Sewing and Coding Camp Increases Interest in STEAM

What do you get when you combine conductive thread, LED lights and a holiday theme? If you guessed a light-up holiday sweatshirt designed and created by North Dakota 4-H’ers, you would be right!  

For a group of 4-H’ers who are interested 4-H STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) activities, a recent sewing and coding virtual workshop was the perfect place to work on their skills.  

Hosted by Lindsey Leker, North Dakota 4-H Youth Development specialist, two virtual sewing and coding camps were held in December of 2021.  

More than 40 4-H’ers, ages 11 to 15 years old, signed up for the virtual camps and were then sent  

the supplies needed to participate.  

Leker taught the basics of circuitry, design and coding over Zoom and the 4-H’ers then designed and sewed light-up holiday sweatshirts and bookmarks.  

“This was such a fun way to introduce the basics of coding to youth and for them to complete a project that they could wear or show off to friends and family around the holiday season,” says Leker. “But more importantly than that, I hope it was a springboard into more complex projects and possibly the catalyst for careers in the STEM field.”  

Malory Kemp, a 4-H member from Helping Hands 4-H Club in Pembina County, plans to showcase her light-up sweatshirt at the North Dakota State Fair.  

“It is easy to get frustrated with the circuit shorting out if you are not careful, but when you finally find success and have the lights working, it feels very satisfying,” says Kemp. “The most fun part has been teaching others at Pembina County’s Project Expo about how to use the circuits and LEDs to create their own light-up fashions.”  

Leker plans to offer more virtual sewing and coding camps in the summer of 2022. The North Dakota 4-H Camp in Washburn, ND, also is offering an in-person STEM camp for ages 10 to 15 years on July 17-21.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:, or find and follow the North Dakota 4-H STEM page on Facebook

Lindsey Leker, 701-231-7039,


Top of page