Recognizing our Emotions

Many people have difficulty dealing with emotions. As caring adults (4-H advisor, parent, guardian, etc.) we should talk about emotions with the children in our care. Emotions are those instinctive reactions to one’s given circumstances. In children you might see tantrums, crying, pouting, breaking things, or the silent treatment, among others. Sometimes as parents we want to jump in and fix things just like we did when our children were babies. To build our child’s resiliency skills, we need to step aside and be the supportive person “outside their box” as they are dealing with their emotions “inside their box”.

Triggers are those actions or events that when they happen, the individual responds with a strong immediate reaction. Triggers cause a sudden change in our emotions and our body becomes overwhelmed with reacting to the event. Sometimes referred to by parents as “pushing my buttons”, these words or actions bring about an instant reaction. Personally, one of my triggers is when someone scrapes a metal fork on a glass plate. My immediate reaction is to plug my ears. Self-awareness is an important skill for parents to develop in their children. It allows them to recognize emotions, triggers, and responses.

Self-Awareness: Circle of Identification

Here is a very simple activity that can be done with crayons and paper. You might also use cardstock or light-colored paper, especially if you encourage the child to take the paper home. This activity is most effective if you have a small group of children or a large group of children with several adults (i.e. 1 adult for each 3-4 children).

  1. Preprint a circle divided into 3 equal sections on the paper. Have extra copies depending on time available, but 2-3 copies per child is recommended.
  2. Give each child one paper and share the following instructions, one at a time, allowing all children to complete each step before moving on to the next step.
    1. Explain what an emotion is (angry, embarrassed, happy). In one of the sections of the circle, instruct the children to draw a picture of an emotion they have experienced.
    2. Define a trigger and give examples. In a different section, have them draw a picture demonstrating something that might trigger the emotion they selected in the first space.
    3. In the final space, have them draw a picture of how they deal with that emotion.
  3. You can use another sheet and redo the activity using another emotion.
  4. In summary, talk with them about the value in being able to identify their emotions, identify their triggers and evaluate their reaction to that emotion. This is key to really understanding the concept of self-awareness which allows youth and adults to handle both good and bad situations in life.

As caring adults, we can model feeling words by defining the exact emotion you are experiencing at that time. Avoid reactions like foul language, yelling or aggressive physical reactions, because you are modeling these as appropriate reactions to certain emotions. We can all agree that resiliency is a vital skill for youth and adults.  Building the concept of self-awareness is a step to preparing youth (even at a young age) for future success.


Pincus, D. (2020, September 1). My Child is Out of Control: How to Teach Kids to Manage. Medium.

Sadowski, K. (2020, August 31). 8 Tip to Help Your Child Gain Control of His/Her Emotions. Medium.

Setting Your Goals

All of us have had to set goals for personal or professional reasons in our lives. Some might be in a habit of setting goals; others might be doing them out of necessity.

WHY are we talking about setting goals for Cloverbuds?  A study from Brown University (Pressman et al., 2014) concluded that routines and habits in children take root by the third grade. This means that habits like household chores and responsibilities are unlikely to vary once a child reaches the age of nine.  As a Cloverbud Volunteer, you are in a great position to start teaching the useful habit of goal setting. When encouraging them to set goals, think about the age of the child and their abilities. Younger Cloverbuds are more likely to respond to a picture of their goal versus words, but older Cloverbuds might be able to read and will find it fun to write out their goals for the year.

Setting one goal is the ideal place to start.  Encourage youth to think about something they want to do (go to the zoo, play at the park) or something that they would like to learn (ride a bike, make cookies) to help them started. At this age, their minds are full of creative thoughts. A great place to start is with a blank sheet of paper with the wording “I would like to…”  This gives them the option to write or draw a goal they might have for the future.

We feel much satisfaction from accomplishing our goals, so plan a way to celebrate!  Celebrating achievements is vital to instilling joy and excitement of a job well done.  That joy and sense of accomplishment is what drives us to set another goal!

It’s Slime Time!

We are all fascinated by slime!  There are so many different colors, textures, mixtures, and ingredients used to make slime. A classic favorite that has been around for quite some time is Oobleck. Oobleck was cool before slime was cool! Take some time with your Cloverbuds to make some Oobleck.

Make sure you have a space that can get messy, gather all the ingredients, and wash your hands before you begin.


  • Small bowl
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1.5 – 2 cups of cornstarch
  • Spoon – optional
  • A few drops of food coloring – optional


  1. Pour water into a small bowl.
  2. Begin adding cornstarch to the water. You can stir with a spoon at first, but you’ll need to use your hands as the mixture thickens.
  3. As you are mixing the cornstarch in you may add the optional food coloring.
  4. Once you’ve added 1.5 cups of cornstarch, add the remaining amount a little at a time. You may not need it at all.
  5. You are looking for a consistency that is liquid and solid at the same time.
  6. If you find you’ve added too much cornstarch, add a little water to thin it out.

Oobleck is a great tool to use when teaching hands-on science concepts. Once you have created your Oobleck, take some time to play with it.

Discuss the following science concepts:

  • Is it a solid? Or is it a liquid? – Answer: It acts as both!
  • What is a solid? – Answer: matter that retains it’s shape when not confined.
  • What is a liquid? – Answer: a substance that flows freely.
  • What other things can be both a solid and a liquid? – Answer: water/ice, rock/lava

Store your Oobleck in an air-tight container. Be sure to tell your Cloverbuds not to eat their Oobleck!

Cloverbuds in the Kitchen

During this time of virtual learning and meeting remotely, it may feel difficult to keep Cloverbud members engaged during club meetings or find activities they can do virtually. A great activity for Cloverbuds is to encourage them to help with a simple recipe. A club favorite is making chocolate chip cookies which teaches younger members kitchen basics, such as measuring, as well as how to follow directions.

Use the recipe below and write each step out on a note card.  You can number them on the back in order to make sure the steps are correct. Once you have all the steps written, lay the cards out and ask the members to read the cards with you. Remember that some of the words may be new to younger members and they may need your help reading.  After reading all the cards, ask the members to put the steps in order. Use the cards to match the ingredient to each step. If you have Cloverbuds in the kitchen with you, this is a step that will keep little hands busy while waiting to mix the cookies.

After all the steps are lined up and the ingredients matched, have Cloverbuds help you add the ingredients and make the cookies. If you are using this activity while meeting in person, you can have each member take turns adding an ingredient.

While cookies are baking, you can talk to Cloverbuds about MyPlate, the importance of proper nutrition, and why cookies should only be a treat in our daily diets.

If your members have the “My 4-H Cloverbud Year” activity book, here are some suggested phrases they can record for this activity:

  • We made chocolate chip cookies.
  • We learned to work together.
  • We learned to share.
  • We learned how to take turns.
  • We learned to measure ingredients.
  • We learned to read new words.
  • We followed directions.

Helping Your Children during the COVID-19 Crisis

It is a very different time right now. The COVID-19 virus has changed, for many of us, how we are living and working. Our Cloverbud age children are adapting to learning at home through online methods. They are missing their teachers, classmates and the routine of the classroom. Many parents are trying to work at home and help their children with the learning process. As everyone adjusts to these rapid changes, it is important to remember that children look to adults for guidance.

The Centers for Disease Control reminds us to remain calm and reassuring when talking to children. Children pick up on both what you say and how you say it. The CDC also reminds parent and other caregivers that language blaming others should be avoided. Everyone should avoid making assumptions about who gets the virus. It can make anyone sick regardless of race or ethnicity.

The National Association of School Psychologists suggests ways to be a role model for children and provide this guidance.

  1. Consider how you talk about COVID-19 and social distancing – These are topics that may be hard for children to understand. You can remind your child that you are doing everything you can to keep your family and other loved ones safe and healthy. Your children know that they miss their friends but may not understand why they cannot see them right now. You can explain that your family is following the guidelines of health experts who know that we must stay away from others to keep healthy.
  2. Focus on the Positive – One of the advantages of this time is that many of us are together as a family more than usual. You can play games together, sing, organize belongings, go outside or anything else your family enjoys. Use this as a time to reconnect.
  3. Establish and maintain a daily routine – Research shows that keeping a regular schedule provides a sense of comfort and well-being. Having this routine can help your child feel in control when other things are out of his or her control.
  4. Offer lots of love and affection

Another suggestion is to monitor television viewing. Watching constant coverage of the COVID-19 virus situation can cause stress for both you and your children. Some of the information may not be developmentally appropriate for your child and cause anxiety and confusion. If your Cloverbud has access to the internet or social media, remind them that the stories he or she sees may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.

