4-H & Youth

Learn about fun 4-H opportunities!

Nearly 5,000 youth are involved in Linn County 4-H programs.

Educational Hands-On Kits

Research shows that hands-on learning is one of the best ways for youth to retain knowledge.  Youth that participate in the use of our educational hands-on kits are given an introduction to science concepts through hands-on learning and are able to practice work skill areas like team building, problem-solving, and communication skills.   

Kits can be used by:  teachers, afterschool providers, summer day camp personnel, homeschool families, and 4-H clubs among others.

Click to Reserve a Kit

Checkout Policy

Youth with robots at a table


  • Please reserve kits at least 2 weeks in advance. Please fill out the online kit check-out form. Kits are free to check out and may be checked out for up to two weeks.  
  • Kits can be picked up and returned to the Linn County Extension office from 8:00 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday. If you need a later time, we can work with you to make accommodations.

Damage Control

  • If we feel there is any damage beyond normal use, we will bill the individual for the repair/replacement of the kits
  • Families/groups who do not pay when billed will not be permitted to check out any kits until the bill is paid.

Return Process

Upon completing a kit, fill out a kit feedback form and return it to the Linn County Office along with the kit.

Art Lit to Go! Kits

Each lesson can be checked out separately. 

Appropriate Grade Range: K-3

Art-Lit to Go! is an innovative Iowa 4-H program that supports the development of art and literacy skills for K-3 children. This informal education program utilizes a range of process-focused and product-focused art experiences to teach children a basic understanding of the foundational art elements of line, shape, color, form, and texture through integrated art-literacy activities. In addition, this exciting researched-based program is designed to support the National Core Arts Standards and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.

  • Mistake to Masterpiece: Children learn that mistakes are a part of the creative process and that they can grow and learn from mistakes.
  • Lines on Signs: Children learn about lines as they work together to plan, design, and create a road mural.
  • Shape-o-Saurus: Children learn about shapes and use shapes to create artwork on stones.
  • Color Creation: Children learn about color theory by identifying primary and secondary colors through color mixing activities.
  • Stunning SculpturesChildren learn about sculpture and create 3-D works of art by shaping or combining materials.
  • Touch-and-Feel TextureChildren learn about texture through exploring textures and creating a touch-and-feel book.
  • Lots of Layers: Children learn about collage by creating a paper pizza.
STEAM'n Through the Seasons

Each lesson can be checked out separately. 

Appropriate Grade Range: K-3

STEAM’n Through the Seasons is an innovative Iowa 4-H program that supports the development of STEAM and literacy skills for K-3 children. This informal education program is designed to teach children fundamental STEM and art concepts through integrated STEAM-literacy activities that focus on a seasonal topic. In addition, this exciting research-based program is designed to support the Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core Mathematics Standards, National Core Arts Standards, and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.

  • Apple'licious - learn about the life cycle of the apple tree and the many uses of apples.
  • Pumpkin Exploration - learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin.
  • Scurrying Squirrels - learn how squirrels prepare for winter and use the engineering design process to design and build a contraption to move acorns.
  • Gingerbread Time - use the engineering design process to build a gingerbread house.
  • Snow Spectacular - learn about blizzards and explore how meteorologists use tools to forecast weather and help people prepare for severe weather.
  • Gifts from the Heart - learn the importance of giving to others by measuring and creating a delicious gift in a jar.
  • TrapTastic - learn about the engineering design process and dimension creation in art.
  • Bitty Bunnies - learn about rabbits and explore how animals help their babies survive.
  • Sensational Seeds - learn the parts of a seed and what they need to grow.
  • Dirt-N-Worms - learn about worms and their four main parts.
  • Summer Celebrations - explore educational centers while learning about fun things that happen during summer celebrations.
  • Make a Splash - learn how to test and improve designs for a water transportation device.
STEM Lit to Go! Kits

Each lesson is in a separate small kit

Appropriate Grade Range: K-3

These hands-on lessons combine science, technology, engineering and math concepts with literature. The curriculum includes 12 lessons designed for students in kindergarten through third grade, and incorporates Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core literacy standards.  An important feature of the program is STEM-based activities that encourage learning through play. Science concepts are first introduced to students by reading a fiction book. Students then experiment with the concept through a hands-on activity or play.

STEM Lit to Go! IOWA Kits

Appropriate Grade Range: K-3

STEM-Lit to Go! is an innovative program that supports the development of STEM and literacy skills for K-3 youth. This program utilizes a unique instructional framework that integrates inquiry-based STEM activities and carefully selected children’s literature. Through a variety of engaging topics including space, inventions and popcorn, children explore key STEM concepts such as the engineering design process and conducting investigations. Each lesson provides youth with a hands-on STEM experience and multiple opportunities to read, write, speak and listen about that experience. This exciting research-based program is designed to support the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.

Robots – Dash/Dot & Beebots 

Appropriate Grade Range: K-3
4-H staff required to facilitate & be present

Learn coding basics using algorithms to program robots Dash, Dot, & Beebots through challenges, obstacles, and games!

