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Pre-Meeting Activities

Program Contact: Yakima County 4-H Program Coordinator
(509) 574-1600 •

Pre-Meeting Activities

This page is adapted from the PDF “Pre-Meeting Activities:  The First Part of Your 4-H Club Meeting” by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

As youth arrive to the 4-H meeting, do things ever seem awkward or chaotic as they wait for the meeting to begin?  Are newer members or members coming to their first meeting being welcomed and what impression are they getting of the club environment?  Planning pre-meeting activities can help to organize arrival time and to create spaces for youth to connect, whether this is their first or their fiftieth club meeting.

The Benefits of Pre-Meeting Activities

  1. Kids are engaged from the moment they walk in the door, allowing the leader to prepare for the meeting.
  2. Kids connect with their fellow 4-H’ers before the meeting starts as they work together on an activity.
  3. Activities can help 4-H’ers focus their energies so they are ready for business when the meeting time starts.
  4. Parents and youth can both be involved in designing activities or helping at project tables, fostering a deeper connection between families and the 4-H club.
  5. Youth feel a greater sense of belonging and inclusion in the club if they participate in these social activities with their peers.  This inclusiveness stems into the other essential elements of youth development, including mastery, engagement, caring adults, safe environments, and self-determination.
  6. Pre-meeting activities promote youth being on-time for meetings, as they want to be there for the fun right from the beginning!

Pre-Meeting Activity Ideas

Pre-meeting activity stations don’t have to be complicated!  Set up one or several tables fifteen minutes before the meeting starts.  As members arrive, they can circulate between the stations, working on the activities, before the meeting starts.  Activity tables can be a mixture of educational activities and activities that are just for fun.

Starter Ideas:

Art Activities
  • Work with others or individually to draw a picture of a common item, such as a penny, without looking at it.
  • Draw a still-life from a basket of objects or tableau on the table (such as a basket of fruit or a scene made with wooden toys).
  • Make a puppet from a paper sack, a sock, or other objects.
  • Create a magazine clippings collage.
  • Make a straw rocket out of paper and see how far it flies.
  • Draw the funniest face you’ve ever seen.
Team Building Activities
  • Work as a team to complete an A-Z Scavenger Hunt of items around the meeting space.
  • Write your name backwards and practice pronouncing it.  Introduce yourself using your backwards name to everyone who enters the room.
  • Design the room – have club members sketch different ideas for the meeting space they can propose as alternatives to the current setup.
  • In a small group, design a scavenger hunt others can participate in as a future meeting’s pre-meeting activity.
Club Spirit Activities
  • Create 4-H lyrics to a popular commercial jingle, such as “My bologna has a first name, it’s OSCAR…” or another short popular song or nursery rhyme.
  • Make thank-you notes from the 4-H club that can be used throughout the 4-H year.
  • Figure out how many words you can make from the letters of 4-H leaders’ names.
  • Have a 4-H member share their working exhibit as a make-and-take activity.
Community Service Activities
  • Make simple fleece toys for shelter pets.
  • Brainstorm possible community service projects or service learning projects.
  • Write or draw a response to your previous community service or service learning project.
Just-For-Fun Activities
  • Guess now many candy hearts or jellybeans are in a jar.  Whoever has the closest guess wins the jar.
  • Learn a life-skill such as sewing a button on a piece of fabric.
  • Set up a breed identification game for an species of animal.