With everybody staying home and schools closed for the rest of the school year, parents and students have been looking for education activities. When the Jones County Extension Office began offering Adventure Bags, they immediately became one of the hottest tickets in town.
The bags offer an educational, hands-on science project for kids to do with their parents, including all the instructions necessary to complete the projects and materials explaining why the experiments work. The idea was to provide activities that the whole family could complete, without having to sit in front of a computer. Activities included making slime, the baking soda and vinegar volcano, growing a seed in a cotton ball and paper flowers using coffee filters and ink.
Jacki Luckstead, youth development program specialist at the Jones County Extension Office, said they got the idea from one of their Kentucky offices.
For the first week, the office produced 15 packs to be handed out at the Extension Office in Monticello, advertising the packs on the office’s Facebook page.
“We had no idea how it would go,” Luckstead said. “Those 15 bags were gone in 20 minutes.”
After putting out a signup sheet on Facebook and getting more than 60 requests, 100 were produced and split between the Jones County Extension Office and the Anamosa library for the second week. They still didn’t last long.
“We had people driving in from all over the county to come get them,” Luckstead said.
They are now producing 200 packs and dropping them off at the Wyoming Public Library and the Olin Elementary School.
The feedback has been universally positive, via the postcards included for comments included in the packs.
The packs are offering the office the possibility to workshop the packs as they will be expanded for camps in a box over the summer, each containing a week’s worth of activities and replacing their summer discovery programs.
“We want to get it into every community that we normally would be at,” Luckstead said, noting they still had to make materials available for Cascade and Oxford Junction.
The bags are available Wednesdays in Monticello and Anamosa from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Wyoming from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Olin during meal pickup time from 11 a.m. to noon.