4-H Youth

4-H Youth Program Offers Virtual Activities and Programs

boy with iPadCalling all youth! UConn 4-H is excited to announce a suite of virtual activities and programs for youth. Our 4-H youth educators have shifted their programming online to help youth adapt to the current situation, and continue their involvement with 4-H.

  • The UConn 4-H Challenges are two separate contests – a food art challenge and an upcycle challenge. All entries are due by April 17th and can be submitted on social media using the contest hashtag or submitted on the contest website. Youth must be a 4-H member to participate, and can join online.
  • The 4-H Virtual Trivia Challenge is an eight-week competition for 4-H members using the online Quizziz platform. Each week, 4-H members will join others in their age group – novice, junior, or senior – to answer the questions. Youth can join online as an independent member if they are not already enrolled in 4-H. The scoreboard will be updated weekly on the website, and youth with the highest scores in each division at the end of the competition on May 27th will receive a prize. Youth must be a 4-H member to participate, and can join online.
  • The UConn 4-H Calendar Photography Contest is open to all 4-H members. Youth who are not enrolled in 4-H but want to participate can become an individual 4-H member by joining online. All photos entered in the contest must be related to the youth’s 4-H project and submitted by June 1st.
  • The 4-H Horse Judging and Hippology (horse science) programs are offering youth online resources to learn and practice their skills. Resources are available for all age groups – novice, junior, and senior. A 4-H horse activity book has activities for youth including puzzles, quizzes, and activities.

Parents and families with children out of school can use the other resources available from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Keep youth engaged and learning with new materials. We have resources for a variety of age groups.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn CAHNR Extension. 4-H is a community of over 6 million young people across America who are learning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), leadership, citizenship, and life skills through their 4-H project work. 4-H provides youth with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills including civic engagement and healthy living.

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

4-H clover

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.

 

Virtual Extension Programs

man sitting at an Apple computerConnect with Extension – even during COVID-19 social distancing. We have a variety of virtual Extension programs available for you over the coming weeks:

  • Friday, April 3rd – All DayInstagram stories with Abby Beissinger, our Plant Diagnostician
  • Friday, April 3rd – 10 AM – Jen Nadeau, our Extension Equine Specialist will share horse books for adults to enjoy in a Facebook Live session
  • Monday, April 6th – 8:30 AM – Extending the Grazing Season webinar hosted by Rachel Bespuda for our program, Nutrition’s Role in Sustainable Livestock Production Practices. Pre-registration is requested.
  • Monday, April 6th – 1:3o PM – Webinar with Cary Chadwick, UConn CLEARFrom Maps to Apps: Accessible Tech for Field Scientists and Citizen Scientists Alike 
  • Wednesday, April 8th – 1:3o PM – Webinar with Emily Wilson, UConn CLEARStatewide LIDAR Elevation Points in Interactive, Color 3D! 
  • Wednesday, April 8th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, April 15th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Friday, April 17th – 10 AM – Jen Nadeau, our Extension Equine Specialist will share what you need to know about model horse shows in a Facebook Live session
  • Wednesday, April 22nd – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, April 29th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 6th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 13th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 20th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 27th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family

Check back often. We are adding programs from our Master Gardener program, as well as programs on cooking and nutrition from UConn EFNEP.

Recorded Webinars and Video Lessons Available On-Demand

Tips for Parents and Caregivers of Children: Children and COVID-19

kids with greensTips to keep children healthy while school’s out

Children are not at higher risk

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on Are you at higher risk for severe illness.

Steps to protect children from getting sick

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus and at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.

Children may present with mild symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

Children don’t need to wear face masks

No. If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a face mask. Only people who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Children Home From School: Advice for Parents

three children in helmets on bikesChildren and their friends

Limit Social Interactions: The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit social interactions as much as possible. Parents should minimize play dates, and if held, parents should keep the groups small. Advise older children to hang out in a small group and to meet up outside rather than inside. It’s easier to keep and maintain space between others in outdoor settings, like parks.

Practice Social Distancing: If you have small meetups, consider hanging out with another family or friend who is also taking extra measures to put distance between themselves and others (i.e. social distancing).

Clean and Disinfect: Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as cleaning and then disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. Parents are role models for kids.

