Resources listed here emphasize skill building, science exploration, design analysis, consumer awareness, and community engagement.  Developed by Cornell faculty and students, they are appropriate for use by school-age childcare programs, scouts, schools, science centers, and other youth agencies.

The Activewear Advantage

To learn about the materials, design considerations, and STEM  involved in designing activewear, check out the materials below, developed with funding from the New York State 4-H Foundation. 

Go Figure!

Go Figure! is an interactive web-based program that engages youth, ages 8-19 in science, technology, and math experiences. Users follow jean trends, calculate their average Frisbee throw, make a Smoothie, and measure their water use. Visit the Go Figure website and try it!

The Fabric/Flight Connection

The Fabric/Flight Connection explains the role of textiles in aviation. Youth explore the principles of aerodynamics, textile properties, and functional design.
The manual is available on eCommons @ Cornell

In-Touch Science

In-Touch Science, an NSF-sponsored program, helps children in grades 3-5 to understand the science connection between different fields of study and to recognize science concepts in their daily experiences. For information on training modules, evaluation reports, workshops and more, view the In-Touch Science website: In-Touch Science was developed and distributed with funding from the National Science Foundation.

4-H Clothing Curriculum

 An introduction to non-sewing or minimal sewing textile activities such as weaving and tie-dyeing.

Fabrications introduces basic weaving techniques for young people to learn to weave, braid, twine, wrap and loop yarns into a decorative textile.  A culminating team design challenge utilizes all of these structures.  The activities are available below in individual and collective pdf formats.  They are also available on eCommons@Cornell

Collective Fabrications pdf

Individual Activities:
Weaving Plain, Cork Coaster
Weaving Twill, Cork Coaster
Weaving Satin, Cork Coaster
Braiding, Bracelet
Wrapping, Keychain
Twining, Basket
Ghiordes knot, mini-rug or coaster
Weaving, placemat
Design Challenge

A community service project that encourages youth to make research-based, age-appropriate recreational items for persons who have Alzheimer's disease. Patterns and detailed instructions are included for 16 items such as sensory vests, fleecy muffs, message magnets, and stress balls.

  • National 4-H Resource Directory describes curricula that have been reviewed and approved by 4-H and are sold through the 4-H Mall.
  • Winky Cherry has written a series of hand and machine sewing books for young children.  Available from bookstores and online.
  • Bunkhouse books by JoAnne Gagnon teach girls and boys how to sew clothing for themselves as well as items for their homes.
  • 4-H Clothing Curriculum
    • Adventures in Clothing (Unit 1 - Beginner): This youth manual addresses the clothing topics of textiles properties, construction, selection, care, safety, and community service.
    • Challenges in Clothing (Unit 2 - Intermediate): This youth manual covers the same topics as Unit 1 but at a higher level, plus it includes information about personal grooming and appearance. 
    • Strategies in Clothing (Unit 3 - Advanced): This manual is designed for boys and girls who are experienced in the project and capable of more complicated projects.
    • 4-H Clothing Leader's Guide: A manual for educators and volunteers who lead youth in Units, 1, 2, and 3.