DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, ah, August: it signals the beginning of school, which means we often hustle back into a routine after relaxing all summer.  Simply by their nature, these cycles we go through in life help establish necessary patterns to guide our days.  There are times we may feel constrained with the thought of having to follow a routine, but it is very beneficial for everyone, not only the children.  Stop for a moment and visualize how you feel when your morning goes smoothly, or when the children go to bed without a fight.  In the morning, you are on time without needing to rush or bark orders; in the evening everyone knows what to expect and cooperation is achieved!

Tips for Creating Daily Routines:

-As a family, identify the steps needed for the routine.  Begin with morning and evening plans.  Allow the children to provide input into what they view as important; their ideas may surprise you!

-Limit the number of steps to a maximum of 6 steps.  If there are too many steps, it may become overwhelming for the children.  You will find an example below.

-Use a chart or list with pictures for each step or task.  Post the list in a family-friendly spot to encourage your children to “read” them.

-Review the list with the children until they cooperate on their own a majority of the time.  Be prepared that children may need continued support and reminders even after they perform tasks independently.  (In the same way traffic signs are posted as reminders for us even after we “know” the rules and obtain our license, we are more comfortable with them and rely upon them often.)

-Be consistent with following the routines because that will reinforce them.  Children thrive on predictability because it helps them to feel empowered when they know what to expect.

Sample Bedtime Routine:

Steps: Put on pajamas; brush teeth; get in bed; read; hug and kiss; lights out.

-Lay the children’s clothes out at night.  Include socks, shoes and backpacks in a designated place.

-Begin your bedtime routine 30 minutes before your ideal time for the children to be in bed.  On average, it takes about that length of time for the children to complete all of the tasks necessary to be ready for bed.

And finally, you can transform a routine into a ritual by incorporating a family-bonding moment during the task.  For example, give eye contact and smile or hug your child during the routine and bonding is enhanced!  The positive attention will become a natural reinforcement for the entire family.

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

For additional tips on routines see http://washington.cce.cornell.edu/home-family/parent-pages/challenging-behaviors/the-importance-of-bedtime

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, it is already July and that means summer is here in full force!  July makes us think of being outside, beach balls, and fun-in-the-sun.  How can we make common summer activities become family bonding time?  Below are some ideas to help you:

  • Beach Ball Bonding: Get a beach ball and a sharpie marker.  On the ball, write questions in each stripe.  Have the family stand in a circle and pass the ball to each other.  When you catch the ball, answer the question your hand lands on.  Answer the question aloud for the entire family to hear.  Suggested questions include: What is your favorite color and why?  If you could have any super power what would it be and why?  What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?  What is your favorite thing about summer and why?  When you woke up this morning what was the first thing you thought about and why?  What is your favorite family memory and why?  There is no limit to the questions you can ask.
  • Bubbles With Baby: Blow bubbles with your baby nearby and encourage him/her to reach for them, and crawl or toddle after the bubbles.  In between blows, encourage your baby to look at you and engage in joint eye contact and smiling.  But be cautious about blowing into your baby’s eyes or face.  While keeping eye contact, enunciate the word “bub-ble.”  When repeating the word, touch your baby gently while talking and your child will learn the word quicker.  You could also make silly faces or stick out your tongue and have your baby copy you.
  • Balloon Toss Tango: Make some water balloons and play some lively music in the background.  Before the typical balloon toss begins, choose a partner to dance with.  Instead of holding hands, you and your partner both hold onto the balloon but try not to pop it!  Get creative about where to place the balloon while dancing such as back-to-back, hip-to-hip, etc.  While dancing, see who can go the longest without laughing.  In pairs, race with your balloon to a designated spot.  For the typical balloon toss, yell out some of your favorite things when it is your turn to toss, or say one thing you love about your partner.

Several of the ideas above can be used to enhance family bonding for other routine activities such as while riding in the car or sitting around the dinner table.

For more fun summer ideas visit:  https://www.familyeducation.com/activities-crafts/the-ultimate-summer-bucket-list-for-kids-and-families

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University, Extension, Butler County

Come to the Farm Zone at the Butler County Fair!

