Kids warm up to library 'Cabin Fever' despite balmy winter
Updated 6:24 am, Tuesday, January 31, 2012
When planners at Fairfield Woods Branch Library hatched the them for a "Cabin Fever" program, they expected winter would be in full swing. So the event was designed to offer diversions to help relieve the winter blahs.
So far, though, this winter has been tame and mild, with the temperature hitting nearly 60 degrees Friday when the activity took place.
That didn't stop youngsters from having a blizzard of fun.
Staged in the branch library's Down Under Teen Space, the program took a cue from author Jeff Kinney's "Cabin Fever," the latest installment in his popular "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book series. Geared to children in grades four to six, activities mimicked the kinds of fun possible in a yard full of snow.
"We have activity stations related to food, exercise and brain stimulation," said Teen Librarian Jennifer Laseman who, along with Diane Conroy of the Children's Department, coordinated the hour-long event. "Specifically, we're making mini-edible log cabins, holding a snow clothes relay race and doing book-based Mad Libs."
Participants, about 15 in all, were split up into three groups and each group took a turn at one of the three activity stations.
In one area, kids sat at round tables with a printed passage from "Cabin Fever" and pulled words from each other to fill in blanks Mad Lib-style.
One Mad Libber, Dylan Shaw, 9, of Fairfield, said he had Kinney's book at home. "The main character Greg Heffley is snowed in with his little brother Manny and they find stuff to do to pass the time," said Dylan.
Another Mad Libber, Jessie Rutkauskas, 9, said, "It's kind of fun to have a page to work with from a favorite book."
At one long table, youngster fashioned -- and then ate -- log cabins using pretzels, graham crackers and heaps of frosting. "This is yummy to make these," said Nadia Roshenets, 10, as she completed her cabin. It didn't last long, succumbing to eager fingers picking at the "snow" frosting.
One section of the room was designated for relay races. At one end, two children at a time put on layer after layer of snow clothes, balanced a Styrofoam snow ball on a long-handled spoon and raced down and around a stool, trying to beat each other back to the start and remove all the winter gear.
"That was kind of hard and sweaty because of all the different layers, big and small," said relay racer Andrew DelAngelo, 9, who competed against Finnian Mobley, 11. "I think I had 15 pieces of clothing on."
"Cabin Fever" is among the programs the Fairfield Woods Branch Library offers young people. Others include a chess club on Saturdays, mock game show activities and a science series, according to Nancy Coriaty, the head librarian. "The library is no longer just a building that holds books. We've become a community commons," she said.