Winter is a great time to Read!

It is cold outside! For winter months, it might be harder to think of what to do during a club meeting since it is harder to go outside.  Reading is the perfect thing to incorporate into all 4-H club meetings. Ohio 4-H has created Cloverbud Reading Adventures to help provide some easy and ready to go resources. Each has a book along with some games, activities or crafts and a themed snack. https://u.osu.edu/cloverbudconnections/reading/ Continue to check out the link as additional Reading Adventures are added as they are created.

Being able to read and understand the story is essential to a child’s education. Children should still be read to. Reading will help throughout school as well as in life. Reading helps youth discover new things about the world around them, add additional vocabulary, manage emotions, and have fun. Reading is a fun and engaging way to incorporate additional learning and discussion into a club setting.

Here is a fun winter activity:

One of the Ohio 4-H Reading Adventures is Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? www.go.osu.edu/pandabear  This is a perfect wintertime book to enjoy.

Read Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? to your Cloverbuds. Youth will make a hand print penguin. Talk about the other endangered species that the book refers to. Have they ever seen any of these animals?

At the end of reading the book, enjoy a themed snack of pretzel pops. The youth can make decorated pretzel animals.

If you use one of the Cloverbud Reading Adventures, please complete the evaluation so we can continue to provide resources that are helpful for you as a volunteer.  The link is http://go.osu.edu/evaladventures

Check out each of the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures for additional books that are ready to go for use in club settings.

Reading – It’s FUNdamental!

Starting Conversations with Cloverbuds

School has started and children are adjusting to back-to-school routines.  The beginning of a new school year brings additional responsibilities, activities, anxiety, and stress.  As a trusting adult in a Cloverbud’s life, we can help our Cloverbud youth learn to manage change and talk about how they are feeling.

It can be hard to find out what is causing stress and anxiety in children. One way to begin the conversation is by using a children’s book.  When children see themselves in a book, they connect at a deeper level with the story.  Check out the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures for many books with activities, snacks, games, and crafts ready to go. One book that could be used to start a conversation is The Rainbow Fish, Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventure.

Another great technique is to simply chat with the child. Pay attention to the conversation. Sometimes it is difficult for Cloverbuds to identify the word they are feeling but they know something is different.

As you finish your 4-H year and prepare for the next, take time to reflect with your Cloverbuds.

  • What is your favorite memory from this year in 4-H?
  • What do you hope to get better at this next year?
  • What is the best thing about 4-H?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • What are you most excited about learning in 4-H next year?

Encourage them to find ways to seek additional opportunities to lower their stress.  Some suggestions are playing with friends, being outside, reading a book, or counting to ten and taking deep breaths.

Links for children’s books about managing stress:

Sources:
Dayton Children’s https://www.childrensdayton.org/the-hub/news-and-blog
Kids Health https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/anxiety-tips.html?ref=search
Dayton Children’s on Our Sleeves https://www.childrensdayton.org/onoursleeves

Writing Thank You Notes for Cloverbuds

As we go through the busy time of summer, it is important to think about who has helped or impacted our experiences in 4-H.  It is never too early too early for Cloverbuds to learn how to write thank you notes.

As a Cloverbud volunteer, it might be helpful to ask some of the following questions to our Cloverbuds:

  • How did they help you?
  • Did you receive a gift/award? Who was that from?
  • Were they a good friend/neighbor/mentor?

It is important for Cloverbuds to realize that you should not just write a thank you note when you receive an item.  There are many other situations and times when a thank you note is needed to acknowledge help or assistance.

Encourage the Cloverbud youth to think about volunteers in their club, camp counselor, Senior Fairboard member who helps put on fair, club officer, etc.

Utilizing Children’s Books to Have Tough Conversations

Are you wondering what to say to your children about racism in the United States?    What is too much to say?  What is not enough?  Do not wait for children to bring this up to you.  We, as a society, need to be proactive in helping build a positive awareness.

Children recognize differences in people at a very young age.  They are not too young to be exposed to diversity.  Start the conversation early and continue the conversation as children are growing.

The 4-H program is for all who are interested.  As parents, volunteers, supporters, educators, we should have confidence in ourselves, as well as in the children we work with, that we can handle these tough conversations and situations.  Our role should be to be honest with our children and specific in our answers so the future generation can continue to confront and handle racial injustices that are still evident in our society.

But, where do you start?  Utilizing children’s books is a perfect way to begin the conversation.

We all love children’s picture books.  They have so many important lessons built into their stories.  Use diverse characters in books.  Children want to be able to see themselves in books, and this allows an opportunity for further discussion.  In addition, when they see characters that are different from themselves, they become more accepting which will stay with them as they grow into adults.

Ask building questions.  Use this opportunity as a chance to learn what the children know, what they do not know, and what they might be thinking about race.  Then, most importantly, you can help them learn more by asking additional questions and preparing yourself for additional conversations in the future.

It is never too early to have this conversation.  If the topic is racism, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, being a good citizen, helping others, or any other topic, starting these important conversations can be done using children’s books.  Incorporate children’s books into every 4-H Cloverbud activity and meeting.  We want our 4-H members to grow into caring, competent, contributing citizens.  As 4-H parents, volunteers, and supporters, we have an opportunity to have important conversations, so our children are ready to take on the world and make the best better.

Links for diverse children’s books:

 

Working with Food Allergies in the 4-H Club Meeting

Food allergies can be very serious, especially among children. With so many young children being diagnosed with food allergies, it is very important that all understand what to look for.  According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one in every 13 children is being diagnosed with a food allergy and every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room.

FARE states that there are eight major food allergens which causean estimated 90% of all allergens.  These foods include: egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts(almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios), soy, fish, wheat, crustacean shellfish(crab, lobster, crayfish, and shrimp).  These are the allergens which typically cause the most serious food allergy reactions but there are more than 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions.

If your county utilizes online enrollment, please encourage 4-H parents to put any kind of health consideration into 4-H Online when completing their child’s enrollment.  Health forms for camp must also be fully completed.  This is the first, and sometimes only, way to find out this information. Volunteers need to be aware of any food allergies which put children at risk.

Think about club meetings and snacks.  Make sure all parents know of any foods that must be avoided.  This needs to be enforced at the club meetings so there is never a chance of an allergic reaction.

A great option would be to serve fruits or vegetables at the meeting.  Typically, these are not common allergens among children.  This would also promote healthier eating at club meetings.  Cloverbuds love to help make food. What are some snacks that are appropriate for them to help prepare?  Some fun ideas include a relish tray, fruit tray, hummus, ants on a log, guacamole, or animals made out of fruit/vegetables.  Have fun and be creative.  Don’t know where to begin?  Check the library or do a search on line.  And be mindful of serving healthy drinks as well such as water, 100% juice, or unsweetened tea.

For more information on food allergies, please visit www.foodallergy.org.