictures.) So be prepared for a little rain and a little mud. Pack that extra change of clothing, strap on those rainboots, grab the raincoat, and enjoy the wet weather!

Looking for indoor activities to use with your Cloverbuds this fall? If you have leaves available in your backyard (or collected after a hike), use them to make some amazing works of art. Leaves can be used to make a nature art frame, or used outside for games and activities. Fall wildflowers such as ironweed and goldenrod make beautiful backgrounds for your frame too.

Thinking ahead to upcoming holidays, floral arrangements or wreaths make excellent indoor activities. Using materials from the discount store and hot glue, fun fall decorations can be made with budget friendly materials. Cut the center out of a paper plate and glue leaves and pinecones around the edges for a fall look or go spooky with tissue ghosts and black construction paper handprints.

Homemade play dough never goes out of style and can be used more than once if it is stored properly. Check your spice cabinet and add cinnamon, pumpkin or apple pie spice, or nutmeg to create a fragrant hands-on fall theme play day! Be sure to tell Cloverbuds not to eat the homemade play dough.

Carve pumpkins and use the seeds to make a salty snack or dye them and use for counting, making patterns, color sorting or creating seasonal art! Learn how to dye the harvested seeds and find a list of STEAM seed activities here.

Don’t forget to check out the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch in a few weeks to register those apple crunches for Ohio which helps celebrate October as Farm to School month. Every tasty bite counts!

Resources:

childsplayabc.wordpress.com/2021/06/06/leaf-boats-and-rafts/

honeyandlime.co/fall-leaves-wreath-craft-for-kids/

munchkinfunathome.com/arts/playdough

messylittlemonster.com/2020/10/how-to-dye-pumpkin-seeds.html