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Want to Teach Your Kids Responsibility? Get Them in 4-H

robotics project

4-H stands for head, heart, hands, and health. Programs exist across the country to help children grow their four “Hs” and develop a sense of community and love of learning.

Before I dive into all the benefits for children, I want to dispel a major myth about 4-H: It is not just for farm kids. Yes, there are agricultural projects, but 4-H can also include science, home economics, engineering, and civics options. Any child, regardless of location, background, or career interest can benefit from the program.

4-H programs can vary from state to state, but the easiest way to get involved is to find a local club at www.4-h.org. Frequently, programs will be managed as an extension of a major university of your home state. For example, The Ohio State University manages the programs in Ohio. Children as young as kindergarten can join Cloverbuds.

Participants can choose from a wide variety of projects. If they're interested in science, they can pick projects in robotics, rocketry, or environmental science. Or they can focus on cooking, entrepreneurship, physical fitness, or leadership. And of course, there are agricultural projects, everything from growing vegetables to raising livestock. Typically, these projects are then judged at a local venue, such as your county fair.

The reason 4-H becomes such a powerful program is that many of the projects are designed to be self-led, although parents and adult mentors with a background in the subject matter are encouraged to get involved. Each project has an established curriculum and the children can proceed through the projects at their own pace (however , they are all designed to be completed within 6-8 months). Children can take on multiple projects at once.