Library offers holiday activities

Children engage in free play after designing their own gingerbread cookies during a pre-Christmas program Saturday at Amsterdam Free Library. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

AMSTERDAM — No twins were at Amsterdam Free Library’s gingerbread decoration program on Saturday.

Children freely expressed themselves in designing the gingerbreads—so no two looked the same.

Damien Hayes of Amsterdam used reds and greens to make his cookie look “like a candy cane.”

“They’re fun, and you can put anything on them,” he said.

The library does “a lot of things for the kids,” said Paul Somers of Amsterdam.

He said the children enjoy being creative and “then they get to eat the fun.”

“My guy woke up and wanted to do this.”

Nicolle Kane, who was raised in Amsterdam but lives in Rotterdam, said, “This is a great library. We come all the time.”

For Amanda Sweener of the town of Amsterdam and Chris Hendricks of the town of Florida, the gathering was a reunion of sorts.

“We met at the library four years ago,” she said. The youngsters are going to different schools and are older now, she added.

“The kids were more excited about playing together than making the cookies.”

Once their cookies were decorated, the children went to the toy area to engage in free play.

“Everyone’s hectic with the holidays,” said library director Nicole Hemsley. “This is a great way to unwind.”

The children “get to use their imaginations. which is what we love.”

“It teaches them that the library isn’t just about books,” she said.

Like schools, the library puts emphasis on activities that teach STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art and math, Hemsley said.

The library has a cart full of items that children can use to tinker, such as LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, magnetic tiles and marbles for racing.

“My staff are all super-creative” and some are teachers by trade, Hemsley said. Even 2- and 3-year-olds have been able to do simple science experiments, she said.

By Patricia Older

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