Revise Spring Break & Travel Plans: Parents should help their older children revise spring break plans that included non-essential travel to crowded areas.

Remember, if children meet outside of school in bigger groups, it can put everyone at risk.

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but current data suggest children with COVID-19 may show only mild symptoms. However, they can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.

Help children continue learning

Stay in touch with your child’s school.

  • Many schools are adapting in-person lessons to online or virtual learning. Review assignments from the school, and help your child establish a reasonable pace for completing the work. You may need to assist your child with turning on devices, reading instructions, and typing answers.
  • Communicate challenges to your school. If you face technology or connectivity issues, or if your child is having a hard time completing assignments, let the school know.

Create a schedule and routine for learning at home, but remain flexible.

  • Have consistent bedtimes and get up at the same time, Monday through Friday.
  • Structure the day for learning, free time, healthy meals and snacks, and physical activity.
  • Allow flexibility in the schedule—it’s okay to adapt based on your day.

Consider the needs and adjustment required for your child’s age group.

  • The transition to being at home will be different for preschoolers, K-5, middle school students, and high school students. Talk to your child about expectations and how they are adjusting to being at home versus at school.
  • Consider ways your child can stay connected with their friends without spending time in person.

Look for ways to make learning fun.

  • Have hands-on activities, like puzzles, painting, drawing, and making things.
  • Independent play can also be used in place of structured learning. Encourage children to build a fort from sheets or practice counting by stacking blocks.
  • Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members. This is a great way to connect and limit face-to-face contact.
  • Start a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experience.
  • Use audiobooks or see if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events.

School meal services

Check with your school on plans to continue meal services during the school dismissal. Many schools are keeping school facilities open to allow families to pick up meals or are providing grab-and-go meals at a central location.

Keep children healthy

Watch your child for any signs of illness.

  • If you see any sign of illness consistent with symptoms of COVID-19, particularly fever, cough, or shortness of breath, keep your child at home and away from others as much as possible. Follow CDC’s guidance on “What to do if you are sick.”

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.

  • Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that hand washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.
  • Be a good role model—if you wash your hands often, they’re more likely to do the same.
  • Make handwashing a family activity.

Help your child stay active.

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors—it’s great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.
  • Use indoor activity breaks (e.g., stretch breaks, dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.

Help your child stay socially connected.

Limiting time with older adults, relatives, and people with chronic medical conditions

Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions are at highest risk of getting sick from COVID-19.

  • If others in your home are at particularly high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider extra precautions to separate your child from those individuals.
  • If you are unable to stay home with your child during school dismissals, carefully consider who might be best positioned to provide childcare. If someone at higher risk for COVID-19 will be providing care (e.g., older adult, such as a grandparent or someone with a chronic medical condition), limit your children’s contact with those people.
  • Consider postponing visits or trip to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters and sending via mail.

Source: Centers for Disease Control

5 Ways to Keep Kids Engaged and Learning at Home

Article by Kittrina Thompson for National 4-H

boy squeezing limeAs communities across America experience the impact of school closures it can be stressful for parents and families to find resources available to maintain a sense of normalcy and make sure kids don’t get off track in their daily development. And while some schools are implementing a virtual learning plan, others don’t have the resources to continue student lessons.

If you are looking for ways to keep your kids engaged during this impromptu time off, 4‑H offers learning resources that are hands-on, fun and engaging. Check out these five fun at-home educational activities:

  1. Inspire your kid to do
    4‑H’s free Inspire Kids to Do™ activity guides collectively feature over 100 activities that will turn your home into a learning oasis! Your kids can learn essential life skills like giving back, health and wellness, cooking, and leadership.
  2. Family fun comes first
    If the entire family is spending extended time at home, you may be wondering how you can make the best of your time together. Plan activities that everyone can participate in that are fun and educational. Try some family recipes (featured in the free downloadable Healthy Living Activity Guide) to bring the household together!
  3. Take a homeschool approach
    If you don’t want to break your kids from the structured learning that is adopted in many classrooms, 4‑H Curriculum can help. From photography to cooking, robotics to entrepreneurship, each 4‑H Curriculum is developed and supported by an accredited university and includes full lesson plans, instructor guides, and student worksheets.
  4. Create your own learning lab
    Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are applied to many school subjects and everyday tasks. The free 4‑H STEM Lab uses basic STEM concepts and learning to bring you fun activities for kids of all ages. You can sort activities by grade and topic, as well as see items needed for each experiment. Also, each activity shows the mess level—a great added feature for at-home experimenting!).
  5. Combat cabin fever with mindfulness
    With extended time at home, it’s easy to get a little stir-crazy—for both parents and kids. Our guide to mindfulness is a great way to protect and care for your mental health, staying clear- and level-headed and relaxed.

Thinking about using any of the above tips? Use hashtag #InspireKidstoDo on social media to share photos of your kids doing any of the activities to give other parents ideas on engaging with their kids!

Originally posted by National 4-H

Managing Stress – You and Your Families

stress spelled out with scrabble piecesIn this challenging time, we need to take care of each other and especially ourselves. Self-care is important to our physical and mental health. We all deserve self-care, especially now. Please consider these resources.

The first is a video on managing stress during a pandemic. It was worth the 17 minutes to hear tips on how to care for ourselves and our children. Maybe you are guiding co-workers or elderly parents. We hope this helps:

https://mediasite.video.ufl.edu/Mediasite/Play/bf0a42f96e874778bf47a8517125f1591d

Related Reading Resources: 

English:

How to Cope with Stress https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4894.pdf

Talking to Your Children https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/pep20-01-01-006_508_0.pdf

Español:

Cómo lidiar con el estrés https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4885spanish.pdf

Cómo hablar con los niños https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4886spanish.pdf

Other Mental Health Resources:

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has a list of five things you should know about stress and you can find that valuable information here:https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml.

Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line have trained counselors who are ready to listen.  If you would like to talk to someone related to COVID-19, call the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255, or text the word SHARE to 741741.  Website links can be found here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org | https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Please take care of yourselves and remember that we are here to help.

Sincerely,

The Connecticut Sea Grant staff

Things to Do While School is Closed

science Saturday kidsIt is time to get creative to find some constructive ways to fill our time. It won’t take long before the board games have been played, the favorite TV shows have been watched and everyone in the house is starting to get cabin fever. In an effort to help you stay focused on something other than COVID-19 and how you are getting bored, our UConn 4-H team is passing along a few sites where you can find hands-on, educational activities to keep your brains exercised.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • The website Mystery Science has made some of their most popular lessons available to everyone for free right now. I have used this site many times as part of my STEM programming and really enjoy some of the interesting topic areas they offer. Each lesson has a video and a hands-on activity. Check them out at: https://mysteryscience.com/school-closure-planning
  • 4-H STEM Lab has hands-on, fun learning activities on a host of topics that are easy to follow and for the most part can be done from anywhere. These activities are for many different ages. I have used some of them in my programming, usually to great delight and learning. https://4-h.org/parents/stem-agriculture/youth-stem-activities/
  • Washington State University 4-H has assembled a webpage with links to dozens of sites with activities and learning for kids of all ages. These activities are great for parents looking for ideas to keep kids engaged and learning while they are out of school. You can find the link at: https://extension.wsu.edu/king/learning-links-4-h-and-more/
  • Are you interested in computer science? Then you should check out https://code.org/. This site will connect you with a large variety of coding activities, lessons and courses that you can participate in free of charge. Whether it an Hour of Code activity or a multi lesson course, all you need is access to a computer and imagination.

Please let us know which sites you tried and what you enjoyed the most. Email any comments to Marc.Cournoyer@uconn.edu. If there is a great resource out there that I have not highlighted and you think others should know about it, please pass it along to me and I will be sure to share it with everyone else. Be safe, be healthy and stay curious during your time away from school.

Infection Prevention Action Steps

hand washing
Photo: Clemson Extension

Our UConn 4-H team developed the following fact sheet for 4-H youth during public health emergencies. The action steps can be used by any family, group, or organization.

During any public health emergency, it is important that we all take a little extra time to increase sanitary practices at 4H gatherings. Not only will this help pre- vent the spread of illness but is a wonderful opportunity to educate youth and adults about proper healthy hygiene and social responsibility for ourselves and the community around us. Our goal is to provide resources to assist you in reducing the risk of inadvertently spreading disease at your 4H meetings and events.

Download the fact sheet.