Four ways to make craft projects into more!

Projects can easily include career, financial and entrepreneurial education to expand youth learning.

In 4-H and many other youth organizations, still projects such as crafts, sewing, and fine or visual arts are very common for youth to participate in and develop a finished product.

While the focus can be on the project and the skills developed in creating the birdhouse or building a robot, Michigan State University Extension can help you find ways to infuse career, financial and entrepreneurial education into still projects to take the project to the next level!

  1. Encourage youth to explore the entrepreneurial areas that exist in the still projects. There are opportunities to develop businesses around many projects, either as a club or as individuals. 4-H project businesses can be a great side business (and first job experience) for many youth. To take it a step further, bring in an entrepreneur who can explain details on how they started their own company as well as share success and challenges of business ownership. There are many resources for entrepreneurship on the Michigan 4-H Youth Development website.
  2. Have youth brainstorm the life skills they have gotten out of the project they are participating in. These skills are ones that can be listed on resumes and job applications. Lesson number 1 in Build Your Future: Choices, Connections, Careers provides an activity that can be used to help youth explore this idea.
  3. Develop a budget for the still project with the youth. Many times this is a forgotten step, but there is a great deal of learning that can take place in looking at how much an item costs to create, from start to finish. Youth can learn the benefits of shopping around for bargains for supplies. If the club starts looking at entrepreneurial avenues, this can lead to a discussion of break-even point and how to determine the price point of selling an item.
  4. Have youth practice the business handshake. Regardless of the project type, interacting with others (judges, customers or other adults) can teach youth the correct way to shake hands and make a good first impression. This is a skill that takes some practice, and this is a good place to build a youth’s confidence in how they present themselves.

Consider the simple ways your group can infuse financial, career and entrepreneurial education topics into your still project. Whether it is woodworking, photography, web design or some other creative endeavor, your group can build skills in these areas to build youth success and add to their readiness for life.

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