Legos so often littered the floor of the family home in Dublin that Tarah Carr sought to teach her sons, Noah and Jonah, a lesson by encasing the colorful blocks in bars of soap.
"I kept stepping on Legos, so while they were at school one day, I put their Legos in a soap mold," she said.
But an action meant to be punitive (and also compel the boys to wash their hands when the flu was making its rounds) instead profited charity and provided Noah and Jonah an opportunity to develop life skills.
"I thought they'd be mad but they thought it was genius and (Jonah) wanted to make a business out of it," Carr said.
Taking their cue from their mother, the boys produced and sold soap bars at the first Hilliard Children's Business Fair April 14 at Coffee Connections of Hilliard, 4004 Main St., at which several young entrepreneurs showcased their products.
"I had fun making the soap, spraying it and then putting in our Legos (and) letting it cool," Noah said.
Noah and Jonah, both students at Glacier Ridge Elementary School in Dublin, conducted a brisk business during the two-hour event, selling soap bars with Lego blocks or dinosaurs inside for $2 and larger bars with toy soldiers inside for $10.
The boys donated money from the sales to a pair of charities: Nellie's Champions for Kids, an organization supporting families with cases of pediatric cancer, and Save A Warrior, which support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Their father, Adam, is a veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
While researching the best way to market her sons' business -- Silly Soaps and Smiles -- Carr discovered the Hilliard Children's Business Fair.
The fair was organized by Kristy DiGiacomo, who in 2012 founded the Learning Leaf, a tutoring and education-service provider for students of all ages.
DiGiacomo said she learned about the business model online, discovering that the Acton School of Business organized such events in Texas.
"I thought it would great opportunity for kids in central Ohio," said DiGiacomo, who reached out to the Acton for help organizing.
It took about six months of planning.
The business fair was open to students ages 6 to 14 and from throughout central Ohio.
Twelve teams registered for fair online, including one from Dublin and Westerville, and several from Hilliard.
Each team was paired with a local business owner, DiGiacomo said, who helped the team develop a marketing plan.
A group of fourth-graders at Hoffman Trails Elementary School sold handmade slime under the label "Slimy Unicorns."
Gabriella Finlay, Laikyn McLain and Emma Swartzmiller said they had fun making the slime, which can be pressed and molded into shapes or objects, and selling it at the fair.
April Burnside, owner of Aprons and Easels, 5512 Hilliard-Rome Office Park, mentored the girls and helped them with sales.
The girls donated a portion of their sales to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
In addition to learning life skills, DiGiacomo said, several teams earned prize money.
Awards for best presentation and most business potential, with $50 cash prizes, were presented at the conclusion of the event.
For the 6-9 age group, the Hoffman Trails trio's Slimy Unicorns took home the prize, while the Carr boys' Silly Soaps and Smiles won for business potential.