Read for Resilience Books

Photo of Kit

Book Descriptions and Age Ranges

Book Titles:

  1. My Heart Fills with Happiness
    • This simple book welcomes readers of all ages, from very young children to adults, to
      celebrate all the things in life that make their heart feel happy.
  2. Bubble Trouble: Using Mindfulness to Help Kids with Grief
    •  This book uses clear language and colorful illustrations to help children learn about the
      feelings of loss and grief. Children also learn helpful ways to manage these difficult feelings.
  3. Giraffes Can’t Dance
    • ​​​​​​​Gerald the Giraffe is struggling to dance and is feeling sad until he meets a special friend who
      helps him discover his strengths. This story helps readers learn about their own unique strengths and
      see strengths in others.
  4. I’m Here
    • ​​​​​​​This book will support children in learning about community, empathy, and kindness. It
      reminds us to reach out to others who might seem different from us because we all need connection.
      Communication comes in many forms; we may need to slow down and be present.
  5. Once I was Very Very Scared
    • ​​​​​​​This story was written to help children and grown-ups understand how stress can affect
      children and ways to help them.
  6. Say Something!
    • ​​​​​​​This book encourages children to express themselves in different ways. Children can learn to
      speak up for themselves and others using their voice, creativity, and courage.
  7. The Good Egg
    • ​​​​​​​This is a lighthearted tale with a positive message about acceptance and the importance
      of self-care. It provides a great opportunity to talk to young children about the importance of
      prioritizing their own emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
  8. The Big Umbrella
    • ​​​​​​​This book uses a big, friendly, red umbrella that is waiting with “arms spread wide” to shelter
      anyone from the rain. The book uses simple words to encourage children to practice kindness,
      hospitality, inclusivity, and acceptance.
  9. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
    • ​​​​​​​This story teaches children about death by discussing the death of a pet cat and how the
      parents help their child process grief.
  10. What Color is Your Day? 
    • This book uses colors to represent emotions. Watercolor illustrations are used to help children
      connect their feelings to different colors.
Seeds, Plants, & More!

Appropriate Grade Range: K-6
Photo of Kit

Learn all about plants, gardening, seed life cycle, and more! Curriculum included: Learn, Eat, Grow & Go!, Kids Dig In, Discover 4-H Seeds Club, Garden Bingo


Makey Makey Kits (6 Sets)

Appropriate Grade Range: 3-12       Photo of kit

Turn anything into a fun controller with Makey Makey sets! These are fun and experiential with lots of ideas for projects that help teach concepts like conductivity and circuitry. Kit includes 6 Makey Makey sets (3-4 youth per Makey Makey recommended). A Computer is also needed –not included.

Raccoon Circles & Other Group Games

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
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Looking for some fun activities to build teamwork & trust among your group? This kit provides ideas and some supplies for simple, low-prop games.

Parachute & Group Activities

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12  Photo of Kit 

Use the giant parachute as an energizer for your group or club! The included list of games gives you ideas to get your whole group involved –no matter the age

Noodle Activities & Games

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12   

Did you know there are tons of fun games and activities using pool noodles that don’t involve water? This kit includes pool noodles, activity ideas, and the book 50 More Ways to Use Your Noodle.

Lycra Tube & Teambuilding Activities

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12    Photo of Kit

Use the giant stretchy fabric tube as a way for your group to work together on several teambuilding challenges or to learn to focus/relax. Includes one Lycra Tube & activity guide.

Kids in the Kitchen

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
Photo of Kit

Kids love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. The Kids in the Kitchen guide includes lessons and healthy recipes.  Kitchen Science & Chemistry Experiments guides are also included for a different kind of kitchen fun! The kit includes basic kitchen supplies including bowls, spoons, measuring cup sets, and a set of 20 safety knives and cutting boards.

Healthy Living and Wellness

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12    Photo of Kit

Learn all about wellness with these fun activities! The kit includes the 4-H Yoga curriculum, Spa & Relaxation activities, mindfulness card set, and supplies for many of these group activities

Bubbles & Balloons Science Set

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
Photo of Kit

Science & fun combine in these activities that all use bubbles and balloons to explore physics. Try to make dry ice-filled ‘boo bubbles’, experiment with the ‘impossible bottle’, make a screaming balloon & more!

Engineering & Construction Kit

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
Photo of Kit

Be an engineer and see what you can build! This kit includes Jix Straw Connector sets, MakeDo Cardboard Construction toolkits, the Engineering an Empire activity guide, and Mystery Build challenge cards.

Animal Tracks

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
Photo of Kit

Animal Track Mold Set for plaster use,  Guidebook to Tracks, Animal Track Rubbing Plates, Tracks, Scats, & Signs book & fun curriculum

Blender Bike

Appropriate Grade Range: K-12
Photo of Kit
4-H staff required to facilitate & be present

Bring some fun and education to your event, classroom, or group! The blender bike uses pedal power to turn the motor on the blender. Make healthy snacks like smoothies, salsa, hummus, and more the fun way using the bike! Learn about nutrition, healthy choices, and being active.  The seat adjusts easily to fit most from kindergarteners to adults! (Food ingredients may need to be purchased by the host.)  


