University of Illinois Extension is offering free take-home kits. These kits are developed for children and provide teachers, parents, and caregivers an easy way to engage children in meaningful learning experiences about the world around them. Four new kits will be offered each quarter. Each kit contain materials, complete instructions, and tips for engaging students in the activities. The kits are developed by Extension professionals as well as Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers.

Order your kits online. Pick up is available (safety guidelines permitting) at your local Extension office in Henderson, Knox, McDonough, and Warren counties. Quantities for the take-home kits are limited. For questions or to learn more, contact Wendy Ferguson, horticulture program coordinator.

Prior activities that can be done from home:

Anatomy of Insects

Learn the parts of an insect through this quick and fun craft project. For ages PreK - 3rd grade.

Fall Leaves

Collect leaves then discover their similarities and differences by making leaf rubbings. For ages PreK - 4th grade.

Growing Microgreens

Learn a plant's life cycle by growing your own microgreens and then harvest them for a tasty salad. For ages PreK -  3rd grade.

Nature Journaling

Explore and observe just like Lewis & Clark! Record what you see in your very own handmade nature journal. For all ages.

Pine Cone Magic

Have you ever really looked at a pine cone? Explore the parts of the pine cone and then conduct "experiments" to learn how water and air affect them. For ages PreK - 4th grade.

Snow & Ice

Snow piling up outside? Go and explore with this kit filled with cool experiments. Then warm up inside and make your own 3-D snowflake. For all ages.

The Science of Bubbles

How do bubbles form? What causes them to pop? Explore the world of bubbles. Make your own funky shaped wands, try to blow the biggest bubbles, and poke them without popping them. For all ages.

Wacky Weather

Make your own rain gauge and anemometer to record your local weather. Keep track of conditions in your journal to learn about climate versus weather. *This kit contains a straight pin and is not recommended for small children. For ages 4th grade and up.

What's in a Seed?

Learn all about seeds and what they need to grow by making your own seed balls with flower seeds (sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos). Then plant them in your own garden or container, sit back and watch the magic. For all ages.

Winter Birding

Learn what birds stay in your community during the winter by making an easy suet cake feeder. Hang it up and then document who visits. *Adult supervision is needed due to the use of a stove or microwave. For all ages.

Winter Sowing Greenhouse

Find out how to support Monarch butterflies by growing milkweed plants. Create your own mini-greenhouse out of a water bottle. For all ages.

Winter Tree Art

Learn the different tree shapes by making your own "winter wonderland" using collected sticks, glue, and paint. For ages PreK - 3rd grade.