Cloverbuds….Moving to the Next Level

Finally!  It’s an exciting time for a Cloverbud when they are ready to take 4-H to the next level and become engaged in 4-H projects like their older siblings or older club members.  How can you, as a volunteer, help them to be successful during this time of transition?

First of all, does your club have some type of “ceremony” acknowledging this milestone?  This ceremony could be a graduation activity, a special induction or initiation ceremony, or something else that is appropriate for your club.  In addition to some type of acknowledgement activity, you might want to plan a meeting with the Cloverbuds and their parents to explain the different types of projects and the opportunities that are available to members who are eight and in the third grade and older.  Take time to explain that projects are primarily self-directed but there is help available.  Let them know your expectations in terms of project completion and project deadlines.  Help them to be realistic in project selection for their first year.  Encourage them to take one or two projects, rather than several, so that the member and the parent do not become overwhelmed and discouraged.  Lastly, check in with them throughout the project year to be sure that they are on target and meeting their goals.

It might be helpful to assign an older 4-H member to serve as a mentor for the younger member.  The older 4-H member should have similar project interests and be willing to assist the younger member with their project work.

Celebrate and enjoy this momentous occasion along with your Cloverbuds, as they move to the next level!

Focus your Head, Heart, and Hands on the 4th H at the Fair!

Although fairs might have a reputation for deep fried foods and rides, there are plenty of ways to make a day at the fair healthier for you and your young child.

Here are some suggestions:

HEAD

  • Plan ahead. Before you head to the fair, offer your child a healthy meal or snack.  Fresh or frozen fruit is a good choice, since it might be difficult to find at the fair.
  • Seek out healthier food options at the fair. Most fairs offer some or all of these items. Although some contain added sugar or a fair amount of sodium, they are healthier choices than corn dogs, fries, and elephant ears.
    • Corn on the cob
    • Roasted nuts
    • Dipped fruits
    • Pickles
    • Popcorn
    • Turkey leg (often big enough for the whole family!)
  • Don’t be fooled! For example, before you order a “fruit smoothie” ask if it has real fruit in it or if it comes from a mix.
  • Avoid smoking areas and ask that tobacco and e-cigarette policies be enforced so children won’t breathe secondhand smoke.

HEART

  • Getting your heart rates up by walking depends on comfortable feet. You and your child will see and do more at the fair if you both wear the right shoes.  Athletic shoes might be better than sandals, as you might need to walk through gravel, dirt, grass, straw, or even mud.
  • Help your child identify one thing he or she really loves about the fair, and spend plenty of time making the most of that experience. It might be a ride, a game, a certain barn, or a petting zoo. If it involves a sweet or fried treat, choose a reasonable serving size or consider splitting it among several people. For example, one funnel cake can serve up to 4-6 people. After the treat, enjoy some lower sugar and lower fat items at the fair.

HANDS

  • Carry a water bottle so your child can stay hydrated without loading up on sugary soda with empty calories. Save money by refilling the water bottle at the drinking fountain. For a fun beverage, order a hand-shaken lemonade with half the usual sugar.
  • Slap on a hat and spread on plenty of sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned, even when the day is a little cloudy.
  • Avoid spreading disease by not eating in the barns, washing hands (yours and your child’s) before you eat, and washing hands after touching animals. If you can’t find hand-washing stations with soap and water, use hand sanitizers.

Cooking with Cloverbud Science

Kids love to experiment, so what better way than by using kitchen science? The best part about beginning kitchen science is a lot of ingredients are already available as common items in the kitchen. Children will be able to:

  1. Experience scientific method

When looking at scientific method, there are basically five points to take a look at:

  • Observe/Question: What do you want to find out?
  • Hypothesis: Predict what will happen.
  • Experiment: Conduct you experiment.
  • Draw Conclusions: What happened? Was your prediction correct?
  • Share Results: What did you learn? Share with your fellow Cloverbuds
  1. Explore the differences between a mixture, solution and a reaction

A mixture is when two or more items are combined and no reaction takes place. A solution is a type of mixture that is formed when one substance dissolves in a liquid with no reaction.  A reaction occurs when two materials are combined and a reaction occurs or something happens.

Materials list for each Cloverbud: ¼ t salt, ¼ t pepper, ½ t sugar, ¼ c water, 1 t baking soda, ¼ c vinegar, three small cups, small stick for stirring, small snack baggies and one sandwich size zip lock bag. Prepare one baggie for each dry ingredient.

Activity 1

  1. Have the Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they put salt and pepper together in a small cup.
  2. Have the children mix salt and pepper together in the small cup.