Your child may have questions about the current situation. Let your child know that you are willing to listen to him or her. You can let your child’s questions guide your conversation. It is important to provide age appropriate truthful information. Your Cloverbud needs brief, simple facts. You can give them examples of how to stop germs from spreading. Let them know that you and other adults are working hard to keep them healthy.

In the interest of helping your child stay healthy, the CDC recommends telling he or she to stay away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing or sick. Remind your child to cough or sneeze into his or her elbow or a tissue (and make sure to throw tissue in the trash). Teach your child good hand washing habits.

Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Parents have a lot of responsibility right now and are also adjusting to rapidly changing situations. Do those things that help you destress – read a book, take a bubble bath, listen to your favorite music, pet your dog or cat. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of your child.

Russell, W. T. (2020, March 16). 10 tips for talking about COVID-19 with your kids. Retrieved from PBS News Hour:
Sievering, K. (2020). Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19. Retrieved from National Association of School Psychologists:
Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019. (2020). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:




Learning the 4-H Pledge like Do-Re-Mi…

Let’s start at the very beginning , a very good place to start.  When you read you begin with A-B-C, when you are in 4-H we start with Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

What does it all mean?

I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking” – HEAD stands for decision making, planning, organizing, problem solving and using knowledge throughout life.



“My HEART  to greater loyalty”– HEART stands for strong personal values, positive self-concept, ability to show concern for others, cooperation, and communication.




My HANDS to larger service”– HANDS stands for volunteering , community service, workforce development, science and technology literacy and useful skills.





“and my HEALTH for better living for my club, my community, my country and my world”- HEALTH stands for healthy lifestyles, character, ethics, stress management and disease prevention..


How can we teach our youth the pledge?

  • Say the pledge at each meeting after The Pledge of Allegiance
  • Recite one line at a time
  • Teach the hand motions
  • Give your youth an opportunity to lead the pledge during a meeting
  • Offer the Cloverbuds an opportunity to recite the pledge at the county project fair



Tips for Kicking Off the 4-H Cloverbud Season and Finding the Right Resources!

This might be your first year serving as a Cloverbud 4-H Volunteer or maybe you have been volunteering for many years. No matter where you are in your Cloverbud Volunteer Service planning each season should be fun and exciting for you and the members. We know you work hard to build and maintain a strong 4-H Cloverbud program. You already have an awesome club and you know your Cloverbud members, but now what do you do to plan?

Volunteers have good intentions to plan a wonderful season of hands-on Cloverbud events, snacks, games, learning and more. However, life sometimes happens and the season is not planned because of a lack of time or volunteers could not find resources and help! Here are a few easy tips as well as Ohio 4-H Cloverbud resources to help you navigate for a successful season as a 4-H Cloverbud volunteer! The Ohio 4-H program and 4-H professionals want this journey to be fun and rewarding for you and the members. Below you will find tips to help you know your resources and plan for your 4-H Cloverbud Season.

 Tip #1-The first tip is to start at your County Extension office. Call or email your county 4-H professional to see what trainings and information are available for 4-H Cloverbud volunteers. Your county Extension office may offers kits, trainings, conference scholarships, supplies or even funding for clubs to use for Cloverbud programming.

 Tip #2-It is a great idea to pick a 4-H season theme. Ohio has so many wonderful resources for you to use designed from food to animals to stem. This might help you narrow down the resources and meet the needs of your members. For example, if you are a volunteer in a livestock 4-H club with younger members interested in taking livestock projects, one day you can tailor your lessons to meet their interests. Other ideas might be nature, outdoor fun, stem, foods and nutrition, our country and many more.

 Tip #3-Set the Cloverbud meeting structure. It might help you, your members and their families if they know what to expect during a Cloverbud meeting. Cloverbuds might start out meeting with the entire club (ages 8-18 years) and after the pledges and attendance head to their own meeting room for specialized Cloverbud programming. You design the length of the Cloverbud session, order of events and what will be included. For example, a Cloverbud meeting could include a get to know you activity, lesson, hands-on activity, game, snack and closing.

Tip #4-Ask for help at the club level. It could get costly designing and providing Cloverbud lessons so ask other volunteers in your club to bring in needed supplies. Put together a list of supplies you need for the season and see how the club members, parents and co-volunteers can help. You might also have a need for special guests or speakers and others in your club could be a resource. See if your county Extension office offers kits, supplies or even funding for clubs to use for Cloverbud programming.

