If you live in town, you need to check out these non livestock 4-H projects.
4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. It’s an organization that I grew up in and that I love so much. It’s done so much for me over my entire life. Yes, even those non livestock 4-H projects my mom made me do!
I’ve been around every aspect of 4-H that there can possibly be. From 12 year 4-H member to working at the State 4-H Office in college to completing a Master’s Degree in Extension Education to working as an Extension Agent for 7 years to finally becoming a 4-H mom…I’m here to help. 4-H is something that I’m really passionate about and I love being available to answer questions from anybody that is interested in it.
Many people believe that 4-H is only for farm kids. Today, I’m going to focus on the up and coming non livestock 4-H projects that anyone can do literally anywhere. Because I truly believe 4-H is an organization that every kid and family should be a part of.
In this post, I’m going to be focusing on:
– 9 non livestock 4-H project categories that are perfect for any age anywhere.
– I’m going to include names of projects in there that are non livestock that your kiddo might be interested in because they don’t want to have livestock and that’s okay.
You know, not every kid enjoys the livestock projects and they’re not going to go into anything livestock when they’re older. So that is totally fine. There’s lots and lots of other projects to do in 4-H. Let’s dive right in.
Listen to the episode here:
1. Science, Engineering & Tech
This first one I’m going to talk about that my family and I are actually going to be getting into this year is the science, engineering and technology category. Projects in this category includes but not limited to:
– Space tech
– Aero space
– Farm equipment
– Electricity rocketry
– Computer programming
– Shooting sports
We are planning to start our daughter this year into some science projects. Anyone can go and get a robotics kit or a really simple rocket kit, even a kit to make or some instructions to make some really easy electricity circuits.
It’s such a good project because our society is moving so much into science, engineering and technology, science, engineering and technology is the foundation for everything.
Even as farmers, we are encouraged to try out new technologies and use new technologies for our farming equipment. So it’s really cool that this is an ever growing for each project and it is something that we’re going to be doing a lot more with our kids.
But it is one that isn’t so popular.
I think people get a little bit scared when they see the words science, engineering and technology they, it seems to be a little over their head. But again you can choose really, really simple projects for your kids that come with instructions and you can learn together with your kids.
So our TV of 15 years broke the other day and I really don’t think we’re going to be replacing it. I think we are just going to be you doing science experiments all winter because I, that is really what I’m excited about. Of course I’m always excited for the Christmas movies, holiday, you know, holiday movies and such. But other than that, I’m not real excited to get the TV back going.
Of course we have another TV, but the TV in our family room is the one that conked out and I really don’t have any desire to to get it back going. So because I’m really excited for these experiments and these projects that we’re going to be doing with our daughters in the science, engineering and technology realm, we’re going to be doing a rocket this year and I’m going to be getting some simple robotics projects that we can build.
Our kids can learn through that.
So that is one thing that I’m really excited about the we’re going to be doing. I believe it’s the number one overlooked project that everyone should at least be considering because it is so forthcoming in our society.
2. Arts & Crafts
The next project I’m going to talk about is arts and crafts. I’ve talked before about how important it is to be creative and use our creative brains. We’re all creative no matter what we think we might be thinking about ourselves. We all have that creative muscle and that we need to use it.
Not enough of us use it every day. And arts and crafts is really can be really therapeutic and it’s something that anybody can do.
Also, there’s people willing to lead arts and crafts workshops all the time. Therefore, it’s a really super easy project to do ahead of time. For example, we have a workshop coming up next month that they can make a project for the fair already and the fair isn’t even until next July.
What better opportunity to use your creative brain than to get together with a group of people?
If you ask a group of kids, many of them are going to say that arts and crafts is their favorite project in school. It can also be used as a future career someday in their life, but really it’s a good way to use that creative brain and get those creative juices flowing.
One thing I will say about arts and crafts is that it is important to try to find projects that are unique and not like everybody else. So if you do choose to use those, those group workshops, like our club is doing one next month, we’re getting together for a painting day, I’m still going to try to find some unique projects that not everybody might be doing.
So that is one thing to keep in mind. Also, it’s important to teach our kids and push ourselves to, to continue to think outside the box and be unique.
3. Self-Determined or Miscellaneous Non Livestock 4-H Projects
It’s called self-determined or it could be called miscellaneous, depending on where you’re from. It’s so open that you can really use anything in this category, but a big thing that I have seen in the transformation of hobbies into future careers. So if you have a hobby or your kiddo has a hobby that they love, that could be maybe a future career someday. This would be a really good project for you guys to engage in.
So, for example, if your child wants to be a veterinarian someday, maybe your child loves to volunteer at the local Humane society. Or maybe your child wants to be an entrepreneur and they set up a stand at the local farmer’s market selling cookies or something like that.
Think outside the box with non livestock 4-H projects.
These would be a really great self-determined project. Another example of self-determined non livestock 4-H project projects would be the Lego’s. You know, Legos are so easy to find a set or kit. Your family can get a Lego set. It needs to be age appropriate, but put it together and that can be a self-determined project.
And then finally the third one, sports. Maybe your kiddo is love sports, but there’s no real project for sports. The sports related. Well guess what? You can do a sports-related project and put it into the self-determined category.
One thing I have seen before is a young lady, she wanted to be, she wanted to go into nursing and, but she really loved sports. So she did her project on when she tore her ACL. She did a project on her recovery and what she learned through it. And it was a really good project. She really put a lot of thought and work into it and it turned out really cool. So that could also tie into a future careers well cause that’s when she kind of decided she wanted to go into nursing.