Did anything happen? Can you still see the salt and pepper? Did your prediction come true? What is a mixture? What other ingredients could you use to make a mixture?

Snack mixes make great mixtures because you can still see what ingredients you used.  You can use any snack ingredients such as pretzels, cereal, veggie chips, peanuts, or corn chips. A fun activity is to have several different snack items available and let the Cloverbuds make up their own recipe and name for a snack mix.

Activity 2

  1. Have the Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they put sugar and water together.
  2. Have them stir the sugar and water together in a small cup.

Did anything happen? Can you still see the water and sugar? Did your prediction come true? What is a solution? What other ingredients could you use to make a solution?

Smoothies work for making a solution. Here is a simple fruit smoothie recipe: 8 strawberries 1 banana and ¼ cup milk. Put in a blender to combine.

Activity 3

  1. Have Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they mix vinegar and baking soda.
  2. Put baking soda into sandwich size zip lock bag. Pour vinegar into small cups. Place cup into plastic baggie and seal. Dump the vinegar out of the cup and watch what happens.

Did anything happen? Did your prediction come true? What is a reaction? What other ingredients could you use to make a reaction?

Because of yeast, bread making is another way to show a reaction.  Mix together 1 ½ c warm water, 1 T honey, 1 ½ t salt, 1 T yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes until there is bubbling or a foam on the top. Next knead in 3 ½ – 4 cups flour until it is no longer sticky. Make small balls (for number of Cloverbuds) and cover for 20 minutes. Preheat oven or toaster oven at 400 degrees. Bake 15-20 minutes.

 

These are just some fun activities you can do to encourage learning by doing. Not only will your Cloverbuds have fun, but they will also be learning some science knowledge.

Sound Science: Craft Stick Kazoos

We often think of science and the arts as being on opposite ends of the subject matter spectrum. In reality, the two are much more connected than many of us realize. Music is a prime example of this concept. It is possible to enjoy the beautiful music that is produced by an instrument, while at the same time having an appreciation for the mechanics that make the music possible.

In this activity, Cloverbuds will construct a kazoo, learn to produce sound, and investigate how a musical instrument works.

Materials needed:

  • Jumbo Craft Sticks
  • Large Rubber Bands
  • Small Rubber Bands
  • Straws
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Start with a large craft stick and a large rubber band. Wrap the rubber band from end to end on the craft stick.
  2. Cut two pieces from the straw approximately 1 inch long. Place one piece of straw under the rubber band about 1 inch from the end of the craft stick. Place the other piece of straw on the opposite end of the craft stick on top of the rubber band. See Photo 1.
  3. Place another craft stick on top of the first, sandwiching the straws in between. Fasten each end of the craft sticks together with the small rubber bands. See Photo 2.
  4. Put the edge of the kazoo up to your lips and blow. Experiment with different positions and blowing at different strengths to see what happens.

Photo 1

Photo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Cloverbuds have finished making their kazoos, ask questions. Why do they think the kazoo makes a sound? What would happen if the straws were closer together or farther apart? What if the straws were bigger? If time permits, let them experiment to see if their guesses are correct.

Kazoos work on the same principle as most woodwind instruments. The musician blows air into the instrument, which causes vibration of a membrane or reed (or in this case, a rubber band). The vibration inside the instrument then produces sound. Kazoos do not have buttons or valves like other instruments, so the player must use their voice to change the pitch of the sound produced.

Once your Cloverbuds have learned to play their kazoos, see if they can play a song. You can have them perform for their parents or other club members. Science and art- a beautiful combination!

Sources:

Laying a Foundation for Mental Health Conversations with Cloverbud Members

Talking about mental health with our youngest 4-H members is a daunting task.  It is not easy to explain topics like depression, anxiety, and suicide to children, but it is vital that we have these important discussions.  Why is it so important?  There are some hard facts:

  • 1 In every 5 American youth live with a mental health disorder.
  • The median age of diagnosis for anxiety disorder is 11 years old.
  • In Ohio, the leading cause of death for youth ages 8 to 10 is suicide.

When breaching the topic of mental health with young children, it is okay to start slow.  As adults, we can help our young members begin to understand what specific emotions look like and how important it is to verbalize what we are feeling to others.  Here are three simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Ask the right questions. Small talk can be a big tool when it comes to helping youth understand emotions. Instead of asking ‘how was school today?’ try asking questions about how youth felt during the day, such as ‘What is one thing that made you [worried, angry, excited, proud, etc.] today?’ or ‘When you finished your test today, how did you feel?’  These questions help youth connect specific emotions with circumstances, as well as developing self-awareness and reflection.
  2. Set the example. If we want our youth to tell us about how they are doing, we have to be willing to share parts of ourselves with them as well. When a 4-Her asks you ‘how are you today?,’ do not answer with ‘fine,’ ‘okay,’  or ‘well.’  Take this small amount of time to give an answer with detail that connects an emotion with an experience.  “Today I am happy because I got to have lunch with an old friend,” “Today I am anxious because I have to give a big presentation at work tomorrow.”  When you share with youth this way, they will be more likely to be able to verbalize their own emotions and experiences with you in return.
  3. Schedule it in. Make talking about emotions a regular part of your Cloverbud meetings. This could be as simple as asking youth to point how they’re feeling on an emotions face chart upon arrival, stating a specific emotion at the beginning of the meeting and giving each person a chance to share a time they felt that emotion, or asking each member to share a “rose and thorn” (favorite thing and least favorite thing) about the today at the closing of the meeting.  This will normalize talking about their emotions with others and may encourage each youth to continue those conversations with their parents at home.

These changes to our regular conversation and interaction may seem small, but they can have a big impact on the ability of our youth to recognize and share their emotions; an important foundation for discussing more serious mental health topics.

Summer Fun with Cloverbuds

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and be active with your children.  Helping youth get into the habit of enjoying fresh air and sunshine can’t start early enough.  Many young people prefer electronics and television in their spare time, but if we break that habit early, fun play time can become the norm.

According to Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in a Psychology Today article, numerous screen-related factors trigger stress or hyperarousal.  Some of these factors include reward/addiction pathways, intense sensory stimulation, bright and blue-toned light, media multitasking, interactivity and rapid pace, and electromagnetic radiation.  She goes on to say, “Because chronic stress effectively ‘short circuits’ the frontal lobe, a hyperaroused and mentally depleted child will have trouble paying attention, managing emotions, suppressing impulses, following directions, tolerating frustrations, accessing creativity and compassion, and executing tasks”.

This is reason enough to head outside and enjoy fun play time.  Some things to try with your child:

  • Go fishing
  • Read a book under a tree
  • Dig in the dirt
  • Plant a garden
  • Pick flowers
  • Chase a butterfly
  • Look for bugs and other creepy crawly things
  • Lay on your back and look at the clouds
  • Roll down a hill
  • Go on a picnic
  • Fly a kite
  • Blow bubbles
  • Draw with chalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Hula hoop
  • Climb a tree
  • Jump rope

This is Your Child’s Brain on Video Games, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201609/is-your-childs-brain-video-games

So, go outside and explore the great outdoors!

Introducing the Newly Update and Revised 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook

This resource was fully revised and updated just for you, the 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Leader, to help you be fully prepared and engaged to make a positive impact on our youngest 4-H members.  It provides accurate and readily accessible information that is everything Cloverbuds.  The guidebook explores the goals and strategies for successful implementation of the 4-H Cloverbud program. The guidebook has been evaluated for both content and quality.

The guidebook contains the following sections:

  1. 4-H Traditions
  2. What is the 4-H Cloverbud Program?
  3. 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Position Description
  4. 4-H Cloverbud Participation
  5. Who Are These 4-H Cloverbud Children?
  6. Eight Essential Elements
  7. 4-H Cloverbud Program Foundations
  8. What Do You Know About the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Program?
  9. For New Volunteers: Conducting 4-H Cloverbud Sessions
  10. Expanding 4-H Cloverbud Opportunities
  11. Planning Your 4-H Cloverbud Club Activities

When using the guidebook, you will: 1) gain knowledge for best practices; 2) learn enhanced strategies and techniques for conducting 4-H Cloverbud activities; and 3) learn why and how the program is set up to have the most positive impact on Cloverbud kids.

Here is a link to more information from OSU Extension Publications: https://extensionpubs.osu.edu/cloverbud-volunteer-guidebook/ Remember you can always get a discount when your order through your local Ohio county Extension office.

Thank you for making an impact on the lives of Ohio’s children!

No-Sew Sock Bunny

Spring has arrived and so have the sights and sounds of baby chicks and baby bunnies.  Whether you are looking outside, walking through the holiday/seasonal section at the store, or viewing the live animals for sale at your local farm store, bunnies are easy to find.

