Summer Fun with Cloverbuds

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and be active with your children.  Helping youth get into the habit of enjoying fresh air and sunshine can’t start early enough.  Many young people prefer electronics and television in their spare time, but if we break that habit early, fun play time can become the norm.

According to Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in a Psychology Today article, numerous screen-related factors trigger stress or hyperarousal.  Some of these factors include reward/addiction pathways, intense sensory stimulation, bright and blue-toned light, media multitasking, interactivity and rapid pace, and electromagnetic radiation.  She goes on to say, “Because chronic stress effectively ‘short circuits’ the frontal lobe, a hyperaroused and mentally depleted child will have trouble paying attention, managing emotions, suppressing impulses, following directions, tolerating frustrations, accessing creativity and compassion, and executing tasks”.

This is reason enough to head outside and enjoy fun play time.  Some things to try with your child:

  • Go fishing
  • Read a book under a tree
  • Dig in the dirt
  • Plant a garden
  • Pick flowers
  • Chase a butterfly
  • Look for bugs and other creepy crawly things
  • Lay on your back and look at the clouds
  • Roll down a hill
  • Go on a picnic
  • Fly a kite
  • Blow bubbles
  • Draw with chalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Hula hoop
  • Climb a tree
  • Jump rope

This is Your Child’s Brain on Video Games, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201609/is-your-childs-brain-video-games

So, go outside and explore the great outdoors!

Introducing the Newly Update and Revised 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook

This resource was fully revised and updated just for you, the 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Leader, to help you be fully prepared and engaged to make a positive impact on our youngest 4-H members.  It provides accurate and readily accessible information that is everything Cloverbuds.  The guidebook explores the goals and strategies for successful implementation of the 4-H Cloverbud program. The guidebook has been evaluated for both content and quality.

The guidebook contains the following sections:

  1. 4-H Traditions
  2. What is the 4-H Cloverbud Program?
  3. 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Position Description
  4. 4-H Cloverbud Participation
  5. Who Are These 4-H Cloverbud Children?
  6. Eight Essential Elements
  7. 4-H Cloverbud Program Foundations
  8. What Do You Know About the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Program?
  9. For New Volunteers: Conducting 4-H Cloverbud Sessions
  10. Expanding 4-H Cloverbud Opportunities
  11. Planning Your 4-H Cloverbud Club Activities

When using the guidebook, you will: 1) gain knowledge for best practices; 2) learn enhanced strategies and techniques for conducting 4-H Cloverbud activities; and 3) learn why and how the program is set up to have the most positive impact on Cloverbud kids.

Here is a link to more information from OSU Extension Publications: https://extensionpubs.osu.edu/cloverbud-volunteer-guidebook/ Remember you can always get a discount when your order through your local Ohio county Extension office.

Thank you for making an impact on the lives of Ohio’s children!

No-Sew Sock Bunny

Spring has arrived and so have the sights and sounds of baby chicks and baby bunnies.  Whether you are looking outside, walking through the holiday/seasonal section at the store, or viewing the live animals for sale at your local farm store, bunnies are easy to find.

A No-Sew Sock Bunny is an easy craft for Cloverbuds.  It also provides the opportunity to share additional information about the benefits and responsibility of owning and caring for your own animal.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cup
  • Funnel
  • Permanent Marker (fine point tip)
  • Ribbon
  • Rice
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Sock

Steps:

  1. Use the cup and funnel to pour rice into the sock up to the bottom of the heel. Use a rubber band to seal off the sock and keep the rice inside.
  2. Use a rubber band to section off the head from the body of the bunny.
  3. Depending on the length of the sock, part of the unused sock may need trimmed to shorten the ears of the rabbit. Use the scissors to cut the sock into two ears above the head and trim each ear to have a curved tip to the ear.
  4. Cut a piece of ribbon and tie it around the neck of the bunny to hide the rubber band.
  5. Use the permanent marker to mark one small dot for each eye and mark an X for the mouth of the bunny.
  6. Make a tail using a small rubber band to section off a small part of the back of the bunny’s body to form a round tail. You can also glue part of a white cotton ball to the bunny as an alternative tail option.

*Adjustments may be necessary based on the size of sock utilized for the craft.

Cooking with Cloverbud Math

Let’s take a look at math in the kitchen. You can use math skills like measuring, counting, fractions, weighing, and estimation. Utilize your whole group by having each Cloverbud help with making the snack. You can divide the jobs and ingredients among each Cloverbud (example one Cloverbud can measure the flour and another the sugar).  That way everyone is involved.  Here is a recipe that works great to give each Cloverbud a job.

