Healthy Living Club Challenge

4-H Fuels Wellness Title Image


                  4-H Healthy Living Club Challenge



Challenge Kick Off: November 1st - May 31, 2019

Clubs take part in the challenge by introducing a variety of healthy living practices during club meetings each month. Completing the challenges earns the clubs "miles" as they race across Iowa throughout all 20 regions of the state. This 1,400 mile route destination sure fulfills the definition of a challenge, but by working together as a team and setting goals to incorporate healthy living practices each month, we hope to see you meet or surpass the final mile by the end of June!

Regional Map with Challenge Route

Challenge Areas

Water Challenge AreaWater Consumption - 75 miles

Offer water as the main beverage at club meetings

Tips: How to incorporate water in a fun way

  • Infuse water naturally by adding fruit, vegetables or herbs
  • Freeze 100% juice in ice cube trays to add some fun flavors

Fruit & Vegetable Challenge AreaFruits & Vegetables - 100 miles

Include a fruit and/or vegetable as a snack choice

Tips: Create opportunities to try new foods or recipes

  • Offer new foods to try at club meetings
  • Invite a local farmer to visit the club and try their produce 

Physical Activity Challenge AreaPhysical Activity - 125 miles

Organize a physical activity to get moving for 10-15 minutes

Tips: Structured activities that encourages movement with all participants

  • Have youth lead group exercises or design their own
  • Try yoga as part of your meeting


Earn Your Miles

Each month, the club submits the online tracker for that respective month. The club will designate who will do this each month, whether it be an adult or youth leader. The link for the month will be found here on the webpage. Be sure to submit your progress monthly so results can be tracked and published by county and across the state. Don't wait until the end of the challenge to submit your monthly accomplishments, because each monthly tracker is due by the 10th of the following month. (For example: November tracker is due December 10th, December tracker is due January 10th, etc.)

In addition to the 3 main challenges, clubs can earn extra miles by completing the monthly bonus challenge outlined below. 

Registration is open!

Clubs can register for the challenge at any point between December-May, but they can only earn miles once they've registered. Earn 50 miles for registering your club and earn 100 more by electing a club Wellness Officer! If you already have a wellness/healthy living officer - then way to go! You can count those bonus points. 

Earning miles for the 3 challenge areas + a bonus challenge will begin in December!

BONUS Challenges

Every month a new "bonus challenge" will be made available. BONUS challenges can be completed at any time, but miles are only allocated once per challenge. When submitting your monthly tracker, include a short blurb and image of your club completing the BONUS in order to earn the extra miles.

DECEMBER: Social Wellbeing

In December, clubs were challenged to incorporate a TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITY into their club meeting. Social relationships is an integral part of our wellbeing and helps us establish a sense of belonging. Building relationships among club members is a great avenue for establishing a productive club and a safe space for all members to gather.

You are free to choose what activity to introduce but please review the examples below for ideas:

  • Brain Break Game: team building activity that encourages youth to utilize their creativity to develop a game that challenges you mentally and physically.

    • Divide group into smaller groups of 4-6 youth
    • Provide a prop to each group (preferably a different prop for each group)
      • Examples of props: play-doh, deck of cards, cones, poly-spots, beach ball, popsicle sticks, yarn, etc. (Use any every day item you may have around the house.)
    • Provide them 5-10 minutes to plan a short activity that focuses on the usage of the prop and involves the whole group.
    • Then have each small group explain and demonstrate their game for the whole group to take part in.
    • Depending on time, you may only get to practice each brain break for a few minutes - but keep that new activity in your toolbox and try it at full length in a future meeting. :)

JANUARY: Personal Wellbeing

The New Year is a great time to establish goals for oneself, so this month the bonus is about personal wellbeing and how we can grow ourselves through our passions, interests, and aspirations. To achieve the bonus, have your club take part in an activity that has members exploring their dreams and establishing a goal for this month or whole year. After members have established their own goal, consider having them discuss a TEAM GOAL they want to work on as a club this year.

