4-H Offers to-Do Activities

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Parents often search for ways to keep their kids busy during the summer. 4-H provides programs and inspiration for youth to not only stay engaged in learning, but also build skills for life.

4-H is a youth development organization with nearly six million participants nationwide, and locally programs are led by youth and caring adults, such as parents, guardians, grandparents or other community members.

The four H’s are head, heart, hands, and health, and each “H” is equally important and takes consistent work to improve upon. By exploring each, youth and families can build on values and complete activities, contributing to positive learning experiences this summer.

A child jumps on a soda bottle rocket launcher

A child jumps on a soda bottle rocket launcher. Hands-on STEM activities are one way to engage youth in learning this summer. Learn more at 4-H.org.


Exploring STEM-related activities is an exciting cognitive challenge for youth. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A simple activity that incorporates those disciplines is doing an egg drop challenge. Youth can create containers with the goal of preventing the eggs from cracking. Everyday materials from around the home can be utilized and aid in the spirit of innovation and creativity.

When the designs are ready, youth drop their contraptions with a raw egg in them from various heights and record their results.


Emotional habits, although as important as eating well or staying active, can be challenging to start. Luckily, there are small steps that can be taken. Practicing gratitude is one example.

The habit of recognizing and appreciating the things around us can elicit positive emotions for people of all ages. Adults can work alongside the youth in their lives to build positive habits, which are good for bodies, minds, and brains.

Creating a designated gratitude journal for kids can help them learn to notice and appreciate the small details. Youth can even personalize the cover with decorations, if it encourages them to journal regularly. Again, this practice leads to helping youth better understand their emotions and build healthy relationships with the people around them.


Providing youth with hands-on learning opportunities can expose them to new skills or hobbies they may not have been aware of before trying them. One activity kids can do with family and friends is growing vegetables in an egg carton.

Using an empty egg carton, seeds and potting soil, a temporary garden to start your plants can easily be made. Seed packets provide planting instructions, or families can stop by their local N.C. Cooperative Extension Center for further assistance. Caldwell County’s is located in Lenoir below the library.

After the plants are grown and ready to enjoy, learn how to cook and incorporate them into recipes together. Gardening and cooking are just two examples of 4-H projects where youth can learn by getting their hands dirty, and they build practical skills to use later in life.


Healthy living is important for growing individuals and provides an outlet for discovery and observation. Going on a short hike or exploring a neighborhood park can be an easy way to encourage kids to stay active. After arriving at the destination or taking time to play, ask youth to draw a picture of the scenery they have observed.

Two paths cut through a wooded area

Two paths cut through a wooded area. Spending time outside helps youth build an affinity for nature.

Another way to pair the activity with creativity is packing a camera for a hike or walk.

Learn more about ideas for summer learning at the Caldwell County website or 4-H website. Caldwell County 4-H is a member agency of United Way, and it enthusiastically supports its partnerships.

Caitlin Luck is an intern with N.C. Cooperative Extension in Caldwell County. The N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of NC State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.

4O8C0025.jpg (Photo courtesy of National 4-H Council):