Waldorf Salad

  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup seedless grapes (cut in half)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 T sugar

Prepare the fruits & celery (supervise children when using plastic knives). Mix mayo and sugar. Carefully toss mixture with dressing. You can use any fruits or veggies that you choose especially if you have more than 5 Cloverbuds.

A fun activity for your Cloverbuds is to fill a measuring cup with water. Pour the water into different bowls or containers that are different shapes. Does it look different? Now pour it back into the measuring cup to demonstrate that the amount hasn’t changed. 

Bring a small scale and let the Cloverbuds weigh the ingredients and measure them in a measuring cup to compare two different units of measure.  Of course what is math without counting? This snack mix will lend itself to weighing, counting and sorting skills.

Ranch Snack Mix (makes 7 servings)

  • 8 oz. miniature pretzels
  • 24 oz. Bugles
  • 8 oz. nuts
  • 8 oz. miniature cheddar cheese fish-shaped crackers
  • 8 oz. mini club crackers

Put ingredients in a large plastic Ziploc baggie. Sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons envelope ranch salad dressing. Drizzle with 6 Tablespoons canola oil; toss until well coated. Air dry.

Measure one cup of sugar (or other ingredient), then measure again using half cup, third cup, and quarter cup measures. Talk about how they’re different. Then demonstrate that you can measure two half-cups and it equals the same amount as one cup. Here is a recipe for:

No Bake Peanut Butter Squares

Combine:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla

Add to mixture: 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers

Press mixture into an 8” pan.

Melt: 1 cup chopped peanuts with 2 cups chocolate chips

Spread over mixture in pan. Let it set up before eating.

This recipe could also be doubled and the Cloverbuds could help rewrite the recipe so it can feed more people or even reduce it to feed less people.

Fruit and cheese kabobs are a fun way to add patterns and sorting to your Cloverbud math skills. All you need are grapes, strawberries, and bananas or any fruit, along with some small skewers or toothpicks. The Cloverbuds can make their own pattern and then draw the pattern on a piece of paper. They can make a quick dip with yogurt and a dash of cinnamon.

There are a lot of recipes that you can adapt to encourage math skills, so have fun. Happy cooking!

2019 Ohio 4-H Cloverbot Challenge

Remember when you were six years old? Grown-ups were giants, the world was big, and in your imagination, you could be whatever you wanted to be! This year’s 4-H Cloverbot Challenge will focus on those childhood career goals with the theme “When I Grow Up…”

The 4-H Cloverbot Challenge is a statewide event designed just for our youngest 4-H’ers. Teams work together to research a topic, build a model out of interlocking bricks and create a poster highlighting their experience. On June 29, the teams will come together at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center to share their work, visit with one another, participate in kid-friendly activities, and celebrate their efforts with a closing celebration and award ceremony.

What’s the best way to learn about careers? Invite a firefighter, veterinarian, mechanic, or author (or whatever job might interest your Cloverbuds) to a team meeting, so they can learn firsthand what a day in the life looks like. Take a field trip for an on-the-job view of the career. Or of course, help them search the internet to get all the details about what it takes to excel in the selected profession.

Teams may have a minimum of two members, but no more than eight, and are coached by an adult team leader. Details and registration information can be found at https://ohio4h.org/families/cloverbuds/cloverbot-challenge

Questions? Contact Beth Boomershine at boomershine.10@osu.edu or Sally McClaskey at mcclaskey.12@osu.edu. And a special thanks to the Ohio 4-H Foundation for their ongoing support of the Cloverbot Challenge.

 

Get Up and Dance!

Dancing has always had a positive impact on youth development. Whether it’s doing the Macarena, partnering in a complicated square dance, or moving across the room with a waltz, dancing has been a huge part of our history.  It is a valuable tool to use when teaching skills such as fine motor development, pattern recognition, discipline, teamwork, and more. We can use dancing to teach our Cloverbuds developmental skills while also having a good time.

Great dances for Cloverbuds will:

  • Have a simple structure that is easy to follow and consists of 3-5 steps
  • Have a repetitive pattern of steps
  • Utilize a short song of no more than 3 minutes
  • Have a medium tempo (too fast and they can’t keep up with the steps, too slow and they will lose interest)

Circle dances are a great tool to use with Cloverbuds.  Circle dances can be done in any group size and everyone does the moves together. This allows the youth to watch each other as they are dancing, so they can easily follow along.  In order to be sure your dance works, test it with a small group before trying it with a large group of Cloverbuds.

