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Friday, August 9, 2013

4-H is More than Livestock Projects

Well, our family survived another year at the county fair.  This was the first time that I have had both boys competing and exhibiting.  Let me get this straight the county fair is a place for the kids to demonstrate what THEY have learned not what I have done for them.  My boys work their hearts out to get to the county fair.  They spent hours in the kitchen, barn, craft supplies, fields and even shopping to earn the ribbons they were awarded. I have talked before about how much I Love 4-H.

Don’t think that I am going to only talk about the livestock projects.  Yes, the whole family spends hours together with the livestock, but I truly believe to raise well rounded and well educated kids they need to try a variety of projects. 

The Geology project is something that I knew nothing about 4 years ago.  I never displayed geology when I was in 4-H.  I always admired my best friend’s box though.  When my then 7 year old started collecting fossils in the yard, we decided to try it out for a year.  Here is his box this year.

Geology has evolved into Lapidary, a sub division of the geology project.  He collects or buys rocks and minerals to polish.  We have a rock tumbler that runs almost continuously throughout the year.  In Kansas 4-H, there are many different types of lapidary displays.  His box this year shows the before and after of 5 different stones he polished this year.  These specimens took him 4 to 7 weeks to polish in the tumbler each.

Then we had the problem of what to do with these pretty rocks, so both boys made jewelry for the arts and crafts project.  They used different mounting methods to display the stones.  

They are still boys, so I also let them take their Lego kits to display at the fair.

Another crafty type project the youngest completed was a rocket for the Rocketry project.  This was a bit more involved project than we expected it to be when we started.  Not only do these kids have to glue, paint and apply decals, they must launch the rocket before exhibiting it.  They are also to calculate the altitude that the rocket reached.  Well, for my 7 year old figuring tangents was a little over his head, so I helped him the best I could.  He also had to fill out this form about his rocket and have 1-5 pages of pictures. 

I also think that all kids, boys and girls, should know how to cook.  We all eat every day.  If we don’t know how to cook we end up eating out way too much.  The boys had a good time learning how to bake and are great at reading directions and measuring ingredients.  If you really think about it, baking is just edible chemistry experiments.  The recipe for the Two Cheese Braided Bread is already up on the blog.

Over the coming months, I hope that a few other farm moms are going to help me explain a variety of 4-H projects and help new 4-H mom's with some helpful hints.

-A Kansas Farm Mom