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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kids Get Cabin Fever… and Like It

Kids Get Cabin Fever… and Like It
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)

Fairfield, CT – When planners at Fairfield Woods Branch Library developed their “Cabin Fever” program, they expected winter would be in full swing and some fun diversions would help relieve the winter blahs. Thus far, though, this winter has been tame and mild -- yet kids still turned up to enjoy activities.

Held late Friday afternoon in the Down Under Teen Space at the 1147 Fairfield Woods Road facility, the program took a cue from Author Jeff Kinney’s “Cabin Fever”, the latest installment in his very popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series. Geared to kids in grades 4 to 6, program fun included activities one might do indoors on a harsh winter day.

“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 Shaw.

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, kids sat making – and eating – 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 frosting.

The largest part of the room was dedicated to the relay race. 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 those same layers.

“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 a number of programs the Library offers for the age set. Others include a chess club on Saturdays, mock game show activities and a science series, according to Nancy Coriaty, Head Librarian. “The Library is no longer just a building that holds books. We’ve become a community commons,” she said.

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