Save Money on Outdoor Activites for Kids with 4-H

Since we’ve begun homeschooling, we’ve had more time to explore outside activities for the kids, than we did when they were in public school. In the past, we had only allowed the kids to do one outside activity at a time, in addition to AWANA.

But now that we don’t have homework to contend with, we’ve allowed the kids to pick more activities. And they both picked 4-H.

Our neighbor first suggested 4-H to us, when we adopted our dog, Chloe. She told us that if our daughter joined 4-H, she could participate in the dog training club and basically get a dog obedience course for next to nothing. And it didn’t matter that our dog is a mutt from the pound. 4-H takes all kinds of dogs.

Our daughter decided she was interested, and we signed her up. She had her first dog training session last night, and it went really well! And since 4-H costs only $25 for the entire year in our area, we can’t complain about the cost!

In addition, if my daughter wanted to, she could sign up for more 4-H classes, at no additional cost! There are clubs for beef, knitting, marine science, public speaking, and much, much more! I was not a 4-H kid, so this is all new to me!

We were so impressed with the dog obedience class, that we asked our son if he wanted to sign up for 4-H Adventurers, so he could explore the different areas of 4-H. Since he’s not old enough to participate in the traditional 4-H program, we figured this would be a great way to expose him to different things, so when he hits 4th grade, he can jump right into a regular 4-H club. And the Adventurers club is only $2 a year!

With the high cost of extra-curricular activities these days, we’ve found 4-H to be a high quality, low cost program, where our kids can learn a wide variety of practical skills.

Were you in 4-H? How about your kids? What do you think?

Photo by pamzpix.



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By , on Oct 20, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{21 Comments}

  1. 4-H is great! I did it for a few years when i was young, too. Raising geese, chickens and pure bread rabbits. Its not so much the cost of being in 4-H, but the expenses of raising animals.

    4-H is a great organization for raising confidence in kids.

    I am curious, now that you home school the children… did you work before the homeschooling? How does the family afford to pay for extracurriculars being on one income? I always wanted to homeschool my kids.

  2. Faye McElroy:

    I had a foster child with development disabilities. Every year 4-H held a daylong program for the group where they played with goats, sheep, chickens, horses and other animals. They did crafts that were entered in the state fair. Every child got a ribbon for his or her entry. It was presented to them with great fanfare! 4-H members helped and learned to work with the children. My downs syndrome guy had a blast each time and most of it was free! Good job 4-H, keep on!

  3. 4-H was my main activity from 4th grade through high school! I showed rabbits, dogs, arts and crafts, small engines, you name it, I tried it at least once! I even had a sheep! Now we don’t have any kids of our own but I am the leader of our county’s 4-H dog training club. It’s such a great program and I’m so happy to hear your kids are enjoying it! We have several homeschooling families that use 4-H to supplement their curriculum and that to me seems like a great idea!

  4. I grew up in 4H and really enjoyed it. I did some cross stitch projects, brought a cat each year, and showed my horse. My horse and I made it to State twice! It’s a great activity and I’m sure your family will love it :)

  5. I am not sure if we have a 4-H in my area. It sounds great. But I am finding even though I am homeschooling I am really busy and we are barely home, so I am trying to stop doing so much stuff outside the home.

    Mon. at 12:00pm my son has a standing dooctor’s appointment. Then at 1:00 we go to a homeschool gym class; by the time we get home at 3 we are done with schoolwork for the day.

    Tues. & Thur. we leave at 9:30am to go to a homeschool co-op, we get home about 4:00pm (we do History, Science, and P.E. at co-op.) Tues. night we have soccer practice.

    Wed. we leave at 9:30am to go to Latin, art, and art appreciation at another co-op. Wed. night we have church activities.

    Thur. night I do aerobics.

    Fri. at 10am I have a class for about an hour, then we homeschool after. Fri. night we also have soccer practice.

    Sat. in am we have soccer. Then at night I work.

    Sunday we go to church and we try and have family / relax time.

    Since I am a single mom my boys go to all the above activities with me, I even bring them to work with me on Saturday night.

    I still have to figure out how to add food shopping and house cleaning to all this. LOL.

    So I would like a little more at home time.

    I do like how inexpensive 4-H sounds. Soccer was $55 for one season. My older son will start basketball in Dec. and that was $20 for one season. My older son also wants to do guitar lessons which are $100 a month, which I can not afford right now. My younger son also wants to do karate, which is about $125 a month, which I defanitly can not afford.