Self-determined or miscellaneous can be open. It’s open to anything. It’s so broad. So um, anything that you might, that might not fit into anything else, you can put it in there and call it a project. Boom. See for each is for everybody.
Next up is photography. Photography is non livestock 4-H projects that I wish I would have done in 4-H. I definitely enrolled my daughter in the photography project and got her a very own camera to play with.
She had a lot of fun last year with her club and getting together with them and shooting some pictures. She also shot some pictures at various places that we traveled to and it was her first year, so it was just mainly point and shoot, but really it’s about learning the rule of threes.
Honestly, the reason that I wish that I was would have been in it is because the line of work that I’m in now. Also seeing everybody else rising up in photography – it’s one of those creative hobbies that people are wanting to turn into businesses. In my line of work online, I want to have good pictures for my social media, for the shop, and for Pinterest when I am sharing my content on there.
So good pictures are very important.
With that said, photography is a really great project to get into because people want to see good pictures. If you can take good pictures, you’re going to get notice in the world and it’s only going to be getting bigger.
Anyone can be more marketable in the job space if you can take good pictures depending on what line of work you’re getting into. But even like insurance agents, they have to be able to take good pictures because what if your crop gets damaged or your house gets damaged? You know, they’ll come and take pictures and they have to be able to get really good pictures of the important things, right? So in photography project and 4-H kids learn how to find the perfect subjects, the perfect most important subjects that are going to get notice that people want to see.
It’s not only a really fun project, but it’s one of those that kids learn how to pay important notice to detail and that is something that’s going to help them later in life.
5. Public Speaking
Public speaking. It’s so scary. I admit that as much public speaking as I have done in my life, I still get nervous speaking in front of a crowd or even before recording a podcast episode.
It’s very important that our kids learn how to talk to people and that it’s okay to get up and talk to people. You know, someday they’re going to likely be in a situation where they are going to have to get up in front of someone. Or they’re going to have to talk to somebody important and we want them to be ready for that.
So public speaking is a really good thing to get into.
There’s lots of ways that kids can start out:
– Illustrated Talks
– Show & Shares
– Informative Speeches
– Project Talks
Public speaking is sadly something that I’m seeing less and less kids take part in, but more and more kids should be taking part in it in our day and age. It’s just so important that our kids learn how to talk to people and this is just a really good way to get them introduced to it. I can’t stress that enough.
6. Plant Science
This one is near and dear to my heart. I had to include this one in because you can grow plants anywhere even if you have a little pot or a raised bed on your patio.
Plant science includes flowers, gardens and crops. So, if you have a little pot that you planted a seed in and you got a Marigold to grow, that’s your project. And you can also do that with garden vegetables or even fruits. You can start an avocado seed plant from seed and a cup and that can be your project.
I mean, the possibilities are endless with this project and in this day and age, it’s so important to learn how to grow your own food because it seems like less and less people understand where food actually comes from.
So this is why I include the plant science project because I believe that it can be grown anywhere and anyhow, and it’s a really great project for anybody.
7. Natural Resources
The one’s kind of fun. It includes geology, entomology, wildlife and forestry. It’s the kind of project for kids who love hiking and finding things if they have a curiosity to them or they like to go out and look for stuff. This is a really good thing to get involved in. So geology is the study of rocks.
Entomology is the study of insects and forestry is a study of trees, plants, that kind of thing. With that they can have collections with geology, entomology or leaves branches, you know that kind of thing. With forestry they can make notebooks or displays along with that.
And another project that goes with that is wildlife too, so they can look for tracks or different wildlife type sentiments that can be involved in those projects too. It’s a good one to get kids out and about and outside and just enjoying nature at its finest.
Number eight is woodworking. This project is for those kiddos that like to work with their hands. They like to make stuff. Woodworking is a really great project for that or making something you can start out with a simple project. I made a toothpick holder when I was in my first year of woodworking, so it can be as small as that.
You can make something super useful for your house. You can make anything you want, a gift for somebody else and it can be, like I said, as small as a little toothpick holder and as large as a table.
The possibilities are endless here and it’s a really great project. Making things is a skill that nobody else can take away from you. That knowledge of making something. So making something out of wood is a great skill to know how to do. There’s also along with that, the ag mechanics side of it, which is welding or making something out of metal, that could be another possibility as well.
9. Domestic Arts
Oh my, the domestic arts category, cooking, canning, sewing. These are lost skills that our grandmothers knew how to do and that our generation is maybe bringing back a little bit.
When my generation was young, we did learn how to do them in 4-H but it wasn’t really pushed on us other than that. So our generation is grown now and we just don’t cook as much as we used to. We’re just too busy.
So this is a special call to bring those back to into the world because those are important skills to know how to do. The generation after me might even be worse off not knowing how to cook as a whole or even can.
I sadly never wanted to learn how to sew, so I never learned. I never wanted to learn, but now I wish I knew how. That’s why I call it a lost skill because many of us don’t know how to sew or can or even cook.
I think that some of those skills might be returning. There might be a greater push for girls and boys to be learning those lost skills. So I certainly hope so because they are important – Everyone should at least know how to cook for themselves.
Any one of these non livestock 4-H projects is life changing
These 9 non livestock 4-H projects that I talked about today are all great projects for youth and families to be involved with and grow and learn together.
Remember 4-H is a family organization, which means the project is for your family to enjoy together. That’s what makes it so great. That’s what makes it so different from other organizations and that’s why I love it so much.
So I’ve created a checklist you can download and print that will give you the steps you need to join 4-H and find success.
This is the online link to join
Please note that not EVERY state may have the 4-H online option so if you don’t see your state there, you’ll need to check with your county Extension office.