GoPro Cameras (2 cameras and accessories)

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12      Photo of Kit

Utilize the GoPro cameras and accessories in many ways to capture video from creative angles. Encourage youth to be reporters at events or create videos using the cameras and video editing software. The possibilities are endless! Includes 2 GoPro cameras, cables, and accessories to mount in different ways (tripod, head, chest, bike, etc.)

Emergency Preparedness/ Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12
Photo of Kit

Learn about natural disasters, emergency preparedness techniques, basic first aid, creating emergency kits, & more. These skills would come in handy in case of an emergency like a zombie apocalypse! The kit contains fun zombie games, preparedness BINGO cards, para-cord survival bracelet instructions, and other supplies for activities.

Forces of Nature & Weather

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12
Photo of Kit

Learn all about the forces of nature and energy with these hands on activities! The kit includes activity guides and supplies used for exploring

Family History

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12
Photo of Kit

Explore your family history! Learn all about where your ancestors came from and what makes you unique. The kit includes the Family History activity guide, Kids’ Family Tree book, and maps (world & flags).

Crime & Spy Science

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12

Photo of Kit

Explore Crime & Spy Science through fun, hands-on activities like fingerprint dusting, decoding secret messages, and collecting evidence.

Deconstruction Activity Kit

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12
Photo of Kit

Explore what electronics and toys are made of with this kit that encourages curiosity as youth deconstruct things to learn about the components inside. The kit includes screwdrivers, pliers, safety goggles, reference guides, and more.

Circuits Kit

Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12

Learn the basics of circuits and electricity using this fun, hands-on kit! It includes one Snap Circuits Junior set, Squishy Circuits (conductive and insulating play dough to teach the basics of electrical circuits), Paper Circuits (Create your own light up cards! Learn how to create paper circuits using copper tape, coin cell batteries, paper, and LED lights), & Art Bots ( Create your own spinning, wobbling, drawing machine using electricity, small motors, circuits, and some creativity!) Learn and apply knowledge of circuits and electricity.


Appropriate Grade Range: 4-12
4-H staff required to facilitate & be present

Experience technology with fun hands-on experiences like interactive virtual reality with Oculus Rift, 3-D printing, and circuit bending with Little Bits. 

Livestock Learning Lab Kits

Appropriate Grade Range: 8-12

Learning Lab Kits from Ohio 4-H are your answer for species-specific, hands-on, durable learning materials. Use for teaching and evaluating; knowledge of livestock and companion animals. Perfect for classrooms, 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, skill-athons, agricultural association activities, and more. 

Beef: Details  

Dairy: Details 

Dog: Details 

Horse: Details 

Rabbit: Details 

Sheep: Details 

Swine: Details 


Lego Teams

4 children sitting around a table with a diagram

We offer FIRST Lego League Explore (ages 6-10) & FIRST Lego League Challenge (ages 9-16) through Linn County 4-H! We initiate teams in August every school year. If you'd like to join a team, first you need to complete the form before August 10. Registration will open again in July. Although we will do our best to get everyone on teams, signing up does not guarantee a spot. We work with volunteer coaches to establish teams, meeting dates, & locations. Please consider volunteering as a coach for a team – parents make great volunteers!

Here's a bit more about our programs through Linn County 4-H:

  • Enrollment requirements: Since this is a program supported by Linn County 4-H, adults will need to be 4-H volunteers, which includes a background check. Youth are enrolled 4-H members in STEAM Club (4-12th graders) or Clover Kid members (K-3rd graders).
  • What does it cost?
    • FIRST Lego League Explore: $25/kid for the year (includes our $15 Clover Kids 4-H enrollment fee for the year + $10 fee to cover a portion of the FLL Explore team registration fee & Lego parts).
    • FIRST Lego League Challenge: $60/kid for the year (includes our $40 4-H enrollment fee for the year + $20 fee to cover a portion of the FLL Challenge team registration fee & Lego parts). We do have financial assistance available for those who need help with these costs – we want everyone to have a chance to participate!
  • What time commitment should I expect?
    • Team meetings vary by team and coaches preferences. Many of our groups will meet roughly weekly from about August – December (this can vary by team and is determined by youth members and coaches).
    • Events: Both Explore & Challenge programs culminate with an event where youth get to showcase what they’ve learned.  For FLL Explore, teams attend a non-competitive Expo (many dates are offered from November-March). FLL Challenge teams attend qualifier events that are competitive and provide opportunities to advance to state championships.

Learn more about the FIRST programs

Learn more about Iowa FIRST programs and events

Would you like to donate to the teams? Call the office at 319.377.9839 or email linn4h@iastate.edu

Iowa 4-H Youth Development is the premier youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Providing research-based education to K-12 youth, Iowa 4-H focuses on Healthy Living, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Leadership and Civic Engagement, and Communication and the Arts. Iowa 4-H builds upon more than a century of experience in positive youth development partnering with youth to help them find their passion. For more information, please visit the Iowa 4-H website.