A No-Sew Sock Bunny is an easy craft for Cloverbuds.  It also provides the opportunity to share additional information about the benefits and responsibility of owning and caring for your own animal.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cup
  • Funnel
  • Permanent Marker (fine point tip)
  • Ribbon
  • Rice
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Sock

Steps:

  1. Use the cup and funnel to pour rice into the sock up to the bottom of the heel. Use a rubber band to seal off the sock and keep the rice inside.
  2. Use a rubber band to section off the head from the body of the bunny.
  3. Depending on the length of the sock, part of the unused sock may need trimmed to shorten the ears of the rabbit. Use the scissors to cut the sock into two ears above the head and trim each ear to have a curved tip to the ear.
  4. Cut a piece of ribbon and tie it around the neck of the bunny to hide the rubber band.
  5. Use the permanent marker to mark one small dot for each eye and mark an X for the mouth of the bunny.
  6. Make a tail using a small rubber band to section off a small part of the back of the bunny’s body to form a round tail. You can also glue part of a white cotton ball to the bunny as an alternative tail option.

*Adjustments may be necessary based on the size of sock utilized for the craft.

Cooking with Cloverbud Math

Let’s take a look at math in the kitchen. You can use math skills like measuring, counting, fractions, weighing, and estimation. Utilize your whole group by having each Cloverbud help with making the snack. You can divide the jobs and ingredients among each Cloverbud (example one Cloverbud can measure the flour and another the sugar).  That way everyone is involved.  Here is a recipe that works great to give each Cloverbud a job.

Waldorf Salad

  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup seedless grapes (cut in half)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 T sugar

Prepare the fruits & celery (supervise children when using plastic knives). Mix mayo and sugar. Carefully toss mixture with dressing. You can use any fruits or veggies that you choose especially if you have more than 5 Cloverbuds.

A fun activity for your Cloverbuds is to fill a measuring cup with water. Pour the water into different bowls or containers that are different shapes. Does it look different? Now pour it back into the measuring cup to demonstrate that the amount hasn’t changed. 

Bring a small scale and let the Cloverbuds weigh the ingredients and measure them in a measuring cup to compare two different units of measure.  Of course what is math without counting? This snack mix will lend itself to weighing, counting and sorting skills.

Ranch Snack Mix (makes 7 servings)

  • 8 oz. miniature pretzels
  • 24 oz. Bugles
  • 8 oz. nuts
  • 8 oz. miniature cheddar cheese fish-shaped crackers
  • 8 oz. mini club crackers

Put ingredients in a large plastic Ziploc baggie. Sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons envelope ranch salad dressing. Drizzle with 6 Tablespoons canola oil; toss until well coated. Air dry.

Measure one cup of sugar (or other ingredient), then measure again using half cup, third cup, and quarter cup measures. Talk about how they’re different. Then demonstrate that you can measure two half-cups and it equals the same amount as one cup. Here is a recipe for:

No Bake Peanut Butter Squares

Combine:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla

Add to mixture: 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers

Press mixture into an 8” pan.

Melt: 1 cup chopped peanuts with 2 cups chocolate chips

Spread over mixture in pan. Let it set up before eating.

This recipe could also be doubled and the Cloverbuds could help rewrite the recipe so it can feed more people or even reduce it to feed less people.

Fruit and cheese kabobs are a fun way to add patterns and sorting to your Cloverbud math skills. All you need are grapes, strawberries, and bananas or any fruit, along with some small skewers or toothpicks. The Cloverbuds can make their own pattern and then draw the pattern on a piece of paper. They can make a quick dip with yogurt and a dash of cinnamon.

There are a lot of recipes that you can adapt to encourage math skills, so have fun. Happy cooking!

2019 Ohio 4-H Cloverbot Challenge

Remember when you were six years old? Grown-ups were giants, the world was big, and in your imagination, you could be whatever you wanted to be! This year’s 4-H Cloverbot Challenge will focus on those childhood career goals with the theme “When I Grow Up…”

The 4-H Cloverbot Challenge is a statewide event designed just for our youngest 4-H’ers. Teams work together to research a topic, build a model out of interlocking bricks and create a poster highlighting their experience. On June 29, the teams will come together at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center to share their work, visit with one another, participate in kid-friendly activities, and celebrate their efforts with a closing celebration and award ceremony.

What’s the best way to learn about careers? Invite a firefighter, veterinarian, mechanic, or author (or whatever job might interest your Cloverbuds) to a team meeting, so they can learn firsthand what a day in the life looks like. Take a field trip for an on-the-job view of the career. Or of course, help them search the internet to get all the details about what it takes to excel in the selected profession.

Teams may have a minimum of two members, but no more than eight, and are coached by an adult team leader. Details and registration information can be found at https://ohio4h.org/families/cloverbuds/cloverbot-challenge

Questions? Contact Beth Boomershine at boomershine.10@osu.edu or Sally McClaskey at mcclaskey.12@osu.edu. And a special thanks to the Ohio 4-H Foundation for their ongoing support of the Cloverbot Challenge.