    • Lynnae:

      I’m finding that homeschooling equals a busier schedule than public schooling! LOL

      But yeah, sports are expensive (I have one in soccer), as are music lessons. I was fortunate in that my daughter wanted to play a band instrument, and our school district is homeschool friendly. She’s learning to play the flute in the middle school band, and I don’t have to pay anything.

      I haven’t even looked into things like dance & karate. Choir is bad enough at $160 for the year.

  6. Greg:

    We’ve been looking for something new for our kids (that doesn’t cost a fortune). Thanks for the idea!

  7. Erin:

    Was in 4-H for about 10 years and HAD A BLAST!!!! I would still be in it if I could, but unfortunately had to grow up, though some of my friends stayed and become coordinators in the area!

  8. Love 4-H! Was VERY involved when I was younger (8-19!) and the money I earned for my livestock was a huge help for college. So far my kids are not involved as we are having trouble finding a fit, but I do hope they are able to someday. Such valuable life lessons and so. much. fun.

  9. marci:

    ps – not to mention free passes to the county fair for the kids… but not for the parents :)

    • Lynnae:

      Oooh. I didn’t even think about that!

      Now to see if my hubby can get media passes to the fair or something…

  10. marci:

    Didn’t have it in my area when I was a kid.
    But my kids were all in it – and I was an associate leader.
    And now my grandkids are joining as they become of age – and
    my daughter is helping as an associate leader this year.

    Good wholesome activity with lots of life activities and especially a lot of learning about following thru with the paperwork, and responsibility.

  11. Deb:

    We have done 4-H for the past 3 years and really enjoyed it. The local level fairs are a great way for kids to get some exposure to being in front of a crowd, taking care of animals, etc and the judges are very kind and gracious. For only $10 a year per child (and you get a free t-shirt), it is a very minimal investment. My kids have done sewing, dairy, dogs, horse, arts and crafts and woodworking. It is a great opportunity for children to learn new skills and gain confidence and a great opportunity for parents to pass on their many skills that get neglected in the day to day “busyness of life.” 4-H is not just for farm kids, they have a HUGE variety of classes from which to choose, from scrapbooking and cake decorating to computers and robots. I would highly recommend it.

  12. Aggie CO:

    I was in 4H as a kid, and loved it! Our county fair events include the 4-H dog obedience trials, and it’s amazing to see how well the girls work with dogs of all sizes, breeds/mixes, and temperaments. I’m sure your daughters will enjoy the whole experience!

  13. Loved your post! 4H is awesome! I was an Extension Agent before a SAHM – and I am really looking forward to when my kids can participate! (They are still little!) You have a wonderful blog! This is my first visit (via Sarah’s Musings) and I like your tuestday meme! I noticed you do a friday favorite links list? I participate in a Friday Favorites too over at Daily Dwelling – many of those bloggers also home school! Have a great day!

  14. Melissa:

    4-H was my life when I was in school. I can’t say enough good things about it and I credit 4-H for enabling me to be where I am today. The life skills learned are priceless and I wish you and your children the best. My Mom maintains that she learned just as much as I did. It’ll be an adventure you will never regret!

  15. Bitsy:

    I was in 4-H as a kid for many years. I remember most being teased by the (all-Caucasian) 4-H campers for being Asian. (Of course, that was 20+ years ago.) I also, however, remember my mother teaching me to cook and sew for 4-H projects. So it was definitely a mixed experience of positive and negative for me.

    • Lynnae:

      Shame on your 4-H leaders for allowing that to go on!

  16. I have no experience with 4-H personally but I know quite a few kids that are involved and it seems like a wonderful program and just a side benefit that the costs is so much less than other activities.

  17. Trudy G.:

    4-H is a great program in so many ways! My whole family participated when I was young including my mother being an instructor. It’s a great way for children to learn arts that are slowly being lost such as knitting, crocheting, cooking, etc. It is also a wonderful way for children to meet other people as it is not limited by school districts. I think that is a good thing for your children to become involved with 4-H and wish you all the best!

    And good luck to your daughter with the dog obedience training!! Obedience training is a bonding experience like no other. I joined a local obedience club for just $20 a year which gets me access to a professional trainer on a weekly basis. I have two half-breeds that I will probably never compete with but it is well worth my time training to have two dogs that are well behaved and I am able to take out in society without fear of what they may do.

  18. I did 4H for many years and loved it! I rode my horse, learned to shoot a bow and arrow, and even dabbled in canning with my mom. I am so glad you are doing that with your kids!

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