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Beat the Heat with a DIY Neck Cooler

These DIY neck coolers are great to help youth learn about sewing AND science!

These DIY neck coolers are great to help youth learn about sewing AND science!

Even though it is not yet August, the Florida heat is sweltering.  Staying hydrated is key, but you can also stay comfortable outdoors with a neck cooler.  The neck cooler helps cool the blood pumping to your head and is a very effective way to prevent heatstroke when you need to be outdoors.  This project is also a great beginner sewing project  for 4-Hers and volunteers!  This project is from the online Maker Movement Magazine.  It is also a fun way to tie in the science of hydro-gels polymers.  Hydro-gel polymers are long molecule chains that absorb water efficiently and easily.  They are used in agriculture to prevent soil erosion, conserve water and even soak up toxic spills from our environment.  A great extension of this project would be the Helpful Hydro-gel Experiment by Steve Spangler- the 2008 National 4-H Youth Science Day Experiment.

Youth are learning how to measure and cut fabric for their neck coolers with Monica Brinkley, County Extension Director and Agent in Liberty County

Youth are learning how to measure and cut fabric for their neck coolers with Monica Brinkley, County Extension Director and Agent in Liberty County

Here’s what you need to make your neck cooler:

  • 1 piece of fabric measuring 36 inches long and 5 inches wide
  • 1 tsp of hydro-gels (found in the gardening supply section of your local store)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle (if sewing by hand) or sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Fold the piece of fabric lengthwise (right sides together) and press to form a tube.  Stitch a 1/2 inch seam across one end and down the length of the fabric.  Turn the tube right-side out and press.  From the stitched end of the tube, measure 4 1/2 inches and stitch a seam across to make a pocket for the hydro-gels. On the open end of the tube, use a funnel to pour 1 tsp of dry hydro-gel beads inside the pocket.  Next, fold the ends of the open tube inside and stitch securely.  To activate the gels, simply soak in cool water. Tie around your neck and stay cool!

Neck coolers can be sewn by hand or with a sewing machine

Neck coolers can be sewn by hand or with a sewing machine

Other helpful UF IFAS Extension resources:

Hydration Myths

 Hydration in Hot Working Environments

Hydration Safety

4-H Sewing Project Info

Ultimate Guide to a Safe and Fun 4th of July!

4-H Kids at a 4th of July Picnic.

 Photo credit: UF IFAS Photography

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays!  Growing up it was the time that my family (even those distant cousins) gathered together for a weekend of fun, food, and fireworks. There is nothing worse than spending your holiday sick or injured, so we have complied plenty of resources to help you plan a celebration that is fun, but also keeps everyone safe:

We hope you have a fabulous 4th of July and that these tips and resources add to the fun!

Volunteering in the Panhandle Spring 2011

 Sherri Kraeft
Wakulla County 4-H Agent
Wakulla County 4-H
84 Cedar Avenue
Crawfordville, FL   32327
sjkraeft@ufl.edu
850-926-3931
850-926-8789
 

As summer quickly is upon us, we are all looking forward to summer camps and cookouts, fun in the sun and ways to spend time with our families and fellow 4-Hers. In this issue of the newsletter, we are giving volunteers, parents and others creative ideas for how to have fun this summer with 4-H. Even though each county program differs in what they offer during the summer months, we all want to stay connected and active throughout the summer and into the fall. While it is getting hotter by the minute, we in Wakulla County 4-H are excited to be offering four new day camping programs and we have just conducted a successful fundraiser called Jam 4 Camp. Be sure to read all about how to involve teen counselors and don’t miss the information on how to teach science without actually being a scientist; really, it’s easy!

While you enjoy your summer activities, also don’t forget to be safe in the sun and be aware of some of the common hazards and warning signs for dehydration and sun-related illnesses. You can find more information about sun safety and protection at http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/news/2006/06/sun-safety-for-babies-and-children.html and  http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/actionsteps.html. Have a safe and sunny summer!