Emporia is Ready for Launch!

Hopkins Foundation funds Learning Launch Kits for 240 Children

Hundreds of children in Emporia will prepare for launch with rocket-themed learning kits from the Kansas Children's Discovery Center. The museum created 240 Learning Launch Kits packed with science projects to be distributed free to families by the Emporia Public Library. The kits were generously funded by the E.L. & Z. Irene Hopkins Foundation.

Each kit contains a miniature air rocket kit and supplies to build a pompom launcher, a chemistry rocket and a tabletop catapult, plus a measuring tape and safety glasses. A play guide contains activity instructions in English and Spanish. The kits encourage open-ended experimentation and play, designed to get children thinking creatively while learning about force, measurement, chemical reactions, and data recording.

The Learning Launch Kits is the latest in a series of at-home play programs from the Discovery Center during the pandemic. Shortly after closing the building in March, museum staff called and emailed thousands of local families to find out about their needs and responded with online activity videos and learning kit deliveries.

Activities helped families use play to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math. Discovery at Home online videos were viewed nearly 400,000 times, and 350 learning kits were distributed. Museum programs have specifically targeted low-income and underserved children, out of concern for learning gaps created by limited access to educational resources for many families during the pandemic.

Learning Launch Kits will be distributed by the Emporia Public Library at the end of November.