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Extension teaches candy bracelets, soccer skills, bike safety with Summer Funshops

How can 9-12 year olds get involved in an action-packed slate of activities this summer, from making fossils and bird feeders to taking nature walks and learning cool soccer moves? By signing up for the Franklin County Extension Agencies Summer Funshops.

The Funshops will serve every child participating in the county’s T.R.A.C.K.S. program this summer, but they are also open to the public. Sessions will be held each Tuesday through July 19, except July 5, with a morning time slot from 9 a.m. to noon and an afternoon time slot from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

The Summer Funshops have been a program of the Extension since the 1990s, and 4-H agent and instructor Stephanie Crandell said organizers keep a few goals in mind when they choose the activities to offer each summer.

“We wanted to do something that would keep the kids’ attention, and we wanted them to be outside a lot,” Crandell said. Another focus was providing opportunities and resources children might not get a chance to access usually, like Cypress Cove Farms and the Red Bay Water Park.

Programs will emphasize healthy eating and being active, hopefully enticing children away from their video games and iPads, if only for a few hours a week. “We’re trying to keep it interesting but also educational. We’re just trying to get away from electronics and get them out, active and involved,” Crandell said.

About 80 children will participate from the T.R.A.C.K.S. program. Crandell said parents from the community who would like their children to participate should call in advance of each session to sign up, so the Extension can make sure to have enough project materials for each child.

Children may be dropped off for each program, but Crandell said parents are asked to return to pick up their children promptly at the end of the program.

For more information or to sign up , call the Extension office at 256-332-8880.



Location: Franklin County Extension, Courthouse Basement

Topic: Good nutrition is important! Learn good eating habits and food choices.

Project: Make healthy candy bracelets.

Instructors: Dr. Kristy Crandell and dietitian Sue Hellums



Location: Franklin County Extension, Courthouse Basement

Topic: Learn parts of a cow, nutrition, health and cattle production.

Project: Create footprint cow face.

Instructor: Orland Britnell, Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association



Location: Cypress Cove Farm

Topic: Walk the nature trail and creeks and experience wildlife and birds.

Project: Make and take a bird feeder.

Instructor: Stephanie Crandell



Location: Red Bay Water Park

Topic: Learn water safety tips to keep you safe this summer.

Project: Soccer ball moves.

Instructor: Red Bay Parks and Recreation



Location: Franklin County Extension, Courthouse Basement

Topic: Learn about different plants and how they grow.

Project: Set up a “chia” head to grow herb “hair.”

Instructor: Melody Pearson


All classes will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30-3:30 p.m.