Educator Resources

When you use one of our loan kits you add a new dimension to your students’ learning. Our kits contain hands-on interactive learning experiences that supplement your curriculum. 

All Historical Resource Kits may also be brought into the classroom for a presentation by one of our educators. Scout troop, 4-H, Sunday School, even PTA meetings can benefit from a visit from our educators with one of these kits!


If you do not see a kit that fits your specific needs we can work with you to create your own customized kit. 


To reserve any of our loan materials, call or email the location at which they are housed as listed in the description.

 

Homer Lake Interpretive Center

Stacey Clementz: (217) 896-2455, sclementz@ccfpd.org

Museum of the Grand Prairie

Katie Snyder: (217) 586-2612, ksnyder@ccfpd.org

Environmental Resources

Aquatic Invasive Species Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District with assistance from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant developed this loan box to make learning about aquatic invasives more hands-on and interactive. The box contains aquatic invasive specimens, activities, and information on Illinois invasive species. This loan box is appropriate for ages 12 to adults.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Bird Adaptation Loan Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Birds have different types of beaks, eggs, and feet to adapt to their unique lifestyles. Our loan kit includes replicas of bird skulls, eggs, and tracks, as well as hands-on activities. Provided in partnership with the Champaign County Audubon Society.

$25 refundable deposit required.

Field Trip Pack (IDNR)

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

The Field Trip Pack includes many items to assist your children as they explore nature. Hands on equipment includes field guides, dip nets, compasses, trowels, and a whole lot more which will encourage self-initiated learning. This backpack is appropriate for ages 3 and up.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Fishing Poles: IDNR Illinois Access to Fishing

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Borrow a rod and reel from the Homer Lake Interpretive Center for FREE! Tackle packets are yours to keep. Poles can be borrowed any day the Interpretive Center is open and must be returned before closing time. Each loan requires the deposit of a current driver’s license or state ID. Ages 17 and up must also show a valid fishing license at the time of check-out; kids age 16 and under are not required to have a fishing license.

 

GPS Units

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

GPS units are available to enhance your hiking experience as you search for geocaches; track the distance, speed, and route of your hike; or learn about unique locations at Homer Lake. Staff is available at the Interpretive Center to provide a simple tutorial that will have you out hiking in no time! Borrowing a GPS unit is FREE; a valid credit card or personal check is required.

 

Illinois Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack (IDNR)

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Amphibians and reptiles are fascinating creatures! This pack has been developed to help you learn about and observe these animals in their natural environment. Binoculars, magnifying glasses, field guides, observation equipment, a headlamp, frog call recordings, and many other hands-on items are included in the pack.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Insect Backpacks

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods, District Headquarters, Lake of the Woods (contact Museum) Do you want to look for insects but don’t know how or don’t have the tools? Come out to the forest preserves and borrow an Insect Backpack! Each backpack contains a how-to guide, insect nets, bug boxes, insect guides, and much more. This backpack is appropriate for all ages.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Water Quality Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Explore the health and life of our local waters. This box contains equipment to test and measure the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and nitrogen of the water. Also included are pond dipping nets to investigate the macroinvertebrates of the water, and a binder with indoor and outdoor activities. This loan box is appropriate for ages 10 to adults.

$10 fee plus a $15 refundable deposit required.

 

Historical Resources

Civil Rights Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Do your students know about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks? Are you looking for fun and educational ways to take their exploration of civil rights to the next level? In this loan kit, you will find picture books about sung and unsung heroes and events in the Civil Rights Movement both in Champaign County and in the United States, and throughout the world. 

Also included are local photos that document the fight for civil rights locally, more than 50 primary source documents from the 2008 election of our nation’s first black President, and primary source photos in poster form. The posters depict the American Civil Rights struggle from the late 1800s to the 1960s. (Interested in studying women’s rights? See the Women’s Rights Loan Kit below.)

Wagon's Ho Learning Tub

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Are you exploring the Westward Expansion with your students? Then why not check out our "Wagon's Ho" learning tub? In the tub you will find books, artifacts and curriculum ideas and activities that bring history to life! For grades 3 through 5.

Civil War: Gone for a Soldier Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

In this kit you will find local and national primary source documents from the Civil War. we have included books and lessons that will round out your unit. Artifacts include the everyday provisions for a soldier: replica money, clothing, a soldier's knapsack, dinnerware, and more will bring history to life for your students!

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

History from the Heart Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

This outreach kit is based on the publication of the Illinois Quilt Research Project, History from the Heart: Quilt Paths Across Illinois. It includes a copy of the book, study questions, suggested activities, quilt blocks, and story books.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Illinois Native American Discovery Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Touch a brain tanned hide and a bison bone, learn what wampum is, and more! This Discovery Kit focuses on the history and culture of Native Americans who once lived throughout Central Illinois. Information on the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Cahokia, Mascouten, and other members of the Illiniwek Confederation from 1650 to 1800 is included, along with complete lesson plans, maps, a variety of hands-on materials, and Illiniwek languages tapes. This kit was created by Dan Hechenberger of the educational group Nipundikan. Funding for this kit was provided by the Ida Haack Trust Fund established by Otto Haack.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Life on the Grand Prairie Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Looking for a fun way to integrate reading, science, the arts and social studies? In this new kit you will find several prairie picture books, animal skins, wool carding tools, costumes, and toys! You will also receive links to web quests about the prairie, interactive prairie games and links to websites for further research. Check this loan kit out and watch your prairie project soar!

 

People and Animals from Illinois’ Past Kit (IDNR)

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Prehistoric mammals, extirpated mammals, and Native Americans and their relationship with nature are all topics you can teach about by using the items in this resource trunk. Targeted grades are PreK-6. Contents include: mammoth and mastodon tooth replicas, species replicas, Native American games, activities, mammoth hair, posters, replica pottery, video, reference books, and natural items used by Native Americans.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

The 1950’s Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Specifically developed for middle and high school use, this kit is about life in Champaign County in the 1950’s is packaged in an authentic Civil Defense barrel! It contains men’s and women’s clothing from the era: fedoras, gloves, and even nylons. Also included are a high school yearbook, popular magazines and books, and DVD/CDs with clips of popular music and early television shows. Lesson plans were developed through the American History Teacher's Collaborative.

$50 refundable deposit required.

Women's Rights Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Looking for a new way to explore Women’s Rights or expand your Civil Rights unit to include Women's Rights?  In this loan kit you will find artifacts, books, primary source documents, photographs, and newspaper articles to help explore the Woman’s Rights Movement from the Suffragettes in the early 20th century to today. 

$50 refundable deposit required. 

Old Fashioned Indoor Games

Add some fun and history to your inside recess time! Your students will enjoy playing old fashioned indoor games such as marbles, tops, pick up sticks, Jacob's ladder, and cups and balls. Your kit contains several sets of each game. Upon checkout, teachers will receive short educational videos for each game, explaining the history of the game as well as instructions of how to play.

Old Fashioned Outdoor Games

Add some fun and history to recess time! Your students will enjoy playin old fashioned outdoor games such as horseshoes, hoops and sticks, table quoits, graces and jump ropes. Your kit contains several sets of each game. Upon checkout, teachers will receive short educational videos for each game, explaining the history of the game as well as instructions of how to play.

1968 Kit

What toys did kids play with in the 60's? How did they listen to music? What things represent the cultural revolution that defined our own era? Check out this kit filled with toys, records, magazines, clothing and other artifacts of the period. Photos of local and national events as well as books are included.

 

Educational Videos

Visit our YouTube channels, @ccfpd and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx46OiVsG4YnedXpwdTp3QQfor many environmental and history/cultural videos to supplement your classroom curriculum. Some videos directly support our loan kits! If you see a video on our YouTube channel that intrigues you, give us a call and we can collaborate to create some in classroom activities. 

Self-Guided Trail Brochures

Be your own guide! We invite you to explore nature at your convenience with a new series of brochures that will help you experience some of our preserves’ most popular trails. These brochures include detailed trail maps, photos, and information about the flora and fauna that await you on the trail!

Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve: 

Homer Lake Forest Preserve: