Have you ever considered getting your kids involved with 4-H? You don’t have to live on a farm in order to do that, you know! As you’ll see, 4-H goes hand in hand with preparedness, survival skills, and family fun. 4-H for kids is a great replacement for too much screen time, e.g. video games, computer, TV.
What seems interesting to us or important in a survivalist mode may seem a lot like hard work or cruel chores for our children. We may be fascinated with learning the skills of growing and storing our own food, raising our own livestock or reviving the lost art of sewing but everyone’s interests vary. Our kids may not be thrilled at all with those projects!
Even though the skills that are learned during homesteading and prepping activities are no doubt important, children may find it hard to focus on such things when today’s culture has taught them that all their needs can be met by shopping at any of the overwhelming amount of retail stores that pepper our nation.
TIP: How do your kids measure up on our list of urban and mental survival skills for kids?
My 9-year old son was a true patron of this technological era. He would spend all his time bouncing from one video game to the next. I had difficulty getting him outside and active. Luckily, his big sister, who is a farm girl at heart, got the family involved with a local 4-H club and introduced all of us to many new adventures. Thanks to 4-H, my son was eager to take early morning fishing trips to complete his project. Watching all that well-practiced hand-eye coordination come to life in the form of stringing a hook and baiting his line instead of the constant thumb action of a game controller was a rewarding moment as a mother. I treasure the moments that I’ve watched my children raising their chickens and rabbits, catching fish or learning to cook from scratch because I know the hard work and down to earth skills they are learning is a valuable art that they would not have accomplished without the assistance, guidance and support of the 4-H community.
4-H For Kids
One way to make learning significant survival skills fun and achievable is to enroll your kids in organized activities that encourage, instruct and reward accomplishments. There are several of these groups already established. 4-H is an organization with a general focus on working together for positive changes. The 4-H program is designed to teach skills of all kinds through yearly projects, workshops, camps, community service opportunities, and much more.
Numerous projects designed for children to complete on their own (with little parental assistance) are offered. Each project book helps children move forward in their skills by outlining tasks and procedures to complete, providing record keeping, and encourages children to seek designated professionals and other resources to learn more.
To hold children accountable and nudge them to do their best on these projects, there is a time of judging generally either before or during their local county fair. Children who score exceptionally well get to move on to the state fair for a higher level of competition and recognition. Often times, children are also given small monetary tokens for completing their projects and displaying them at the fair. Those with livestock projects can sell their animals if all guidelines are met. Buyers typically pay well beyond market price for these animals as a way to encourage children and promote the program.
Some of the wonderful 4-H projects that help build survivalist skills while having fun includes the following*.
Dairy Animals – Learn how to raise, care for, manage and keep records for dairy heifers and goats.
Poultry – Learn the proper care for raising pullets and broilers.
Market Beef, Swine, Rabbits, Sheep & Goats – Learn how to raise, care for, manage and keep records for market.
Clothing & Textile Science – Learn basic sewing skills, personalize clothing, make clothing from patterns and more. Projects range from first-time beginners to advanced clothing design and construction masters.
Cooking Projects – Beginner to Advanced levels. Learn about cooking, nutrition, food safety information and get creative with recipes of all kinds, including baking breads, meal planning and grilling.
Gardening & Plant Science – Learn how to grow your own vegetables and preserve your own food through canning and freezing methods.
The Natural World – Learn how to explore the outdoors by learning about plants, trees and insects that live in the woods, streams and fields. Learn trapping, fishing and beekeeping.
Shooting Sports – Learn safe use of guns and basic archery.
Mechanics – Learn about small engines, tractors and machinery operations.
Woodworking – Learn how to use various woodworking tools along with basic tools to build wood projects.
To learn more about the 4-H program and to find a club near you visit the official 4-H website.
About 4-H (2015, January 18)
*Paraphrased descriptions were obtained from the Ohio State University Extension 2014 4-H Family Guide.