We had the first theme-based meeting for our new club – the Curious Cloverbuds. Cloverbuds is for kids who are too young for traditional 4-H. Instead of the long-term projects in specific areas (sewing/quilting, gardening, raising small animals, breeding livestock, shooting, etc.), Cloverbuds uses activities to introduce kids in Kindergarten through 3rd grade to a variety of a topics. We are a homeschool group so grades are a little more flexible then they might be otherwise. We have 4 to 9 year olds in our group. Which does offer some challenges with finding appropriate activities but I think I have a pretty good plan going. (More information on Cloverbuds can be found here.)
We meet in a local library’s meeting room which offers some limitations on what we can do, especially when it comes to experiments, cooking and crafts. My plan for each topic is to have a library meeting which will include a discussion/demonstration, an active game and a craft; and on a different date, a field trip appropriate to the topic. I was unable to arrange a field trip for our weather theme so we only have the library meeting for this particular topic.
Each meeting starts with the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H pledge, led by one of the kids (with assistance).
We started our Weather meeting with some discussion questions.
“Who knows what today’s weather is?”
(cold, cloudy and windy)
“How do you know?”
(we went outside)
”What is another way to tell what the weather is or to see what the weather is going to be later today or tomorrow?”
(look at a weather report, online or on television).
At this point we looked at a print-out of the day’s weather report, discussed the various components, and decided whether our earlier assessment (cold, cloudy and windy) was correct and where that information could be found on the weather report. We discussed the terminology used (humidity, wind speed, high temperature, low temperature, etc.)
We continued with a discussion of the people who study weather to make predictions (meteorologists) and some of the tools used (satellites, thermometers, hygrometers, barometers, anemometers, etc.).
We discussed how one of the reasons it is important to know what the weather is going to be is to avoid unsafe situations. We played a game called Safe/Unsafe, that I found here. I read different scenarios to the kids -
Putting on sunscreen before going outside.
Playing in deep puddles or streams after rainstorms.
Staying away from downed power lines after a storm.
If the described scenario is Safe, the kids stood up. If it was Unsafe, they sat down. We would then discuss why.
Rather than haul a bunch of items to the library, I printed out cards with various pictures on them to play part of the “Weather Mystery Bag” game. Each kid drew a card showing an item associated with a different kind of weather (umbrella, sunglasses, mittens, swimsuit, etc.). They then took turns coming up and telling everyone about their item and what kind of weather it would be used for.
At this point I told the kids we were going to play a game in honor of the weather we ALMOST had that day (snow). I pulled out pom-pom “snowballs” and let the kids have a brief snowball fight with them. I made 15 yarn pom-poms for this activity. The first two I made using two cardboard donuts wrapped with yarn and cut apart. I used a popsicle stick to keep control of the yarn while threading it through the hole.
After I managed to stab my hand with the seam ripper I was using to cut the yarn (and realized that it was taking forever) I decided to change tactics. I made the rest of the pom-poms by wrapping the yarn around a small book, tying off the middle and cutting the loops. Turns out the kids actually preferred these floppier “snowballs”.
I had the kids line up with a snowball each and we did some fun relays. They would see how far they could walk holding the snowballs different ways (under the chin, on head, bent over with it on their back, on toes walking on heels – thank you to my Facebook group for suggestions :-D). I let the kids suggest a few ideas and let them play until things deteriorated into another snowball fight.
For our next activity, we talked briefly about wind and then the kids were each given a straw. I scattered cotton ball “clouds” on the floor and the kids blew them around using the straws.
We finished up with a craft. Since our meeting was on Valentine’s day, I brought construction paper and foam Valentine’s stickers and let the kids make pictures.
Our next topic is Pets and includes a field trip to a local Petco store.