In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, agents with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service are tasked with finding creative ways to reach, educate and entertain our clients. One of the ways we are doing that in Madison County is by packaging up the extension office and making it available to our youth. Our goal is to continue with programing by providing free activities that are educational through our learn by doing approach, and keep the youth engaged in these uncharted waters.

In order to help our clients continue to practice social distancing, we are providing activities with all of the matching supplies in to-go bags. The idea for the to-go project kits came out of the 4-H agent social media group, where Kentucky agents virtually gather to share ideas. In Madison County we have put together and distributed over 1,000 project kits, with more going out each day!

One of the projects given out over that past few weeks was a healthy living kit, where youth were given all of the supplies to make a stress-ball along with a resource packet on managing stress as a child. Activities in the packet included links to 4-H Yoga, tips for families to work on managing stress, virtual games on healthy living and more.

Another project was an owl pellet dissection kit! This activity included a lesson on the food chain and specifically what owls eat. Owl pellets are regurgitated pellets filled with fur, skulls, bones, fish scales, feathers and insect exoskeletons that an owl's stomach churns into a pellet. These kits included the pellet, basic tools for dissection and dissection guides so youth could identify and analyze what the owl had been eating.

Other packages the office has assembled include activities for painting projects, entomology collections, how to sew on a button, sculpting, seed germination, woodworking kits, recycled crafts, and more! Anyone in the county is welcome to pick up a kit, we just ask that you only take one per child ages 5-18.

Agents are also working to find innovative virtual contests and activities such as the Madison County 4-H Communications Contest, Baking Challenges, Cupcake Wars, Photography Challenges and more! Be sure to check out these online programs and activities by visiting the Madison County KY 4-H Facebook Page.

Our office is currently closed to in-person traffic through guidelines from the University of Kentucky and the CDC so we are leaving the kits outside of the office in totes and then using social media to let people know when they are available. If you have a child ages 5-18 in Madison County then check out the Madison County KY 4-H Facebook Page on more information to join in on the fun!

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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