KimsKorner: What taking care of animals can teach children

By Kimberly Jenkins - [email protected]

Photo from last year’s live-streamed swine show.

My column will be a bit different this week, as I figured so many of you will be at the Scioto County Fair this week, so I decided to talk about and find information about why it is educational when your kids take animals to the fair and why people love the fair.

County fairs are community celebrations that bring everyone together each year. Citizens come together to socialize, learn and enjoy good local food and entertainment. It’s events like these that many rural families plan their schedules around each year. (

What is it that draws so many of us to the Scioto County Fair? Is it the entertainment of the rides or shows? Is it the many choices of fair food? Is it the animals that are brought to the fair? Is it the activities that the kids can do? Or, is it just the people who come to the fair?

These are all good questions and I am sure they would have different answers from a variety of people. When I look back to the many years of my boys taking pigs to the fair and the abundance of hours we spent there daily, it brings me almost to tears. At the time, it was always so much work caring for the pigs before fair time. But when I look back at photos of the boys with their pigs and see the looks on their faces, I know it was all worth it. I can also remember the excitement they would have for being at the fair every day, I sometimes think I saw the boys more during a day there than I did at home because if they weren’t in the barn with us, they would have to check in every hour and you would know where they were most of the time. What I wouldn’t give just to have a few of those moments back, now that the boys are grown and are on their own. I hope Declan, my grandson, will get to experience some of these great experiences when he gets older.

As for what was learned in the caring of these animals, there is so much. I looked up some of the things that kids who have fair animals learn from the experience and here are some ideas.

Basically, a kid is tasked with the responsibility of purchasing or raising an animal and caring, loving and training it to be shown at an event like a fair or livestock show. … Showing livestock provides kids a sense of community, teaches important values and expands their horizons.

Observing and caring for an animal instills a sense of responsibility and respect for life. A pet brings increased sensitivity and awareness of the feelings and needs of others—both animals and humans. Kids learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival.

They will learn about breeds and characteristics of each breed. They learn how to identify desirable traits and make well-thought-out decisions. As they grow and mature, they must learn how to grow from mistakes made in past decisions. Next, youth must learn about proper animal care.

For a shortlist, Pets in the Classroom listed these 6 Lessons Learned Living the Stock Show Life:

RESPONSIBILITY. One of the greatest lessons working in the barn can teach us is the value of responsibility. …

COMPETITION AND CHALLENGING YOURSELF. Show ring competition provides an entire range of emotions to anyone who enters the ring. … LEADERSHIP. … FINANCIAL SENSE. … VALUES. … PEOPLE

Kids can reflect on the accomplishments in 4-H and FFA youth made during the year.

I also found that some feel the most important life skill developed through the exhibition of livestock by 4-H and FFA youth was social relations. Because social relations are learned and aid in the development of a person, they are considered a life skill.

Character development was a close second to social development. Responsibility was identified as being developed through the attention, time and care that animal project requires. Confidence was instilled in the exhibitors because they see that they can take care of an animal. Sportsmanship developed through livestock showing because it is a competitive event. Exposure to loss at an early age helps prepare youth for similar situations that will happen in life.

I am sure that the kids that have animals to show at next week’s fair would have various things they learn while preparing an animal for the fair and then competing with that animal. If I surveyed some of the kids of different ages, I still bet that the one thing they might say about what they like about the fair, it would come down to how much fun they have.

The fair last year was quite a disappointment to so many, The families that didn’t get to go, the people who were unable to see the animals, and especially the ones who had animals but only got to take them over and show and then take them home. They weren’t able to have their grandparents and others there to watch and cheer them on either. I can’t imagine how excited they are as the time approaches for them to return in full fashion.

I realize that some of you do not even attend or have an interest in the fair, that’s okay too. From what the weather man says, the week of the fair is going to be a scorcher. Upon reflection, that is one thing that I don’t miss about being out there every day. I plan on being at the Chicken and Rabbit Shows, taking photos and doing interviews. And I look forward to seeing smiles on all the kids’ faces that I see while I’m there.

During the summer, it has been my goal to possibly have things that will keep your kids from losing what they had learned through this year, whether it be virtual, in person, or a combination. With this past school year being as unusual as it was important to keep your children’s brain thinking some of the time. I hope what I have given you so far, has been helpful to some of you. I’ll have a few more ideas on the weeks before the new school year begins. God Bless you all and have a good week.

Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at [email protected]

Remember to be kind and love each other and continue to set a good example for our children. See you next week with new ideas and ways to help your children or ideas that may help you as you raise your children in some way.

Photo from last year’s live-streamed swine show. from last year’s live-streamed swine show.

By Kimberly Jenkins

[email protected]

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights