In this year of the coronavirus pandemic all 4-H staff and volunteers have had to pivot from in-person programs to virtual programs, AND so did the school system. Our 4-H members have had a double whammy of virtual programs and spend a lot of time on their computers. So, how do you continue to keep your members engaged in this environment? They might really want in-person 4-H meetings, but right now you are not able to do that. What you can do is provide them with a sense of belonging by bringing them together with their 4-H friends online. You can also provide a sense of stress release by making learning fun. As a bonus, you can even impart some subject matter knowledge as well.
4-H staff know that some of our volunteers are having trouble keeping members engaged. We have been gathering resources to help you with virtual club meetings until we are able to do meetings in person. Successful club meetings in this virtual format may not look like your regular meetings. Youth are “Zoomed out” from school. Many will only participate if it is going to be fun and stress relieving. That does not mean you can’t teach them anything; you just need to couch the learning in a fun delivery mode.
There are platforms that can be used to help make your club meetings fun. If you do not have the computer skills to run the games, why not ask your teen leaders or co-leader to run it for you? Why not pool resources and work together with other clubs in your same project area? For example, I am encouraging all horse clubs (small animal clubs, dairy clubs, etc.) to meet together – that way only one leader has to create a meeting, rather than every leader creating an activity each month. I suggest having virtual meetings as a division – the members miss each other and like to see their 4-H friends.
I hope some of the resources compiled by one of my colleagues will help you. Contact your local 4-H staff – they know how many Zoom accounts may be available and can help you set up a meeting.
Fun Games and Activities to Play on Zoom
- Jeopardy – this site has free Jeopardy boards on a variety of topics already on their site. You can also use their template to create your own Jeopardy game on any topic. I simply took Dairy and Horse Bowl questions and inserted them into a blank template. Here is a sample I made for Dairy.
- And for you horse enthusiasts, here is one sample from the many horse Jeopardy games.
- Scavenger Hunt – this can include “things” (e.g. an old picture not from the phone), to acting out something (e.g. act out a washing machine), to fun dance moves.
- Bingo – either make your own card or go to this site.
- Kahoot – interactive game using your phone or computer.
- Scategories – the rules for this game are simple: there is one letter and five categories (things like “school supplies,” “book title,” and “girl’s name”). You have 60 seconds to come up with a word that fits in each category and starts with the chosen letter. The more unique your answer is compared to your friends’ answers, the more points you get.
- Trivia – start asking questions. Have each person send their answer in the Zoom chat at the same time. Make up your own questions or go to this trivia generator.
- Name, Place, Animal, Thing – to play, pick a letter. Each player has to list a famous person’s name, a place, an animal, and a thing that begins with that letter. The first person to type them into the Zoom chat wins.
- Pictionary – to play, divide your group into teams. Choose a team to play first, as well as a designated “drawer” on that team. The drawer generates a word and has one minute to draw that word for their team to guess. If the team guesses the card correctly, they get a point. Pick your own words or go to this word generator.
- Charades – split your group into two teams and make up your own or use this site to choose your words and phrases. The person who’s acting out the charade uses the Zoom “spotlight” feature, and their team has one minute to figure out the phrase.
- Imaginary Ball Toss – this is a great “Ice Breaker” activity for the new 4-H year when youth do not yet know each other. Pass the imaginary ball to different people. You must call their name first so they can be ready to catch it! Everyone must catch and toss the ball one time. You may even do multiple balls at once (but makes sure everyone can do one ball well first).
- Animal Calls and Movements – assign an animal call and movement to different animals (e.g. for dog, you would be barking and wagging your “tail”). Call out that animal and everyone does the sound and movement together.
We will share more ideas in future posts. Have fun!
By Carol K. Ward, County 4-H Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Resource list compiled by Lisa S. Rothenburger, County 4-H Agent.