Union County students can explore science topics at home with the help of free kits assembled by Union County 4-H, a youth development program that engages K-12 students in hands-on learning and civic service while practicing teamwork,  organization, public speaking and other important life skills.

Union County 4-H is run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County under the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and is supported in part by the Freeholder Board.

“On behalf of the Freeholder Board, I want to thank the staff of the Extension for assembling the kits and continuing to provide enriching new experiences to Union County students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We are very proud to support 4-H and all of the Extension programs.”

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Each kit provides students with simple materials for building lava lamps and balloon rockets, baking bread and making meals, and more.

The Extension staff has also created how-to videos and handouts to go with the kits. To view a sample video, visit the Elizabeth Public Library on Facebook.

To request a kit, contact the Elizabeth Library Children’s Department at CFlores@elizpl.org, or contact the Rahway Library Children’s Department at childrens@rahwaylibrary.org.

The Extension has developed several new virtual programs to continue its public education mission during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the 4-H from Home interactive webinar series. The Extension is also hosting a food security current webinar series for teens presented by the World Food Prize New Jersey Youth Institute. Both series run through December.

Union County 4-H belongs to the national 4-H youth program, the largest youth development program in the United States. Participation in 4-H is associated with better grades at school, and a stronger interest in taking science classes, attending college, and contributing to the community. A recent Tufts University study found that as a group, girls who join 4-H clubs are especially likely to demonstrate positive behaviors.

Union County 4-H is run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and supported in part by the Freeholder Board, with offices at the Union County Complex at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. For more information on how to join Union County 4-H, contact Union County 4-H Agent James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854 or jnichnadowicz@ucnj.org.

For information about all Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County programs for youth and adults ucnj.or\g/rce.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University and the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 and updates on statewide vaccine planning are available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.