Ideas are listed below varying for different age levels, but feel free to incorporate any activity you see fit:

  • Goal Wheel: Identify areas of interest and set goals for each theme. See Goal Wheel Worksheet to print or replicate for activity.
  • 3 Stars + a Wish: Have each youth come up with 3 things they do well (if you have star cut outs have them write one down on each star). Then have them write down one wish (what they want to work on, a goal related to do what they do well). See 3 Stars + a Wish Worksheet.
  • Vision Board: Have youth bring old magazines to meeting. Each youth has a piece a paper and collects images or text from different magazines that represents their interests and dreams. Have them decorate it and then share out at end to group sharing an aspiring goal that they have.
  • Interest Maps: Give each youth a sheet of paper and have them write down all their interests, connecting ones that have similarities. If they see a pattern in their interests have them focus in on that area and establish a goal. 
  • Goal Ladder: Utilize this Goal Ladder Worksheet to help older youth establish a set of goals to work towards their dreams.

FEBRUARY: Emotional Wellbeing 

This month we will be focusing on our emotional wellbeing - one’s emotions, feelings, and awareness or focus on their inner self. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains Mental and Emotional Wellbeing is “essential to overall health. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. Early childhood experiences have lasting, measurable consequences later in life; therefore, fostering emotional well-being from the earliest stages of life helps build a foundation for overall health and well-being.”

Introducing opportunities for youth to learn about their emotional wellbeing is an important component of our 4-H programming. Take time during your club meeting to incorporate a technique that will help youth build their emotional wellbeing.

Here are some example ideas of activities/conversations to have to meet the Emotional Wellbeing Challenge:

  • Have a conversation about anti-bullying: what do they see at school? How can they help others feel included? How can they address a bullying situation next time they experience or witness it?
  • Open your club meeting with 4-H Yoga which incorporates yoga poses with each verse of the 4-H pledge.
  • Self-compassion exercise with “I am…” statements: have youth write down 2-3 statements “I am …….” Acknowledging their strengths and attributes they recognize in themselves.
  • Gratitude Journal: Take time to reflect/acknowledge what you are grateful and then journal that in a Gratitude Journal.
  • Breathe and Smile Exercise from Mindful Teen book
  • Download an App that guide the group in Breathing/Listening activities to practice Mindfulness
    • Breathe; Insight Timer; Calm; MindShift; Headspace; and Smiling Mind, Stop, Breathe, and Think
  • Acts of Kindness not only fills other people’s hearts but also our own. Consider how the club could perform acts of kindness for others. Check out these ideas from Mindful Schools.

MARCH: Financial Wellbeing

Our overall wellness is influenced by different areas of wellbeing – many of which we’ve been learning about these past few months. Our awareness of financial health can have an impact on how we think, feel, act, and share with others. This month we will introduce ideas and strategies to increase the strength of our financial literacy. Learning skills early on can help prepare for the future when finances become a staple part of our daily life.

Check out these possible activities to explore healthy habits in finance from the Discover: Money Mentors Curriculum with Utah 4-H:

  • General:

    • Money Face and True/False Game: Cut out “Crazy $ Facts” and put under a few chairs. Once members are seated, have them look under their chairs and have the lucky winners read their fun fact to the group.
    • Sharing is Caring (role playing scenarios): One component of how we save and how we spend is also related to helping others. Role play a few scenarios and discuss how you may choose trade-offs in what you want for yourself so you can help those in need.
    • Money Values Worksheet: Challenge members to think about what money means to them and how they would spend or save it.
  • Budgeting:
    • Needs vs. Wants: The first step in deciding the use of our money is to categorize items we want versus items we need. Lead a discussion to get members thinking about what they really need and what items can wait.
    • The Bean Game: “Managing money means making choices. There is never enough money available for all of the things we’d like to have or do. This game will help you decide what is most important to you.” (Print out a few copies and bring along a bag of beans for supplies).
    • Tracking Your Spending: This resource is a tool for teens earning an income to track money coming in and be aware of the expenses going out.
    • Budgeting Tips Sheet has some good background information to share. 
  • Savings
    • Don't Throw Your Money Away: Participants listen to scenarios of how they may spend their money… see who makes it to the end with the most cash leftover.
    • Strategies to Save: Make mini banks based on your needs to take home and start saving for your goals. Have members bring small mason jars or recycled plastic bottles, decorate and label for your different needs and/or wishes. (ex: Fun with Friends, Car, Clothes, Movies, Summer Fun, etc.)
      • Experts recommend that we save a small percentage of the money we earn to put into savings. Encourage your youth to talk with their parents about a savings account if they don’t already have one.

*There are many more lessons available for middle school and high school age youth in the Money Mentors Resource.*

APRIL: Environmental Health

One area of wellbeing we may not often consider is how our physical and natural environments impact our personal and public health. This can include access to safe routes to be active, nutritious foods that are affordable, safe water to drink and maintaining healthy environments where our food is grown. It is important that we consider how we treat our environments so that we have sustainable access to our basic human needs for generations to come.

Consider one of the topics below to discuss at your club meeting to learn more about the importance of our environment and how that can impact our health:

  • Where Our Food Comes From: This activity will help you consider where foods in our diet come from. Are they “local” or do we depend on agriculture from greater distances. Consider how distance of transportation for foods may impact our physical environment and discuss strategies to produce and purchase more local foods.
  • Invasive Species: Learn about weeds and other species that interrupt or inhibit the safety of growing plants we need and food production we seek.
  • Pollinators: Discuss with your club the role that bees and other pollinators play in food availability. What would be the detriment to our food system if we didn’t have pollinators. (If you know of a student leader that teaches lessons from Native Bee Challenge, invite them to share information and an activity with your club about these pollinators.)
  • Decluttering Our Space: This is a stretch, but our environment can also include our personal space. The space we are in can impact our emotional health and decluttering our space helps declutter our mind of negative thoughts, emotions and feelings.
  • Nature Hike: Take a hike through the woods or down the sidewalk in the neighborhood your club is meeting in. During this hike have youth note the things they see  (different plants, bugs, animals, people, etc.). Afterwards, debrief on how they feel after getting some fresh air outdoors and encourage members to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day and try to get those minutes while outdoors if possible. *This could count towards physical activity challenge too!*

May: Community Wellbeing

Over the past 5 months, your clubs have been learning about the different areas of health and wellbeing. This month the challenge is take what you have learned and share it with others. Think of a way you can share healthy living with people in your county to help them live a healthier lifestyle.

Need some ideas? Here are a few examples from last year:

  • Build a raised bed at a nursing home so residents can garden from a wheelchair.
  • Create posters promoting healthy choices and place around town.
  • Present to your families, a community organization, or your school about making healthy changes.
  • If you have a community parade, create a float or display about healthy living.
  • Ask local farmer’s market if you can set up a display to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

Don’t forget to share your story and pictures with us by submitting your May tracker!



Family Newsletters

5210 partner's wordmarkIn partnership with our colleagues with the Healthiest State Initiative, Iowa Department of Public Health and Team Nutrition, we are incorporating messaging into our challenge and resources for families related to the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! movement to help kids and their families form healthy habits. Each month we will release a health themed newsletter created by our 5210 partners. On the backside will be a monthly tracker where your child (and family) can track their health behaviors related to the monthly theme. Goal setting is encouraged and we hope your family can establish a goal to try to accomplish together. 

  • 5 or more servings of Fruits and Veggies
  • 2 hours or less of Screen Time
  • 1 hour or more of Physical Activity
  • 0 Sugary Drinks - more water

 To find additional resources for your family please visit the 5210 webpage:

December - 5 or more servings of Fruits and Vegetables

Image for the 5 out of 5210Focus on how many fruits and vegetables you eat each day. The national recommendation for kids is to aim for 5 or more. It is good practice to consume more vegetables than fruits. On the tracking chart, color in or cross out the fruit and vegetable images as a serving is consumed. Here are a few tips to help you reach your daily goal: 


  1. Choose a fruit or vegetable for a snack.
  2. Fill 1/2 your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  3. Pick out a NEW fruit or vegetable at the grocery store to try!

