The sights, smells, tastes of the county fair will forever be a magical memory for the children and parents in my community. I had the privilege as an Extension Educator to be a part of it all, working with Clover Kid 4-H youngsters from 5-8 years and their families at the Adams County fair in Nebraska.
What is a Clover Kid?
Clover kids are our youngest 4-Hers that enroll in the program at age 5. At this age level, the focus is on helping the children to grow and develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. They learn by doing and can get involved in a variety of project areas including cooking, crafts, gardening small animals and livestock projects such as rabbits, poultry, bucket calves, or lambs to name a few.
Involvement at the fair
In Adams County, I offer a Clover Kid day camp where the children can learn by doing as they create a few projects to display at the fair. This year the children made their own stick horses, hand print t-shirts, painted a hummingbird feeder, planted seeds to make a plant person, and created a spiral painting with a pendulum. These fun activities offered a variety of sensory experiences, as well as encouraging problem solving and creativity. I included a literacy component by sharing the books, “A Place to Grow” by Stephanie Bloom, and “In the Tall, Tall Grass” by Denise Fleming. The children also made their own lunch by rolling biscuit dough to make pigs in a blanket, spreading “wow” butter on celery for “ants on a log”, and building a “campfire” using grapes, pretzels and cheese.
The Clover Kid exhibits are non-competitive and are for exhibition only. I was at the fair on entry day to greet the children as they entered their projects. The children could “show and tell” by visiting with me about what they learned and sharing their favorite part in creating the project. Each child received a ribbon award.
A family tradition at our county fair is making ice cream in a bag. Parents help the children read the recipe instructions, measure and mix ingredients in a zipper baggie that is placed inside a larger bag of ice and salt. The giggles and smiles say it all as everyone has a ball tossing the bag back and forth. The best part is tasting the yummy ice cream together with their family.
The day would not be complete without the stick horse races! The children go to the exhibit hall to collect the horse that they made and then bring it to the “race track.” I had one of the 4-H Junior leaders demonstrate how to weave in and out of the cones for the “pole bending” race and how to maneuver around the buckets for “barrel racing.” I don’t know who had more fun, the parents or the children. I definitely had a fabulous day at the fair with my Clover Kids!
Image Source: Lynn DeVries, Extension Program image
Lynn DeVries, EXTENSION EDUCATOR | THE LEARNING CHILD
Peer Reviewed by Linda Reddish, Extension Educator, The Learning Child
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