Recreation in 4-H club meetings

Having some time for recreation opens your mind for creativity and keeps you active while having some fun.

Why is it important to make sure recreation is included in a 4-H club meeting? How important is having a fun activity to get youth up and active? Not only is this an important piece of a 4-H club meeting, it incorporates many life skills youth need to become successful adults.

Recreation is an important factor in having successful club meetings. Having a variety of fun activities adds enthusiasm and enjoyment to the meetings. Developing leadership is one of the top life skills youth can learn. Getting in front of a group of youth and adults and actually leading an activity helps with public speaking, communication and nervousness.

4-H club meetings need to include fun and social interaction among youth of all ages and for adults as well. The variety of fun-filled activities adds so much more enjoyment and gets youth up and moving. “Games and Activities” by North Dakota State University 4-H states encouraging physical activity in children, adolescents and adults is important. Research shows youth who are involved in physical activity are more likely to be physically active adults.

Additionally, tying in education, which can and should be fun, helps the 4-H club overall. 4-H Club Recreation Resources and Activities from Iowa State University 4-H contains resources in which volunteers and teen leaders can use to help with decisions on what type of activity is needed and how long the activity should last. Some clubs have a different recreation committee for each meeting while others elect recreation officers for the year. A few ideas are games, charades, relays, sports, puzzles, party for parents, picnics and hikes. Refreshments can be part of recreation with different members responsible through the year.

Listed below are different types of recreation that teens and leaders can include in their club meetings. Guidelines to follow range in many ways:

  • Game leader: Include quiet games, large or small group games, or paper table games.
  • Song leader: Action songs are fun.
  • Get acquainted games: Use when it is the first club meeting of the year or if there are a lot of new youth.
  • Dancing: Folk, international, line and many others.

Using the Experiential Learning Model, a five-step process is easily defined using recreation activities: experience, share, process, generalize and apply. Once youth experience the activity (first step), then they can share what they learned (second step) by asking questions regarding the activity, which leads into the processing the activity (third step). Discussing and looking at the experience and reflecting upon it leads to generalizing (fourth step) by trying to connect the experience to other examples. Finally, youth apply what was learned and use it in a different situation (fifth step).

Use your imagination and create your own games using new twists on old standards. For more information on 4-H and clubs, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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