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:


DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, March is a month of change.  We have been inside a lot recently and the dreary days may have caused us to become self-focused and feel run down.  But then comes March, when there is more sunlight, longer days, and the cold weather finally breaks.  These outward changes inspire us inwardly as well: we are inspired to go outside and get some fresh air, which creates more opportunities to interact with those around us.  Increased physical activity and vitamin D from the sun are two positive benefits from the great outdoors which can strongly improve both mood and energy levels.  Considering that, lets plan a time to do exactly what this month commands: March! …

Plan a Kindness March in March!  What is a kindness march, you ask?  It is a march, or mission, to do a random act of kindness for someone, and physically marching while you do it.  The point is to combine your physical and emotional body into doing something kind for someone around you, which will result in a healthier you, as well as a healthier community.  By actually marching, you may draw attention to your mission, which will spread the word about kindness.  And kindness is contagious!

You can start small and simply march over to greet a lonely neighbor with a smile, or kindly march to get the mail or the garbage cans for a neighbor.  You can encourage the younger children to get their energy out in a constructive way by acting like a soldier who is on a mission is to be kind!  Perhaps they can march to feed the first robin of spring, or march while walking someone’s dog.  The children can march to find a leaf to create a leaf-rubbing picture with crayons and later march it over to a friend.

You can schedule a family march or a neighborhood march on the weekend to help someone in need or to build a sense of community.  No matter what you decide to do, just march!  Get those knees up and enjoy the sun on your face and the warmth in your heart that comes from kindness expressed to others.

For more ideas about creating positive family interactions see:   https://child.unl.edu/strongfamilies

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

Dental Health

Good oral health is important, as indicated in the chart below, and should be practiced all year!  Practicing good oral habits at an early age can prevent cavities and promote healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, rinsing and eating healthy snacks are desirable behaviors to implement for maintaining optimal oral health!

For more healthy tips like this, please visit the Live Healthy, Live Well Facebook Page.

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, during the Month of Love, we often think of exchanging Valentines with our youngsters.  Although that is a fantastic way to express our love for our children, I was thinking perhaps we could put into practice the old adage that “Children spell love: T-I-M-E!”  You can create a delicious Fruit Pizza that is so easy children of any age can help!  And since February is also American Heart Month, we can be heart healthy by eating lots of fresh fruits together as a family.

The recipe is easy:

  • 1 Ready-made Graham Cracker pie crust
  • 1 Package (8 oz) Low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 Cup white sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon vanilla
  • Variety of fresh fruits of your choosing- such as strawberries, bananas, grapes, or blueberries, etc.

Step 1: Wash your hands making lots of bubbles with the children!

Step 2: Mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  – The children can take turns mixing.

Step 3: Spread the cream cheese mixture into the pie pan. – The children can help spread it around.

Step 4: Cut the fruit into bite-sized bits.

Step 5: Add fresh fruit on top. – The children can decorate their pizza with the toppings they choose.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!  Refrigerate any leftovers (3-5 days).

While eating the fruit pizza as a family, you can take turns saying one thing you love about each other!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!

For more ideas on cooking with kids, visit:


Nina Solomon

Development of Living Skills Instructor

Ohio State University, Extension, Butler County