How to Start Your Own Six-Session 4-H Cloverbud Club

Ohio 4-H now offers an innovative approach to grow community clubs and reach more youth. 4-H SPIN (SPecial INterest) Clubs allow volunteers to host a short-term club experience by focusing on a particular subject matter. 4-H Cloverbuds are just one focus area for SPIN Clubs. Other topics for older youth might include gardening, bicycling, geology or rocketry. However, for Cloverbud clubs, volunteers will use the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Curriculum as the main source for meeting activities. SPIN Clubs meet for six or more weeks/sessions, for a minimum of at least one hour a week.

A 4-H Cloverbud SPIN Club can now operate as a standalone club without the requirement of being attached to club for youth ages 8 and in the third grade and older.

A typical 4-H Cloverbud meeting might include:

  • Welcome & Get Acquainted Activity
  • Recite Pledges
  • Cloverbud Activity from The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities
  • Recreation Activity
  • Closing & Announcements
  • Refreshments

The 4-H Cloverbud program is an informal educational experience through which parents, other interested adults, and youth help young people develop confidence, social skills, decision-making abilities, subject matter knowledge, and physical skills.

The program allows for and encourages creativity and play. It is an excellent opportunity for children to reach their fullest potential because early life experiences, even subtle ones, affect future development.

Typically, 4-H Cloverbud children explore these subject areas: healthy lifestyle, environmental and earth science, citizenship and civic education, plants and animals, consumerism and family science, science and technology, personal development, and community and expressive arts.

The 4-H Cloverbud program is developmentally age-appropriate for youth age 5 and in kindergarten to age 8 and in the third grade. Children are involved in noncompetitive group activities, rather than individual projects. In doing so, the children learn life skills, which include getting along with others and feeling good about themselves.

The program brings members, parents, and volunteers together to have fun and learn to work together in meetings, activities, and special events. Parents are encouraged to become involved.

Resources to Help Volunteers Get Started with a New Cloverbud Group

  • 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook provides a reference and overview for helpers.
  • My 4-H Cloverbud Year helps Cloverbuds track their activities and events.
  • 4-H Cloverbud Blog houses lessons, activities and ideas for Cloverbud programming.
  • The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities includes hundreds of activities and lessons for volunteers to lead at Cloverbud meetings and events. Here is a sampling Cloverbud meeting topics from The Big Book:
    • Weather Fun
    • The Five Senses
    • Science of Sound
    • Making Air Work
    • Storytelling
    • Sports Fun
    • Fitness is Fun
    • Safe at Home
    • Food Fun
    • Healthy Food Choices
    • Nature Fun
    • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Wildlife
    • Valuing Family
    • Experiencing Disabilities
    • Our Flag
    • Our Country
    • Money Smart
    • Stitch it Up
    • Pets
    • Feathered Friends
    • Super Seed Fun
    • Ant Antics
    • Bugs & Butterflies

Interested in learning more about starting your own Cloverbud SPIN Club? Contact your local OSU Extension Office for complete details.

Ada Twist, Scientist – A Cloverbud Reading Adventures Activity

The Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures Series incorporates literature, crafts, games, and snacks into a fun-filled program for children in grades K-2.  In Ada Twist, Scientist, we meet a precocious second grader who looks at the world through a sense of discovery.  Her need to explore and understand everything around her began with her first word at the age of three – “WHY?”.  From that time forward we are drawn into the amazing journey of this young scientist as she pokes, smells, sees, tests, tries, puzzles, and quests to learn “how it ALL works”.

The book is beautifully illustrated with experiments and materials that Ada used in her research.  To determine the cause of a pungent odor, Ada Marie conducted several investigations.  Your Cloverbuds can do their own explorations by using the “How Smart is Your Nose?” activity from The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities.  Place different “identifiable aromas” in sandwich bags.  Blindfold the children and ask them to sniff the contents of the bags.  Have them ask questions to figure out the scents.

Ada also dropped tablets into 2-liter bottles which caused an explosion of colorful soda.  Although this may be a fun messy outside activity, another less messy inside experiment can also be conducted using clear carbonated water or soda, a clear plastic cup, and raisins.  Pour liquid into the cup.  Add a few raisins.  Wait for it – the raisins will begin to rise and fall as if doing a dance.  Why?  Carbon dioxide bubbles are released from the carbonated beverage.  They attach to the rough surface of the raisins and cause the raisins to float to the surface of the liquid.  Once the bubbles pop and the gas is released, they return to the bottom of the cup.  This up and down movement will continue until the soda is “flat”.  Try other foods such as pasta, corn, or candy.  How do they perform?

For an edible science snack, make fruit sorbet in a bag.  Pour one cup of fruit juice in a quart-size zip-close bag.  Seal the bag.  Place that bag into another bag the same size.  Seal the second bag.  In a gallon size zip-close bag, place 4 cups of ice and 3 tablespoons of coarse ice cream salt.  Put the small sealed bags in the larger bag and close tightly.  Have Cloverbuds shake the bags for about 5 minutes while wearing winter gloves.  Take the inner bag out and pour into cups.  Enjoy!  Why did the mixture freeze?  Salt added to ice lowers the freezing point.  The melting ice absorbs heat making the mixture cooler which causes it to freeze (Source: Science Fun with Kitchen Chemistry).

Have Cloverbuds make a picture journal of what they learned.  Encourage them to find out more about other children who sought solutions to challenges by raising questions and developing better ways to make things work in the book, Kids Who Are Changing the World.  May you never lose the wonder of “WHY”.