Helping Youth Find Their Spark

What is a spark and why would you want to search for it? A spark is something that you love to do, something that gets you excited, something that you are good at or something that energizes you. Maybe you have already identified a spark in your life, as most of us have many sparks that get us excited and ready to jump into action. Cloverbuds might have already identified a spark through school, sports, or family experiences. 4-H provides another opportunity for them to have new experiences and participate in new events that can help them discover new sparks! Sparks are interests, skills, talents, and special qualities that can emerge while youth are experiencing 4-H after school programs, 4-H community club events, or special interest clubs.

Cloverbuds can identify possible sparks by choosing from a list of topics or answering questions that require them to choose a thoughtful answer. For example, having them respond to, “Do you like to play indoors or outdoors?” or “Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?”. Exposing youth to new ideas outside of their normal home and school environments are a great way to identify additional sparks. Sparks help youth set goals and expand their support network as they identify friends that have similar sparks. Most youth need one to three spark champions (caring adults that support the identification of sparks) who will continue to make connections and encourage them to further develop their sparks.

Club meetings are a great place to start the process of identifying sparks. Give members a sheet of blank copy paper and some markers or colored pencils. Have them close their eyes and think about an activity that they love doing and picture themselves doing that activity. After 30 seconds have youth open their eyes and draw that activity they were imagining. Once members have finished drawing have a group conversation about why they chose that activity.  You might have some suggestions about other ideas they could explore given their interests. Your role as a 4-H volunteer is very much a role of SPARK CHAMPION!

Sources:

Extension Foundation. (n.d.). 4-H Thriving Model of PYD. Retrieved June 27, 20222, from https://helping-youth-thrive.extension.org/what-are-sparks/

Time to Get Outdoors!

Spring is officially here and that means it is a great time to get outdoors. Spending time outdoors feels like a foreign concept to many 4-H members these days, but being out in nature has many positive benefits. It allows members to disconnect from devices and technology, focus on being present in the moment, and engaging with others. Direct exposure to nature has also been found to have a restorative and calming effect.1

Most 4-H families associate being outdoors with going to summer camp or an event that takes much effort. However, spending time reconnecting to nature should not be scary or overwhelming.  Here are some easy ways to make time outdoors more accessible to young members:

  • Host a scavenger hunt! Click here for an activity sheet that you can share with your members. You can set up a marked off area at your club meeting space and hide similar pictures (bird, butterfly, etc.) around the area. Encourage members to complete a “BINGO” row (or the whole card) by visiting each station.
    • Have older members in your club that are working on reading skills? Include fun facts on the pictures and have the members read each one to ‘complete’ the station
  • Use this scavenger hunt on a club (or family) field trip. Visit an Ohio State Park and spend time hiking a trail. Pack one of these activity sheets to identify as many items as you can.

Want to include some other activities that combine time outdoors with protecting our environment? Bring the outdoors into a club meeting. Ohio 4-H has curriculum available to help you celebrate Earth Day on Friday, April 22nd. Visit the “Earth is Our Home” Curriculum at https://ohio4h.org/earthday. You and your members can learn more about Sustainability, Germination and Plant Growth, Climate Change or even Pollination.

Spring is a time of growth and renewal so why not try a new outdoor activity or two with your Cloverbud members!

 

References:

  1. https://u.osu.edu/4hjournal/2021/06/25/scavenger-hunts/
  2. Made for Retail. Scavenger Hunt List Pad – Explore & Backyard. 2018. Madeforretail.com

Just Like the Big Kids – Using “My 4-H Cloverbud Year”

Cloverbud members want to be “just like the big kids” and have a 4-H book to complete.  Have you considered using My 4-H Cloverbud Year with your members?

This fun book is a great way for Cloverbuds to learn the basics of 4-H and keep track of their activities and events. Completion of this book is optional and can be done with or without the help of an adult leader. It can be repeated each year a child is a Cloverbud.  It is especially appropriate for older Cloverbud members as they prepare to transition to project membership.

The length of your Cloverbud meetings or activity time might determine how best to use this resource. Here are two options:

  1. If you have plenty of time (approximately an hour) for your Cloverbud meeting, then you could have the members complete the sections after each group activity. It will probably take at least 15 minutes to help the members complete the two pages titled “Today at 4-H Cloverbuds”. Younger members will need help answering the questions about what they did, their favorite part of the activity, what they learned and what they want to learn more about. There is also a box to draw or add a picture about the day’s activity.
  2. Here is a second option if you are limited on time with your Cloverbuds. Plan one or two of your meetings around completing the beginning of the book where they will learn about themselves, all about 4-H, their club, meeting manners, the American Flag and the 4-H Flag. After these sections are finished, the book could be sent home with your Cloverbud members. Ask parents to help their child complete the “Today at 4-H Cloverbuds” section after each meeting or club activity. This will help reinforce learning and recall of information as well as begin practicing the life skill of recordkeeping.

My 4-H Cloverbud Year is for Cloverbud members who can write about themselves and their experiences, with or without the support of an adult helper. If your Cloverbuds struggle with writing, you can help them by providing prepared answers to paste into their books. On the Today at 4-H Cloverbuds pages, for example, “What we did” could be answered with a short typed, or printed response: We practiced reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The end of the book provides a spot for community service activities, county fair activities, and a place to add memories like photos, ribbons, or clippings.

Copies of My Cloverbud Year can be purchased from your local OSU Extension or from https://extensionpubs.osu.edu

I’m a Cloverbud Volunteer! Now What?

New year, new start!  Are you a new or returning Cloverbud volunteer?  Welcome! We are happy to have you join us in the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud program!

You’ve completed your Cloverbud Volunteer Training and you have a group of Cloverbuds, now what?  Time to plan your meeting activities.  The most valuable resource in your toolkit is The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities.  The Big Book has 50 lesson plans which you can use during your Cloverbud meetings.  Talk with your Cloverbuds to find out what they want to learn about in 2022.  Give them a list of topics to choose from and ask them to vote.  Your Cloverbud program is more likely to succeed if you consider input from your youth.  The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities is available for purchase from your county OSU Extension Office or from OSU Publications.

What should your Cloverbud meeting look like?  Once you have identified your topic, use the Cloverbud Meeting Planning Template to plan your meeting.  Decide on the day, time, and location of your meeting.  Be sure that all Cloverbud parents know when the meeting will take place.  Consider your planned activity.  What will you do for each portion of the meeting?  What supplies are needed?  Do the Cloverbuds need to bring anything to the meeting?  Will you have refreshments or recreation?  In general, Cloverbuds can participate in 4-H club meetings for the pledges and roll call.  Once the older 4-H members begin their business meetings, Cloverbuds can be dismissed to complete their own activities.  Upon completion of Cloverbud activities and the older club members’ business meetings, Cloverbuds can rejoin the group for refreshments and recreation, if age-appropriate.  This is a great time for Cloverbuds to present what they learned to the older club members.  This gives Cloverbuds a chance to do public speaking and also share their excitement for their activities.

My 4-H Cloverbud Year is a wonderful activity book for our Cloverbuds.  Cloverbuds enjoy having a book to complete like the older 4-H club members.  The activity book includes pages where the child can include information about themselves and their club, as well as about what they did at each Cloverbud meeting.  At the end of the year, the member has a nice memory book of their year as a Cloverbud. My 4-H Cloverbud Year is available for purchase from your county Ohio State University Extension Office or from OSU Publications.

To see other resources that are available to Cloverbud volunteers, check out the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Resources link on the left hand side of this page.  You might be interested in Choose and Tell Cards or Clover Cubes.  Both are fun and easy resources to use with your Cloverbuds.

Don’t forget to check out the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures!  Reading adventures connect Cloverbuds to literacy and include games, activities, and snacks to use with your Cloverbuds.

Fast forward – you’ve completed the year with your Cloverbuds, now what?  Check with your county extension office to see what other opportunities are available.  This might include day camps or fun days, exhibiting at the county fair (non-competitive events), Show and Tell, fair revues, Cloverbud graduation, and more!

Enjoy your time with your Cloverbuds!  They are eager to learn and will not hesitate to share their enthusiasm.  Spending time with Cloverbuds will put a smile on your face!

Fall Fun in the Great Outdoors

Fall is in full swing which makes it a fun time to explore the outdoors.  The sights, the sounds, and the crisp air makes taking a walk outside so much more exciting for children.  The foliage in many areas has just peaked or is almost ready to peak.  Weather in your area will affect the timing, but whether the leaves are still on the trees or partially on the ground, the colors are beautiful.  Wildlife is moving in the cool fall air and many trees are in the process of dropping their fruit.  A walk in the fall provides youth the opportunity to see and touch so many things in nature that are not as easily accessible to them at other times of the year.

Try a fall scavenger hunt when youth can explore and see so much more!  Ask youth to find different colored leaves (red, yellow, or orange); different tree fruit such as apples, acorns, hickory nuts, or walnuts; check off/write down the animals they see such a ladybug, wooly worm, squirrel, rabbit, bird, or deer.  If youth are able, have them take a gallon size bag on their hunt to bring back a few items from their adventure.  This will give you the opportunity to help them match the leaves and fruit from the same tree or compare the sizes of each object the members found.  For a little extra fun, tell them to find the smallest and the largest leaf they can find.  It will be fun for them to compare what they found with what others found.

Fall is also a fun time to for youth to explore birds as they migrate through Ohio.  Cloverbuds can make their own bird feeders and hang them where they can watch the birds.  There are multiple ways to make homemade bird feeders.  A simple and clean option is to use pipe cleaners and cereal.  To complete the activity, you will need pipe cleaners, cereal, string or ribbon, and scissors.  Select a cereal with a loophole that can be strung on the pipe cleaner.  Members can bend their pipe cleaner into a shape, such as a heart, star, or circle.  Be sure the two ends come back to meet each other.  Connect two pipe cleaners together to make a bigger feeder.  Members can string cereal on the pipe cleaner, leaving about a half inch on each end.  Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to secure the cereal in place.  Use a piece of string or ribbon to hang the feeder outside.

Cloverbuds can also make a bird feeder using a piece of nature, a pinecone.  Ask your Cloverbuds to bring a larger, open pine cone.  You will also need peanut butter, bird seed, a dinner knife, a small bowl, string or ribbon, and scissors.  Tie a loop of string or ribbon to the top of the pine cone to hang your feeder with once it is complete.  Use your dinner knife to spread peanut butter on the open pine cone layers.  Hold the pine cone at each end and roll it through a bowl of bird seed until all peanut butter is covered in bird seed.  Members are now ready to hand their completed bird feeder outside.  Encourage Cloverbuds to hang their bird feeders where they can watch the birds from inside.  As the weather gets colder, members can refill their bird feeders or make new ones and continue watching the birds through the winter months.

References:
Cereal Bird Feeder: https://kidscraftroom.com/diy-bird-feeder-craft-kids/
Pinecone Bird Feeder: https://onelittleproject.com/pinecone-bird-feeders/

The Magic of Fall

Crisp cool mornings, bright blue sunny skies, juicy red apples, changing leaves…..fall is a great time to explore the outdoors!  If your meeting place allows, take your Cloverbuds on a nature hike.  Or encourage them to explore their backyards or take a nature walk with their family.  Take a look around – what do you see?  Many plants are reaching the end of their life cycle and it’s exciting to look for seed pods, berries, nuts, pinecones, etc.  Look for cocoons, spider webs, insects, and empty bird nests.  Remind your Cloverbuds not to eat anything they find.  Also remind them that when we are hiking in a public park we only take pictures.  Leave everything there for the next family to enjoy.

Talk with your Cloverbuds about the changing seasons.  How are the seasons different?  What is their favorite season?  What is their favorite thing about each season?  How does the weather change each season? What are some activities that they enjoy doing during the fall?

Here are some fun fall activities to share with your Cloverbuds.

Leaf rubbings are easy to do and fun to make.  Have your Cloverbuds collect a variety of fallen leaves from trees in their own yards.  Help the Cloverbuds to identify the leaves they find by using a leaf identification book from your local library.  Talk to your Cloverbuds about the different kinds of leaves and the trees that each leaf comes from.  Why are leaves important?  Why do some trees lose their leaves in the fall and others don’t?  Give each child a piece of paper and some crayons and have them make leaf rubbings.  Place a leaf on the table with the veins up.  Put the paper over the leaf and gently color over the leaf with the side of the crayon.  It may be helpful to tape the paper to the table.  Have your Cloverbuds use different leaves and colors to make their picture.

Pumpkins are found in abundance this time of year.  Use the insides of a pumpkin to make a sensory bag.  For each bag you will need a one pumpkin, one, one-gallon plastic freezer bag, the “guts” of a pumpkin, and a few small items to put in the bag with the pumpkin guts.  Small items such as plastic spiders, googly eyes, small fall themed erasers, etc., work well for this activity.  If you decide to have each Cloverbud carve their own pumpkin to retrieve the guts, be sure to have plenty of adult help.  Have an adult cut the pumpkin open and then ask the Cloverbuds to scoop out the guts.  Place the pumpkin guts and small items in the plastic bag and be sure it is tightly sealed.  Lay the bag on the table and have the Cloverbud squish the bag and look for the items inside.

Making a fall tree using the Cloverbud’s hand print as a guide creates a special keepsake for parents, grandparents, or other special person in your Cloverbud’s life.  For this activity you will need construction paper (white for the picture, any color to make the hand print), paint in fall colors (red, orange, yellow), paper plates or foil pans (to put the paint in), and sponge paint wands. 

Trace the Cloverbud’s hand and forearm on construction paper, then cut it out.  Use poster putty to secure the “tree” (Cloverbud’s hand print) to white construction paper.  Once the hand print is in place, ask the Cloverbud to sponge paint all around it with fall colors. Encourage your Cloverbud to leave little or no white around the edges of the “tree”.  Gently remove the paper hand print and any remaining poster putty.  Be sure to have your Cloverbud wear an old shirt or an apron to protect their clothing from the paint.

Some great fall books to read with your Cloverbuds are Apple Picking Day by Candice Ransom; Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak; Leaf Man by Lois Ehert; or Hello Fall! by Deborah Diesen.

So, go out and explore the outdoors,  Enjoy the crisp, fresh air, the ever changing colors, and the glory of nature that is fall!

Resources:
Hand Tree: https://fun-a-day.com/fall-hand-print-art-negative-space/
Pumpkin Sensory Bag: https://www.pre-kpages.com/pumpkin-sensory-bag/
Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities, Chapter 19

Time and Finger Painting

As we go throughout our lives, everyone has the same amount of time in the day. Each of us is given 24 hours  to juggle and figure out how to best utilize this precious resource.  Some of us like to sleep, others get up and exercise, and some rock kids to sleep from a bad dream or a teething issue in the middle of the night.  At the end of the day, 24 hours is the same amount of time for all of us and if we utilize our time to our best ability, each day is a success!

As a mother of four children, I sometimes let them play on devices and screen time so that I can have some quiet, uninterrupted ME time.  Maybe I’m selfish, maybe I’m a slacker of a mom, or maybe I’m just a normal mom that needs to decompress from the daily activities from work or life.  It’s not always the BEST use of their time but it allows adults to have some time to process daily events.

The COVID pandemic reinforced the idea that time spent with youth is precious and important.  Taking the extra time to engage with youth is vital for their development.  It is also satisfying to take the time to have fun and engage with children and be an active participant in what they are doing.

Here is a simple Cloverbud activity that is important, fun and exciting, and has no “time stamp” on it.  Youth can take minutes or hours to paint a picture with pudding!

STEM ACTIVITY: 

Pudding Finger Paint is a fun and safe way for children to make a colorful (and tasty) painting.  I love hands-on activities for kids that let children explore and use their creativity. Pudding Finger Paint is a safe way for children to make a one-of-a-kind art project.

SUPPLIES:

  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Food Coloring
  • Muffin Pan or Small Bowls
  • Spoon
  • Plastic Tablecloth (optional), cookie sheet, or waxed paper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the Vanilla pudding according to the directions on the package.  After the pudding has cooled, divide it evenly into a 6-cup muffin pan or six small bowls. (You can use ready-to-eat vanilla pudding as well).
  2. Add 4-6 drops of food coloring to each cup or bowl.  Stir until the food coloring has blended with the pudding and it has changed color.
  3. Use the pudding to finger paint on a hard surface such as the kitchen table.  Use a plastic tablecloth on the kitchen table or floor to contain the mess and make clean up easy or use a cookie pan or a sheet of waxed paper as the base for the painting.
  4. You could also use a large piece of paper (or cardstock) for the base of the project so the child can take it home or give to another family member or friend.

Enjoy!

Writing Thank You Notes for Cloverbuds

As we go through the busy time of summer, it is important to think about who has helped or impacted our experiences in 4-H.  It is never too early too early for Cloverbuds to learn how to write thank you notes.

As a Cloverbud volunteer, it might be helpful to ask some of the following questions to our Cloverbuds:

  • How did they help you?
  • Did you receive a gift/award? Who was that from?
  • Were they a good friend/neighbor/mentor?

It is important for Cloverbuds to realize that you should not just write a thank you note when you receive an item.  There are many other situations and times when a thank you note is needed to acknowledge help or assistance.

Encourage the Cloverbud youth to think about volunteers in their club, camp counselor, Senior Fairboard member who helps put on fair, club officer, etc.

MyPlate Activities for Cloverbuds

Happy birthday, MyPlate! MyPlate is 10 years old this year. It’s a good reminder to think about how MyPlate concepts can be incorporated into Cloverbud activities.

What is MyPlate? MyPlate is a nutritional food guide that was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people become more aware of what they eat and to assist them in making better food choices. The MyPlate icon shows the five food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy. It features a simple picture of a plate, which offers a visual cue that is easy to relate to, with sections of a plate representing how much of each food group people should consume relative to the other groups.

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of an overall healthy eating pattern with all five groups as key building blocks. Each food group includes a variety of foods that are similar in nutritional makeup, and each group plays an important role in an overall healthy eating pattern.

Why emphasize healthy eating patterns? Because we know diets early in life can shape food habits into adulthood, our Cloverbud members are at the ideal age to foster good habits. However, recent studies show there is a cause for concern.

Current intakes show that from an early age, dietary patterns are not aligned with the Dietary Guidelines. Five- to 8-year-olds are generally within the range of recommended intakes for protein, fruits, and grains (although this is achieved with refined grains, not whole grains), but below in vegetables and dairy. Vegetable intake is especially low in children, and increasing vegetable consumption tends to be particularly difficult. In addition, most diets exceed the recommended limits for added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

A recent study found that diets of children in the U.S. have improved modestly but remain poor for most. This improvement in diet quality is promising. However, another report found that more than a third of U.S. children and adolescents consumed fast food. Other researchers have examined sugar-sweetened beverages and junk foods. The results of these studies are cause for concern because fast food,  sugar-sweetened beverages, and junk food have been associated with higher caloric intake and poorer diet quality. These dietary patterns contribute to overweight and obesity, as well as increasing the risk for chronic diseases later in life.

MyPlate Activities for Cloverbuds

4-H volunteers have the opportunity to help children meet guidelines for healthy eating by regularly incorporating healthy living activities into 4-H club meetings. If you’re looking for activities for Cloverbuds, the “Making Healthy Food Choices” in The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities (4-H 710GPM) is a great place to start. The Food and Nutrition Service has the Serving Up My Plate curriculum. The MyPlate website also contains activity sheets than can be downloaded. Here are some more to try.                              

Eat the Rainbow of Colors. Draw columns on a large sheet of paper labeled red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, and white. See how many fruits and vegetables the group members can name for each color.

Category Match. Divide the group into five smaller groups. Give each group one of the five food groups from MyPlate. Have the group members brainstorm as many foods as they can that fit into each category. Share lists with the whole group.

MyPlate Picnic. Have each person say their name, a food that begins with the first letter of their name, and the group it fits in. For example: “My name is Theresa, I’m going to bring tomatoes to the picnic, and they are in the vegetable group.

What’s on Your Plate” Food Collage. Gather grocery store ads and old magazines. You will also need paper plates, markers, scissors, and glue sticks. Divide the paper plate to match the divisions on MyPlate. Cut out foods and fit them into the appropriate section of the plate.

Taste Test. Children may be reluctant to taste new foods, so taste testing can improve children’s dietary intake.

Eating the Alphabet. Use the idea from the book Eating the Alphabet (by Lois Ehlert): Name and illustrate a food for each of the letters of the alphabet. This activity can tie in with the “Planning a Community Art Exhibit” in The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities.

Read All About It.  Build literacy skills while learning about the five food groupsPicture books can be effective when children are actively involved.  Having them answer questions about the story exercises their critical thinking skills.  There are several websites that feature selected children’s books.  Here are a few to get you started.

MyPlate Talking Points

MyPlate is not perfect–for one thing, the size of the plate matters. The specific amounts of food needed in each group vary by age, gender, and activity level; the Dietary Guidelines provides more detailed information on this topic. Some foods contain ingredients from multiple groups, making them difficult to classify.

