Educational Hands-On Kits


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.



  • Please reserve kits at least 2 weeks in advance. Please fill out the check out form, online or printed. The printed should be emailed to

  • Kits are free to check out and may be checked out for up to two weeksKits can be picked up and returned to the Linn County Extension office from 8am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday (If you need a later time, we can work with you to make accommodations.)

  • A contract will be signed at the time of pick-up stating that you will be charged if the kit isn't returned in aceeptable condition or with in the agreed time. 

Damage Control: 

  • If we feel there is any damage beyond normal use, we will bill the individual for the repair/replacement of the kit.

  • Families/groups who do not pay when billed will not be permitted to check out any kits until the bill is paid.



Upon completing a kit, fill out a kit feedback form, available to you as an editable Microsoft Word document, and return to Linn County Extension along with kit.


Available Kits - Printable PDF Table Here


Kit Topic
Click Title link to view photo of kit

Appropriate Grade Range

Brief Description

STEM Lit to Go! Kits
(each lesson is in a separate small kit)



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.

Raccoon Circles & Other Group Games

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


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.

Lycra Tube & Teambuilding Activities


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

Noodle Activities & Games


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.

Kids in the Kitchen


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


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.

Emergency Preparedness/ Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse


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


Learn all about the forces of nature and energy with these hands on activities! The kit includes activity guides and supplies used for exploring tornadoes, volcanoes, lightning, snow, weather, solar power, and more.

Family History


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).

Bubbles & Balloons Science Set


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!

Monarchs on the Move


Want to learn more about the monarch butterfly, its amazing migration, its habitat, and its life cycle? Explore all of these things with fun hands-on activities and games. Try to get your team’s caterpillar to survive on the milkweed model (younger youth) & explore habitat conservation practices (older youth).

Engineering & Construction 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.

Crime & Spy Science


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

Deconstruction Activity 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
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.
Bridge Building


Introduce youth to the exciting career of engineering as they develop abilities of technological design!  Challenge youth to design a structure to meet a specific need. The unit utilizes Knex pieces to build different types of bridge and materials needed to build a truss bridge large enough for students to crawl across.

DNA Smoothies


Is there DNA in my food? Learn to extract DNA from fruit that has been blended with water. A portion of the fruit mixture is taken to experiment with and extract the DNA, while the rest is made into a delicious smoothie to enjoy!

Animal Tracks


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

Seeds, Plants, & More!


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

STEM Lit to Go! Iowa



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.

IA1: A Chair for Bear

IA2: Blast Off

IA3: Code Across Iowa

IA4: Hour at the Fair

IA5: Marvelous Marshmallows

IA6: Munching Mysteries

IA7: Scream for Ice Cream

IA8: Sound All Around

IA9: Super Shapes

IA10: Take a Chance

IA11: Tricky Towers

IA12: Wonders of Nature

*FLEX 2 Go STEM Kit  4-12th

*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. 

*Robots – Dash/Dot & Beebots  

*4-H staff required to facilitate & be present

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

*Blender Bike 

*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 adult! (Food ingredients may need to be purchased by host.) 

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