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Jefferson County Extension begins 'Kits on the Go'

Hilary Lanman, an AmeriCorps 4-H member and an employee of Jefferson County ISU Extension, is in charge of the “Kits on the Go” program the extension office is putting on from February through May. (Photo courtesy of Hilary Lanman)
Hilary Lanman, an AmeriCorps 4-H member and an employee of Jefferson County ISU Extension, is in charge of the “Kits on the Go” program the extension office is putting on from February through May. (Photo courtesy of Hilary Lanman)
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FAIRFIELD — Jefferson County ISU Extension and Outreach is hosting a program this spring where kids can get hands-on activities to do in the comfort of their own homes.

The program is known as “Kits on the Go,” and it’s similar to programs the extension office held over the summer where kids could take home packets and do an educational activity with their family. The Kits on the Go program will come in monthly installments from February to May, the first week of each month. The deadline to sign up for the February kit is Monday, Jan. 25.

There is no cost to participate, and no limit to the number of kids who can sign up.

Hilary Lanman, an AmeriCorps 4-H member and an employee of Jefferson County ISU Extension, is in charge of the program. She said the kits will have a different theme each month on a different topic related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). For instance, the first month’s kit will be about the weather.

“We’ll have the kids make a foaming, frosty snowman and a wind vane,” Lanman said. “We’ll give the kids all the supplies they’ll need to do the lessons.”

Lanman still is planning the themes for the other months, and she’s considering doing one on animals.

Kits are available for children in grades kindergarten through eighth. Lanman said there will be separate kits for children based on their age, with the kindergartners through third-graders grouped together and the fourth- through eighth-graders grouped together. The older kids will receive a packet with more advanced educational materials.

The extension office will be distributing the kits to four pickup locations in the county:

• Jefferson County ISU Extension and Outreach.

• Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

• Cambridge Investment Research (employees only).

• Pekin Community Schools in rural Packwood.

Jefferson County ISU Extension has held some programs in-person such as certification classes for pesticide applicators. In the past year, the office has been offering educational programs to children that they can do at home so they don’t have to worry about the pandemic.

Lanman is a Jefferson County native and alumna of Fairfield High School who spent the last two years working for Wapello County ISU Extension and who just started working for Jefferson County ISU Extension in December. She said it’s been nice to be able to work in her home county where she participated in 4-H and showed meat goats, chickens and rabbits at the fair.

Lanman was most recently working on a program in Wapello County called “Produce with a Purpose,” where she made boxes full of produce and educated the public on how to prepare the produce in various ways.

“I’ve been upgraded from vegetables to children,” Lanman joked.