 Tip #5-Talk to other Cloverbud volunteers in your county to brainstorm. Reaching out to peers in your county can give you new ideas or even a foundation to follow when getting started. Sometimes just having time to talk with other volunteers is what you need to get inspired for the season.

 Tip #6-Attend workshops to help you learn more about the program. Take advantage of any county, region or state trainings and conferences that can help you learn more about your volunteer role with Cloverbuds. This can be a great platform to learn about new resources and get new ideas.

Tip #7 -Know what resources Ohio 4-H has for you to utilize for Cloverbud members. The Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Team and staff have worked hard over the years to develop a variety of educational materials to help you in your role and the members reach their goals as  Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Members.  Visit the state site to learn and explore the various resources:

The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities

My 4-H Cloverbud Year

Clover Cubes

Choose and Tell Cards

4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook 

4-H Cloverbud Connect to College

Bioenergy Curriculum

Horse Curriculum Instructional Materials

Click It, Print It, Do It…Activity Pages

Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud resources and help you plan for your most exciting 4-H Cloverbud season yet!

How to Start Your Own Six-Session 4-H Cloverbud Club

Ohio 4-H now offers an innovative approach to grow community clubs and reach more youth. 4-H SPIN (SPecial INterest) Clubs allow volunteers to host a short-term club experience by focusing on a particular subject matter. 4-H Cloverbuds are just one focus area for SPIN Clubs. Other topics for older youth might include gardening, bicycling, geology or rocketry. However, for Cloverbud clubs, volunteers will use the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Curriculum as the main source for meeting activities. SPIN Clubs meet for six or more weeks/sessions, for a minimum of at least one hour a week.

A 4-H Cloverbud SPIN Club can now operate as a standalone club without the requirement of being attached to club for youth ages 8 and in the third grade and older.

A typical 4-H Cloverbud meeting might include:

  • Welcome & Get Acquainted Activity
  • Recite Pledges
  • Cloverbud Activity from The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities
  • Recreation Activity
  • Closing & Announcements
  • Refreshments

The 4-H Cloverbud program is an informal educational experience through which parents, other interested adults, and youth help young people develop confidence, social skills, decision-making abilities, subject matter knowledge, and physical skills.

The program allows for and encourages creativity and play. It is an excellent opportunity for children to reach their fullest potential because early life experiences, even subtle ones, affect future development.

Typically, 4-H Cloverbud children explore these subject areas: healthy lifestyle, environmental and earth science, citizenship and civic education, plants and animals, consumerism and family science, science and technology, personal development, and community and expressive arts.

The 4-H Cloverbud program is developmentally age-appropriate for youth age 5 and in kindergarten to age 8 and in the third grade. Children are involved in noncompetitive group activities, rather than individual projects. In doing so, the children learn life skills, which include getting along with others and feeling good about themselves.

The program brings members, parents, and volunteers together to have fun and learn to work together in meetings, activities, and special events. Parents are encouraged to become involved.

Resources to Help Volunteers Get Started with a New Cloverbud Group

  • 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook provides a reference and overview for helpers.
  • My 4-H Cloverbud Year helps Cloverbuds track their activities and events.
  • 4-H Cloverbud Blog houses lessons, activities and ideas for Cloverbud programming.
  • The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities includes hundreds of activities and lessons for volunteers to lead at Cloverbud meetings and events. Here is a sampling Cloverbud meeting topics from The Big Book:
    • Weather Fun
    • The Five Senses
    • Science of Sound
    • Making Air Work
    • Storytelling
    • Sports Fun
    • Fitness is Fun
    • Safe at Home
    • Food Fun
    • Healthy Food Choices
    • Nature Fun
    • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Wildlife
    • Valuing Family
    • Experiencing Disabilities
    • Our Flag
    • Our Country
    • Money Smart
    • Stitch it Up
    • Pets
    • Feathered Friends
    • Super Seed Fun
    • Ant Antics
    • Bugs & Butterflies

Interested in learning more about starting your own Cloverbud SPIN Club? Contact your local OSU Extension Office for complete details.

