Winter Break Boredom Busting

— Written By and last updated by Tamara Carawan
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Christmas carols have been playing for weeks, the Christmas tree is up, and decorated, there’s even a few wrapped gifts underneath, but I can hardly believe it’s Christmas. With many holiday traditions, and gatherings put off, or cut down, it’s a very different Holiday season than last year. However, there is a holiday tradition that can stay the same. Winter Break Science Experiments!

There are many things to love about science experiments, the mess, the questions that get asked, the laughter. Many of our 4-H Science Experiments can be done with things you already have in your home. 4-H has a ton of super fun experiments. I have a few favorites, one of those is ‘What’s an Experiment?’ which is all about teaching kids about the scientific method. It’s a great way to get kids asking questions, and even better seeking answers.

What is an Experiment? An experiment is the process used to test a hypothesis (idea), or to demonstrate a fact. So how do we go about learning? Actually, we learn by observing, hypothesizing, and conducting an experiment. We start with an empty 16 oz bottle, ½ a cup of white vinegar, one side of a tissue pulled apart, and two tablespoons of baking soda. (If you want to have a lot of fun add some food coloring.) Place your bottle in a tray to catch the over through. Gather the kids around, add the vinegar to the bottle, add the two tablespoons of baking soda, and let the kids observe.

Ask the kids what they observed. Then hold up a plastic baggy and ask them if they think they can make it explode with the right combination of vinegar and baking soda. Ask them to choose three amounts of vinegar ranging from ¼ a cup to 1 ½ cups of vinegar. Then ask them to choose three amounts of vinegar between 1 tablespoon and 5 tablespoons. Then ask them to hypothesis which combination will make the baggy explode. It’s important to remember to use the tissues as a delayed release, otherwise the gas created by the reaction will escape and will not make the baggy explode. You can access a free print out of this experiment on our website.

Fun science experiments aren’t the only things to do. You can also sign up for the The Coastal Plains Chicken Show project. It’s one of our favorites, and we look forward to it every year! If you don’t know what a chicken show is, you are in for a treat! The Chicken show project spans over several months. Participants will raise their chickens (Broilers or Layers) from chick to full grown chicken, learning how to properly care for their chicken as well as how to properly show a chicken.

You can learn more about the Coastal Plains Chicken Show and access registration information on our website. The chicks will be sourced and purchased by the 4-H Staff. But that’s not the only thing for you to check out. If you are interested in a program that will take you a little further afield, check out the 4-H Pen Pal Program, a new twist on the much loved 4-H Foreign Exchange Program.

How does the  4-H Pen Pal program work? If you sign up for the program, your 4-Her will be  connected to a same gender, similarly aged youth in a country of their choice (if possible). The 4-Her and their pen pal will exchange letters at least twice a month, beginning in mid-January and continuing until at least mid-April. At the end of the program, NC 4-H will facilitate an online forum to allow participants to share their experiences, what they learned, and what they are going to take with them going forward.

One of the things I value the most about 4-H as a program, are the friendships not just within the county program, but across the state, the nation, and internationally that I and so many others have been able to create and keep. The ability to connect with others, to learn about their world, traditions, and to share our own in turn is a paradigm shifting experience. If you are interested in participating in this program or would like more information you can access it on our website.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about any of these programs, follow us on social media for real time updates or give our office a call 252-745-4121. To register for these or any 4-H program, check out our website: All registrations are on online. If you are interested in our Spring Fun Programs or want to learn more about the 4-H Program in Pamlico County contact Kait Neeland at (252) 745-4121, or, or check us out online at Don’t FORGET to REGISTER, spaces will fill up!!