Precariously perched piles of boxes, tubes and Popsicle sticks loomed over the tables of Evergreen Branch Library on Wednesday for its Extreme Structures program.
Children ages 7 to 11 had a chance to design their own creations using recyclable items like these.
“We let them be creative and let them use their imagination,” Evergreen librarian Carol Kotsch said. “Sometimes the simple things work pretty well.”
The program at Evergreen was one of many events the Wichita Public Library has coordinated for its winter break program. The free events range from arts and crafts at Westlink, “Gnomeo and Juliet” at Rockwell and a popcorn party at the Central Library.
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“We know that when kids have that time off, parents want a way to keep the kids involved,” special-projects librarian Jennifer Heinicke said. “It’s a family way to keep active.”
Kotsch said that she was inspired by a similar Extreme Structures program another library hosted, which reminded her of her childhood in southwest Kansas.
“I had to make my own amusement with things that were just sitting around,” Kotsch said. “I’m hoping to show them that they can do the same.”
There was no shortage of creativity Wednesday afternoon, as cardboard castle keeps, Hot Wheel tracks, water wheels and percussion sets lined the tables. Sam Shaffer, 8, worked for a solid hour designing a ramp for his Hot Wheels.
“I’m designing a track,” Sam said. “I have a lot of Hot Wheels.”
His mother, Kristin Shaffer, is a patron of Evergreen and enjoys coming to events the library hosts.
“It makes them think about what they’re doing instead of sitting in front of the TV all day,” she said.
Twins Katrina and Kira Crow, 9, built a complex ramp to put gumballs down. Katrina said she enjoys going to hands-on library events.
“I like to read, and I like to build,” Katrina said.
Their mother, Maryann Crow, said that they had attended a craft fair earlier in the day at the Central Library.
“It was either this or the pirate party across town,” she said.
Heinicke said that the Wichita Public Library works to invent free, creative programs for when school is not in session.