The MyPlate icon focuses on incorporating healthful foods; however, all foods in a group are not the same. The key is choosing a variety of foods and beverages from each food group—and making sure that each choice is limited in saturated fat, salt, and added sugars, including cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, and fatty meats like sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. Use these foods as occasional treats but not everyday foods (“sometimes foods”). 

  • Fruits – Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Focus on whole fruits.
  • Vegetables – Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Vary your veggies.
  • Grains – Make half your grains whole grains.
  • Protein – Vary your protein routine. Choose protein foods like beans, fish, lean meats, and nuts.
  • Dairy – Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Drink fat free or low-fat milk or water instead of sugary drinks.

4-H volunteer leaders working with Cloverbuds can encourage children to make healthy food choices. Developing healthy eating habits can go a long way to ensure a better lifestyle now and in the future.

References
de Droog, S. M., Buijzen, M., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2013). Enhancing children’s vegetable consumption using vegetable-promoting picture books. The impact of interactive shared reading and character-product congruence. Appetite, 73, 73–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2013.10.018
Fryar, C. D., Carroll, M. D., Ahluwalia, N., & Ogden, C. L. (2020). Fast food intake among children and adolescents in the United States, 2015–2018 (NCHS Data Brief No. 375). https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db375.htm
Gold, A., Larson, M., Tucker, J., & Strang, M. (2017). Classroom nutrition education combined with fruit and vegetable taste testing improves children’s dietary intake. Journal of School Health, 87(2), 106–113.  https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.12478
Leung, C. W., DiMatteo, S. G., Gosliner, W. A., & Ritchie, L. D. (2018). Sugar-sweetened beverage and water intake in relation to diet quality in U.S. children. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 54(3), 394–402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2017.11.005
Liu, J., Rehm, C. D., Onopa, J., & Mozaffarian, D. (2020). Trends in diet quality among youth in the United States, 1999-2016. Journal of the American Medical Association, 323(12), 1161–1174. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.0878
Liu, J., Lee, Y., Micha, R., Li, Y., & Mozaffarian, D. (2021). Trends in junk food consumption among US children and adults, 2001-2018. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqab129. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab129
Snelling, A. M., Newman, C., Ellsworth, D., Kalicki, M., Guthrie, J., Mancino. L., Malloy, E., Van Dyke, H., George, S., & Nash, K. (2017). Using a taste test intervention to promote vegetable consumption. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 4(1), 67–75. https://doi.org/10.14485/HBPR.4.1.8
U.S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. (2020). Dietary guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 (9th ed.). https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/
Williams, K., Dill, A., & Lindberg, S. (2019). Changes in nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behavior after implementation of Serving Up MyPlate and vegetable taste tests. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 51(7S), S31–S32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2019.05.589

Growing Chia Pets

Growing plants is an activity that has success happening right before your eyes! Plants need five things to grow: light, water, air, nutrients, and the proper temperature. Light is absorbed by the plant causing it to produce food that is utilized by the plant for growth. We all need food and water so make sure you are providing adequate water to the plant. Air is vital to provide carbon dioxide for making that food and making sure our environment is an acceptable temperature for growth. Most plants are not excited about frosty mornings, so covering outside plants is a must for those with flowers, bushes, and vegetables until May 15. Nutrients are the last thing that is necessary for plant growth and is typically provided in the soil and absorbed into the plant through the roots.

What is a “chia pet”? As advertised on television, chia pets are round, clay objects that grow grass resembling hair. The best part is we can give them “a haircut”, and then watch it grow to be cut again. We still need to provide all the necessary ingredients to grow our “hair” but can find many of these items around the house or at the local store.

Supplies needed: small Styrofoam cup, knee high pantyhose, potting soil, grass seed, markers, googly eyes and glue.

  1. Place grass seed in the bottom of the pantyhose (make sure you are covering a good section to make its head full of hair).
  2. Now add 1 ½ cups of potting soil on top of the seed.
  3. Tie the pantyhose tight around the soil, making it round like a human head.
  4. Decorate your cup (which is your flowerpot) and then fill it ½ full of water.
  5. Turn your head upside down (so extra pantyhose is hanging down) and place the pantyhose full of soil and seed in the cup.
  6. You can add eyes, ears, nose, etc. to make your chia pet come alive!
  7. The pantyhose acts as the roots of the plant. In just a few short days, your chia pet will start growing hair.
  8. Make sure that you provide sunlight and add water as needed to help your “hair” grow!