Review the December newsletter for additional tips and ideas to help your family reach the goal of 5 a day!  december_family_newsletter.pdf

January - 2 hours or less of Screen Time

Image for the 2 out of 5210Do you realize how much time you actually spend on a screen each day? Research shows on average, youth spend 7 hours a day on screens recreationally (that's not including time spent at school). To decrease sedentary behaviors, the recommendation is to limit recreational screen time to 2 hours per day. Track your family's time on screens and total your minutes each day by coloring in the clocks on the tracking chart. Here are a few tips to help you and your family tackle this goal:

  1. Play a board game or read a book instead of TV time.
  2. Remove bedroom TVs and set limits on TV shows and/or movies.
  3. Identify active family activities like going on a hike/walk, swim at indoor pool, if you're lucky and have snow go out and build a snowman or a fort.
  4. Think of ways to make your screen time more productive: do exercises during commercial breaks, determine exercises that you can do during certain parts of a movie.

Review the January newsletter for additional tips and ideas to help your family reach the goal of 2 hours or less of screen time a day! january_family_newsletter.pdf

February – 1 hour or more of Physical Activity

A wphysical activityalk around the block, yoga poses before breakfast, planking curing commercials, a game of ball in the backyard or building a snowman or going sledding in these winter months are fun ways to incorporate exercise into our daily schedule. 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity may not seem so daunting if you break it up into segments throughout the day and what better way to accrue some of those minutes than to engage in them as a family. Aim for an hour of physical activity each day; check out these tips to help you and your family play your way each day!

  1. Break up the minutes throughout the day! 15 minutes in the morning before school, 15-20 minutes during school, and a 30 minute activity as a family in the evening.
  2. Join a local sports league through city park and recreation.
  3. Visit a local park and explore the trails.
  4. Try out a new activity based on the season, rent some skates or skis and try out the ice rink or some snowy trails.
  5. Try out these partner based stretches or exercises!

Review the February newsletter for additional tips and ideas to help your family reach the goal of at least 1 hour of physical activity each day! february_family_newsletter.pdf

March – 0 Sweetened Beverages

6 teaspoons a day (or 2 Tablespoons) is the recommended limit for women and children to have of added sugars each day. (10 teaspoons for men) 6 teaspoons is equivalent to 6 sugar cubes or the size of a ping pong ball. Added sugars our found in our diet and often disguised or in items we didn’t realize. One of the main culprits includes beverages. Pop, sports drinks, and flavored juices tend to be the obvious sources of high sugar amounts, but do you realize the flavored creamer in your coffee, flavored teas in a bottle, multiple refills of flavored milks all add up to that total added sugar amount consumed each day.

The trick is to be mindful and use moderation when choosing sugary beverages. The best tip is to choose water. Try boosting your water consumption each day and you just may see a decrease in the total sweetened beverages you consume.

  1. Fill up a water bottle in the morning, and try to drink 2-3 of them by the time you go to bed.
  2. Limit juice to 4 oz a day for kids (8 oz for adults).
  3. Freeze 100% fruit juice in ice cube trays, and place 1-2 cubes in a glass of water to flavor with real juice.
  4. Infuse a pitcher of water with fresh fruits or vegetables to naturally flavor your water.

Review the March newsletter for additional tips to help your family reach the goal of drinking more water and consuming less sweetened beverages. march_family_newsletter.pdf

April – Sleep Efficiency

Did you realize how important the amount of sleep we get each day and maintaining a consistent routine can impact our health? Work with your family to set up routine bedtime habits to increase amount and quality of rest each day. Adequate sleep helps our wellbeing through our emotions (feelings, mood, attitude), physical health (appetite, energy, metabolism, healing), and our ability to learn and flourish on a daily basis whether in school or at work.

Review our newsletter for tips to incorporate healthy habits to boost the quality of your sleeping patterns and to track your sleep for the month of April. april_family_newsletter.pdf

May – Mindfulness

The school year is wrapping up, county fairs are right around the corner, and it seems everyone’s schedules are busy-busy. This is a fun but hectic time of year, so have you considered techniques that can help your family unwind, distress and enjoy each other’s company? Mindfulness is a technique we can practice to be focused in the moment, essentially “paying attention on purpose”.

Read our newsletter to learn more about how you and your family can be mindful in May and try a few activities to do as a family. may_family_newsletter.pdf


Clubs that participate will be invited to Healthy Living Day at the Iowa State Fair to celebrate their success!

Counties that choose to participate have the option to incorporate more local awards or recognition.