After you’ve taught the dance steps to the youth, call-out the instructions as they are dancing to help them.

Here are some songs and dances you can use but always feel free to create or find your own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jCn7Xgru1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZxoE2Rj49I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0hzZUbIXio

 

Hearts of Knots

Background: If you can’t sleep, count sheep….Why do we count sheep to go to sleep? Is this just an old wive’s tale to help us fall fast asleep? Perhaps, we remember stories from centuries ago that tell us how shepherds counted their herds of sheep every night before bedtime. Legend has it, knowing that all their sheep were in a safe place relaxed and calmed the shepherds, allowing them to fall asleep quickly.

Sheep are multi-purpose animals; they can give us meat, milk, and wool. With today’s lesson, we are going to explore more about wool. The wool from one individual sheep is called fleece, while wool from many sheep combined together is called a clip. Wool can come in different forms depending on the sheep. Long wool sheep have the heaviest fleece; it is normally long and coarse. Medium wool sheep grow a lighter weight fleece, while fine wool sheep produce the more valuable, smaller fiber wool that is less likely to itch when made into clothing.  Wool can be used for clothing, rugs, hats, carpets, blankets, yarn, felt, socks and so much more. However, there is a greater demand for wool than the sheep can produce. To solve this problem, we have to turn to technology. In the 1980’s, textile researchers at Malden Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts experimented with a fur like fabric made from polyester.  The product was called “polyester fleece” or “polar fleece.” Polyester fleece is extremely warm due to its structure, which allows a space for air pockets between the threads. This polyester fleece can be found in many everyday clothing products.

We are thankful to sheep for giving us wool and science for developing polar fleece which meets so many of our daily needs. As part of our lesson we are going to learn about giving to our community, our loved ones, and people in need. Just like service is a big part of being in 4-H, many careers involve giving back to the community. Today we will explore service career options and use polar fleece by making a no-sew blanket, which we will give to someone in need. We will also make heart pillows to take home that remind participants of the careers we will explore and the feeling youth experience by giving to someone in need.

Local Career Connections:

Careers to discuss that provide community service needs:

  • Caregivers: Social Worker, Counselors, Senior Care, Child Care, Health Care.
  • Emergency Responders: EMS Personnel, Nurse, Firefighter, Emergency Room Doctors.
  • Environmental: Scientists, Engineers, Conservationists, Park Rangers, Government Agencies, Foresters.
  • Community Organizations: Homeless Shelters, Animal Shelters, Food Pantries, Drug Rehabilitation Centers, Veterans Organizations, Crisis Counselors, Educators.

Science Behind :

Polar Fleece, or polyester fleece is a synthetic or man-made material that has been used to make underwear for astronauts, deep sea diving suits and even ear-warmers for winter-born calves. Due to its light-weight make up and ability to hold heat, it is perfect for cold weather clothing.  You would never guess that it is made from recycled plastic bottles!  First, the plastic bottles are shredded into small chips, then sorted by color and cleaned. Next, the plastic chips are dried in a large oven, until all moisture is removed. Then the plastic is melted into a dense liquid that is pushed through a showerhead-like nozzle which forms a thread like structure.   At this point, the thread is still weak so it is heated, combined, and stretched to increase the strength. The final process is to tear apart or crimp the thread so that it looks like fabric. At this point, the short, fluffy, hairy fibers look very much like wool. The fibers are then inspected and sent to a carding machine where it is made into rope-like strands called fleet. The thick ropes are then fed into a spinning machine and twisted into a much finer diameter, and the yarn is collected on a large spool.  Next, the circular knitting machine weaves the yarn into a continuous tube of cloth.  To make the material fuzzy, it needs to run through bristles which are called the napper which makes little loops. It is then sent to the shearing machine to be trimmed, and smoothed out, giving it the fluffy feeling we enjoy. Once the plastic is completely transformed into cloth, the manufacturer will cut and sew the cloth into a garment.

What to Do: (Depending on time or skill level of participants,  the instructor could pre-cut the heart patterns.)

Step 1: Cut squares large enough for your heart pattern.  Place two of the fabric pieces together and trace your heart pattern with chalk.

Step 2: Cut both pieces of fabric along the chalk pattern.

Step 3: Trace a smaller heart pattern within the large heart. Be sure to leave at least 2-3 cm between the two borders. See pattern enclosed with lesson. Heart Pillow Pattern-zq8odw

Step 4: Cut small strips around the heart, making sure they are long enough to tie. The strips can be about half an inch wide.

Step 5: Tie the two pieces together in a knot. Once you have most of the knots tied, stuff the heart with stuffing or cotton. Finish tying the rest of the knots.

Step 6: Optional- Trim the knot strips around the heart.

Go Over Findings:

Investigate, Create, & Take:  Investigators can take with them:

  • Small Heart Pillow
  • Service Career Options

Additional add on activities:

  • Bring in samples of real fleece, wool clothing or other wool products.
  • Show pictures of sheep, goats, llamas or other animals that are also used for fiber products.
  • Visit a sheep farm, or have a lamb visit the classroom.

Sources:

Real men wear wool, Sheep101.info, http://www.sheep101.info/wool.html

How Products are Made, Polyester Fleece, http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Polyester-Fleece.html

How It’s Made-Wool, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEYsmzophTA

How It’s Made Recycled Polyester Yarn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEYsmzophTA

Developed and Reviewed By:

Tiffany Sanders Riehm, Gallia County 4-H Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development, riehm.11@osu.edu. Tracy Winters, Gallia County 4-H Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development and Michelle Stumbo, Meigs County 4-H Extension Educator, Ohio State University 4-H Youth Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molded Candy Hearts

Revive the tradition of candy making by sharing this fun activity from the 2004 Winter Issue………

Cloverbuds will enjoy helping to make molded candy hearts. The candy can be used as a meeting snack or wrapped in plastic wrap and given as a gift. Adult supervision is necessary.

Here’s how:

Purchase a heart-shaped candy mold and a 24 oz. package of white or dark melting chocolate. They are usually available at candy, craft, and/or grocery stores.

To make the candy, use a double boiler or place a small pan (like a bread pan) on top of a pot holder or folded kitchen towel that has been placed inside an electric skillet. Pour about a half-inch of water into the skillet. Heat the double boiler or skillet to boiling then reduce the temperature to simmer. Overheating the chocolate will cause it to scorch.

Place about half of the chocolate in the small pan. Stir the chocolate constantly as it melts. After the chocolate is melted, spoon it into the mold. Gently tap the mold on the counter top so that any trapped air bubbles will be removed. Put the mold into the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens (about five minutes).

Remove the chocolate from the mold by gently twisting it or tapping it against the counter top. Enjoy!

Reprinted from Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Connections – Winter 2004

Cooking with Cloverbuds

All Cloverbuds like to eat so why not let them make a snack to share at a Cloverbud meeting? There are several recipes that they can make that do not require a stove or oven. The best part about cooking is children can learn and still have fun in the process. Skills that you can talk about as the Cloverbuds are preparing the snack can be anything from reading the recipe, math skills (like fractions), or learning about kitchen safety. As long as you make it fun, the Cloverbuds will have fun too.

Some tips that you should use when cooking with children are:

  1. First, be sure there are no food allergies
  2. Make sure space is clean and safe
  3. Assemble items needed to make the snack (if using a hot plate, electric skillet or toaster oven, supervise the children at all times)
  4. When thinking about a snack, use the MyPlate guideline for healthy treats
  5. Make sure all hands are clean when preparing food
  6. Have children use plastic knives (avoid graters since it is easy for little hands to cut themselves)

Cloverbuds can learn with hands-on experiences identifying things that are sharp, hot, and learning to be careful.   A great idea when thinking about what to make, is to link the food item to a book or even a topic you are exploring. By linking your activity to a book, Cloverbuds can learn about where a food item comes from and how it gets to the table.

Here are some ideas of foods to make with your Cloverbuds:

Pancakes:

  • Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! By Eric Carle

You can add different fruits or toppings to the pancakes. You can also color the pancake batter and let the Cloverbuds make pancake art to eat.

Popcorn:

  • Popcorn by Elaine Landau
  • The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola
  • Popcorn by Sara E. Hoffmann

If you have an old Stir Crazy Popcorn maker the kids can watch it pop. Kids can make and add different toppings to their popcorn.

Peanut Butter:

  • From Peanut to Peanut Butter by Robin Nelson
  • How Do They Make That? Peanut Butter by Jan Bernard & John Willis

Making peanut butter from scratch is a good way to show Cloverbuds what it takes to make peanut butter, especially if they can shell the peanuts themselves.

 Instant Pudding:

  • Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

Recipe: 1 Tablespoon instant pudding with ¼ cup milk

If you have baby food jars they make a great way to shake up the instant pudding, along with Oreos for dirt and gummy worms.

You may have to enlist the aid of the parents to help provide some of the food items needed to make the recipes. These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. You may have to do some prep work in advance, but seeing the enthusiasm and fun the Cloverbuds have is well worth that extra time.