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Kids enjoy 'Peep Olympics' at Sherwood Library during spring break

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Connor Lawson flings a Peep with a catapult during the Peep Olympics at the Sherwood Library.It's spring break this week, and local libraries have been hosting even more activities and programs than usual geared toward vacationing children and teenagers.

It's also Easter this coming Sunday, and stores are filled with holiday-themed candy and other products.

Those two facts — along with the fact that 2016 is an Olympic year — combined at the Sherwood Public Library on Tuesday, as kids on spring break put yellow marshmallow Peeps through their paces with a series of events in the “Peep Olympics.”

“During this time, a lot of libraries have done Peep dioramas,” said youth services librarian Jaime Thoreson. “If you look online, they're really elaborate, and I wanted to have a program for elementary kids, and I just didn't know if that would be a doable kind of program. So I thought, 'OK. It's an Olympic year. I know that it's fun to play with food. So how about we have a program where you just play with the Peeps, and they do the Olympic course?'”

The young participants affixed numbers on their Peeps — just like real athletes — and did crafts in the library community room.

For a “slalom” course down a sheet of posterboard propped against a table, kids taped together and colored paper boats for the Peeps to ride in. For another event, they built “towers” out of dry spaghetti and marshmallows, trying to build them to support the weight of their Peeps.

Melissa Lawson brought her kids Ryley, 8, and Connor, 5, who attend Middleton Elementary School, to the library for the Peep Olympics.

“We look for good family fun that we know will be appropriate and entertaining, and … it's actually somewhat educational at the same time,” Lawson said.

Thoreson credited TeenLAB, Sherwood's youth library advisory board, with helping brainstorm what to do with the activity.

“We came up with a lot of different ideas,” said 12-year-old Chris Martin, a TeenLAB member who was helping out with the program Tuesday.

Since the Peep Olympics were geared toward elementary-age children, Chris explained, the organizers had to be mindful of their needs.

“We want them to have fun, and so most of the activities are pretty basic, rather than more complex stuff — that's for teens,” he said.

By Mark Miller
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