The Farm Zone is a great place for KIDS!  This year, we have exciting activities and special events every day of the week.  Butler County’s Master Gardener Volunteers will have a fun, interactive display on pollinators throughout the week and the “I’m a Farmer” area will run all day, every day:  Sunday, July 21st through Saturday, July 27th from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  This area, where kids can experience life on a farm by picking produce and milking a pretend cow, is always a favorite!  Kids of all ages will have fun trying new things in the Farm Zone at the Butler County Fair.

Sunday, July 21st  –  For the opening day of the fair, our theme is Farm Bureau Day.  We will have agriculture displays, coloring books, and story time, a special Farm Safety Interaction Demonstration, and a lamb tasting.  Reily Township Fire Department also will be here to showcase their Large Animal Rescue unit, which is the only one in Butler County!  These special displays run from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  To top off our farm fun, be sure to stop by to see the results of our Cabbage Contest at 1:00 p.m.!

Monday, July 22nd  –  Today in the Farm Zone, The Ohio State University Extension is showcasing their many programs!  Come explore the 4-H CARTEENS and after-school programs, learn about sun safety and drug safety, and watch a cool 4-H robotics demonstration. There will be canner testing to ensure your canning equipment will safely seal your food.  The OSU smoothie bike will also be in the Farm Zone.  Make sure to stop in to try a delicious smoothie powered by you!  All of these events will run from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23rd  –  Have fun with Butler County Soil and Water Conservation District Day at the Farm Zone.  Learn about soil and the environment with displays on soil profiles, and stream testing.  Check out the NRCS display, Boy Scouts exhibit, electric tree stump, and soil trailer!  Then, sample some tasty food with our soil profile pudding cups activity and a beef tasting.  All of this will happen from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., or while supplies last, so don’t hesitate to stop by!

Wednesday, July 24th  –  Come on down to the Butler County Fairgrounds to see our Cloverbuds race their fruit and veggie cars!  This event will take place from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. in the Swine Show Barn.  Remember to stop in the Farm Zone too, because today is Master Gardener Day!  In addition to their daily activity, there will be displays of the Master Gardener’s projects, a representative from the Butler County Beekeepers, and a Farm Zone Scavenger Hunt, all from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.!

Thursday, July 25th  –  It’s Farm Day at the Farm Zone, and you don’t want to miss it! Jason Jackson will have a fantastic interactive display of pedal tractors and farm equipment.  Kids will be able to ride these tractors around the Farm Zone in an event bigger than we have ever had before!  The Edgewood and Talawanda FFA members will also have their SAE projects on display today, so be sure to come by and see what America’s future farmers are busy doing! These groups will be at the Farm Zone from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Friday, July 26th  –  To celebrate Natural Resources Day, come and learn about nature with Butler County Metroparks, Girl Scouts, and Three Valley Land Trust.  A naturalist from Hueston woods will have an incredible display about birds of prey, which is always a highlight of the week!  And finally, kids will make invisible ink and use a surprising natural material to reveal their hidden message.  Come on down between 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to be sure you don’t miss out.

Saturday, July 27th  –  Remember to visit the Farm Zone on the last day of fair!  We will be running exciting crafts from 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., or while supplies last.  Come on down to see what is going on and be sure you don’t miss your last chance to visit the Farm Zone until next year!

Please contact the OSU Extension Office with any questions at (513) 887-3722.

News Release provided by Emily Waldron, Summer Intern, OSU Extension, Butler County.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit: cfaesdiversity.osu.edu.  For an accessible format of this publication, visit:  cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.  Butler County / July 12, 2019

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, June means summer is officially here!  With that comes summer break for our kids and we focus on being outside and planning vacations or outings with them.  But June is also the month we celebrate Father’s Day.  Often we prioritize our moms on Mother’s Day and we forget about dads.  Now is the time to remedy that!

What better way to honor the men in our lives than by creating a Building Memories with Dad Jar?  Creating this jar is a unique way to give our children ideas of things to do to ward off their summer boredom by coming up with ideas to do together that dad would love.  Men often enjoy physical activities as a form of bonding and connection with their family, so thinking about being active is a great place to start.

Here are some other helpful hints:

  1. Find a mason jar, a permanent marker, construction paper, string, and some blocks or Legos
  2. Have the children complete the sentences:
  • What I like to do with daddy is….
  • My favorite thing to do with daddy is…
  • What I want to do with daddy is…
  • I love it when daddy…
  • Remember when daddy…
  1. Write the children’s responses on the blocks
  2. Place the blocks in the jar
  3. Add a tag or label which says, “Building Memories with Dad”
  4. Encourage dad to pick a block and plan an experience for the whole family to enjoy! Or perhaps dad creates one-on-one time with each child for a specific activity.

You can add to the jar at any time.  Think about outdoor activities as well as ideas for rainy days when you are stuck inside.  If there is a beloved family event, then you know you are creating memories, so: repeat, repeat, repeat!

For more ideas to spend with dad, visit:



Nina Solomon, DLS Instructor, OSU Extension, Butler County

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, in May many of us celebrate Mother’s Day, which often brings to mind: Flowers!  Spring has sprung and it is common to give our mothers flowers which, although beautiful, will eventually wilt away.  One simple way to celebrate Mom and create a family keep-sake is to make a paper flower.  You and your children can make this craft together by following these easy steps:

  • Trace your children’s handprints onto construction paper.
  • Cut out the handprints. These become the flower petals.
  • Cut long rectangles to create the stem of a flower.
  • On a separate piece of paper, glue the petals into a flower shape and add the stem.
  • On each petal record your children’s responses to the statements below:

My favorite thing about my Mom is…

I love it when my Mom…

My Mom is funny when…

My Mom makes the best…

My Mom always says…

My Mom makes me feel…

  • Decorate the margins of the paper to create a picture frame effect.

Feel free to allow the children’s imaginations to run wild if they have additional statements to add.  But most importantly, enjoy the process with your children.  The best Mother’s Day gift of all may be the memory of this time together!

For more conversation starters for families, visit https://childhood101.com/?s=conversation+starters

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, April is upon us and that means we are thinking about money- either filing our taxes or spending our tax return.  April is also National Teach Your Kids About Money Month.  While it is fresh in our minds, now is a good time to begin teaching our kids basic money skills that will guide them throughout their lives.

One simple way to teach children is to use three clear containers and label them with “Share,” “Spend” and “Save.”  Even preschool-aged children can learn these basics.  Using clear bottles (such as 2-liters) or jars helps children feel motivated to continue adding money when they can see their progress as their money increases in the container.

When your child receives money from completing a chore, for their birthday, or another reason, teach them to split their money between each jar.  You can decide whether or not to divide the money equally or not.  An important step is to explain to your child the reason for having each category.  Some ideas are listed below.

Share: A common value we all have is sharing.  Our children can learn to share their resources in a concrete way by sharing their money with a loved one or agency in need.  As the saying goes, “See a need; fill a need.”  Giving of oneself creates a sense of confidence and strength!

SpendWhy would we teach children to spend?  Well one reason is that it is the process of getting things we want or need.  Children will learn the difference between a “want” and a “need” when it is explained to them.  Also, children will learn the value of their money and the ability to make wise choices when a caring parent guides their spending.

Save:  There are several great benefits for learning to save money.  The process of saving builds the muscle for learning to wait, which is a necessary skill for success.  Saving also teaches the concept of planning ahead and following steps to reach a goal.

When teaching children to save, start with a small goal for the children to work toward such as saving for a specific toy, and with practice they can strive for a larger purchase.  This will keep his/her momentum up to accomplish the goal.  When enough money is saved, have the child be an active participant in every step of the process including:

  • retrieving the money from the jar;
  • going to the store;
  • choosing the toy;
  • and if they are able, paying for the toy him/herself.

And finally, praise the child for his/her hard work and responsibility!  The same steps can be applied to sharing/giving their money as well.  As your child grows, continue the steps above to strengthen these skills.

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, OSU Extension, Butler County


For additional information on teaching kids about money visit: