Child Development

girl helping young boy

Are You Into It?

This 4-H project is designed to help you explore the world of child development. From discovering how children develop to creating safe places to grow to learning leadership skills, you are bound to love all the opportunities available with child development projects!

  • Learn basic skills needed as babysitters, adults, and potential parents
  • Identify characteristics of children ages birth to six
  • Discover more about yourself and others

Here’s what you can do all year!

Starting Out Basic / Level 1

  • Investigate ways people grow (mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically)
  • Celebrate differences in yourself and others
  • Observe how people express emotions
  • Learn about responsibility and self-motivation
  • Identify home safety hazards
  • Keep children safe from toys that are choking hazards

Learning More Intermediate / Level 2

  • Learn to plan fun and safe home-alone activities
  • Sort and select age-appropriate toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • Identify children’s strengths and talents to work effectively in teams
  • Discover healthy food choices in planning and making meals
  • Explore safety concerns as a home inspector
  • Develop street smarts

Expanding Horizons Advanced / Level 3

  • Explore careers in the child development field and job shadow professionals
  • Learn child guidance and discipline techniques
  • Learn about disabilities that create special needs for children and adults
  • Study a public building to evaluate accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • Learn about parenting roles and responsibilities
  • Observe a child’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills

Take It Further

Child Development Hot Sheet (color pdf)
Child Development Tip Sheet  (color pdf)
Poster Exhibits Tip Sheet (color pdf)
Exhibitor Fair Information Form (Word or editable PDF)
Exhibit Evaluation Form (pdf)
Here are other opportunities to explore Child Development

  • Contact your County Extension office to participate in local child development project workshops and babysitting camps.
  • Apply to be a summer staff member at the Iowa 4-H Center after you graduate from high school.
  • Showcase child development exhibits at county, regional, and/or state fairs.
  • Enroll in first aid training for children and babysitter training courses through the American Red Cross.
  • Consult a dietician to see how to plan and prepare nutritious meals for children with special diets.
  • Invite a fire chief to talk to you and your friends about fire safety at home and while babysitting.
  • Assist with a local Clover Kids group
  • Start a Safe Home Project in your neighborhood with your family and friends.
  • Develop your own babysitting business or organize a free one-day child care service for holiday shoppers or parents during parent-teacher conferences.
  • Form a babysitter support group with your friends and classmates.
  • Attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference and participate in workshops, listen to motivational speakers, and participate in a community service project; bring ideas back to your club and community
  • Interested in a college education in the area of child growth and development? Schedule a visit with Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences and the Human Development and Family Studies Department

Step It Up

Pass it on! Now that you know how, share it with others. Here are ideas to get you started.


  • Read books or stories you have written to younger children
  • Create a puppet show to teach children street smart safety tips
  • Visit with Clover Kids members about their county fair projects


  • Complete a Service-Learning project
  • Collect puzzles, games, and toys for a local child care center
  • Create and deliver a coupon booklet with things you will do with a child
  • Assess the safety of a community playground and work for changes


  • Organize a toy drive and donate items to children in the community
  • Volunteer in your community to help with 4-H educational Clover Kids activities
  • Create a family job chart

Exhibit Ideas

  • Develop a “Me Collage” displaying pictures of you, your favorite things, and what makes you special
  • Create a display of a choke-tube tester and toys that are safe and unsafe
  • Illustrate how to make a Family Job Chart
  • Showcase a book you have written, illustrated, and shared with children
  • Prepare an age-appropriate scavenger hunt and display the results
  • Demonstrate the development of a fun and safe home-alone plan/chart
  • Rate the safety and appropriateness of various toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • Illustrate how to make a family tree with symbols and clay
  • Demonstrate the steps involved in planning for and preparing healthy meals for children
  • Show how to inspect a home using a home safety checklist
  • Create a poster that rates the safety of community playgrounds
  • Illustrate accommodations that could be needed for a child with a disability to participate in a classroom or child care center
  • Develop a checklist for parents to use to evaluate children’s television shows
  • Create a portfolio that illustrates a child’s developmental ages and stages
  • Prepare a poster showing the pros and cons of a discipline technique
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