Ada Twist, Scientist – A Cloverbud Reading Adventures Activity

The Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures Series incorporates literature, crafts, games, and snacks into a fun-filled program for children in grades K-2.  In Ada Twist, Scientist, we meet a precocious second grader who looks at the world through a sense of discovery.  Her need to explore and understand everything around her began with her first word at the age of three – “WHY?”.  From that time forward we are drawn into the amazing journey of this young scientist as she pokes, smells, sees, tests, tries, puzzles, and quests to learn “how it ALL works”.

The book is beautifully illustrated with experiments and materials that Ada used in her research.  To determine the cause of a pungent odor, Ada Marie conducted several investigations.  Your Cloverbuds can do their own explorations by using the “How Smart is Your Nose?” activity from The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities.  Place different “identifiable aromas” in sandwich bags.  Blindfold the children and ask them to sniff the contents of the bags.  Have them ask questions to figure out the scents.

Ada also dropped tablets into 2-liter bottles which caused an explosion of colorful soda.  Although this may be a fun messy outside activity, another less messy inside experiment can also be conducted using clear carbonated water or soda, a clear plastic cup, and raisins.  Pour liquid into the cup.  Add a few raisins.  Wait for it – the raisins will begin to rise and fall as if doing a dance.  Why?  Carbon dioxide bubbles are released from the carbonated beverage.  They attach to the rough surface of the raisins and cause the raisins to float to the surface of the liquid.  Once the bubbles pop and the gas is released, they return to the bottom of the cup.  This up and down movement will continue until the soda is “flat”.  Try other foods such as pasta, corn, or candy.  How do they perform?

For an edible science snack, make fruit sorbet in a bag.  Pour one cup of fruit juice in a quart-size zip-close bag.  Seal the bag.  Place that bag into another bag the same size.  Seal the second bag.  In a gallon size zip-close bag, place 4 cups of ice and 3 tablespoons of coarse ice cream salt.  Put the small sealed bags in the larger bag and close tightly.  Have Cloverbuds shake the bags for about 5 minutes while wearing winter gloves.  Take the inner bag out and pour into cups.  Enjoy!  Why did the mixture freeze?  Salt added to ice lowers the freezing point.  The melting ice absorbs heat making the mixture cooler which causes it to freeze (Source: Science Fun with Kitchen Chemistry).

Have Cloverbuds make a picture journal of what they learned.  Encourage them to find out more about other children who sought solutions to challenges by raising questions and developing better ways to make things work in the book, Kids Who Are Changing the World.  May you never lose the wonder of “WHY”.

Teaching Cloverbuds to Identify and Manage Anger

Anger is an emotion that all people experience from birth to death.  When an infant is upset or frustrated, the only tool they have to communicate those feelings is crying.  As we age, we develop the ability to communicate our emotions to others by using words and behaviors.  Oftentimes, adults expect young children who are dealing with anger to use coping tools that are not fully developed, such as “using their words” instead of crying.

Helping our children understand anger and develop skills to communicate that emotion can alleviate frustration for both child and adult.  Here is a simple plan to use with your club to begin the process:

Opening Discussion – Have a short discussion with members using these questions:

  • When is a time that you felt angry?
  • How can you tell if a person is angry?
  • What do you do when you are angry?

Read a story – There are many great children’s books about dealing with anger. Try one of these:

  • When Sophia Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
  • When I am Angry by Michael Gordon
  • When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman

Debrief the Story – Reviewing what happened will help members identify what to do and not do when they experience anger.

  • Ask what happened to make the character(s) mad.
  • Ask what the character did to calm down.

Make a Calm Down Bottle – This simple craft is easy to make and is a tool that members can take home to practice coping with anger.


  • Water bottle for each member
  • Corn syrup
  • Funnel
  • Tablespoon
  • Glitter
  • Hot glue gun (optional)


  1. Give each member a water bottle and have them drink or dump so that it is halfway full.
  2. Using the funnel, have each member add a 2-3 tablespoons of glitter to their bottle.
  3. Add corn syrup to the bottle until it is full.
  4. Hot glue the lid on (parents will appreciate this step!)
  5. SHAKE the bottle and watch the glitter swirl.

Teach each member to use their calm down bottle.  Discuss that this is a tool for them to use when they feel angry.  They just need to shake the bottle and then sit quietly and watch as the glitter settles to the bottom.  If they still feel angry when the glitter has settled, they can shake it again for a longer cool down period.  Challenge your members to use their bottle instead of yelling or crying when they feel mad.