DALLAS - The combination of circuits, Sinterklaas and dreidels may seem a little odd to some folks but was perfectly normal to children at the Back Mountain Memorial Library on Dec. 18.
Fourteen children registered for the free event that incorporated a holiday craft involving basic circuitry, origami, a lesson on the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, and how to spin the dreidel, said Jennifer Perch, the children’s librarian at the Back Mountain Library in Dallas.
Hailey Geffert, 10, and her younger brother Jayden, 9, of Larksville, liked the variety of events.
“I liked spinning the dreidel,” Jayden said, adding he wants to fashion a gingerbread man with a light-up tie, make an origami box and find out what is Sinterklaas.
The children’s mother Amanda Geffert said they come to the library every weekend and saw the event advertised.
Katey Puskar, of Dallas, brought her two daughters Ava, 8, and Elin, 5.
“We follow the library on Facebook,” Katey said. “Ava loves science.”
Ava and Elin were working on designing a piece of brown foam in the shape of a gingerbread man. A small lightbulb, inserted through a hole would light the gingerbread man’s bow tie if the circuit were correct.
The lightbulb’s thin wires were connected by copper tape, which created a circuit to a battery, located on the backside of the gingerbread man’s hand.
Another piece of brown foam covered backside of the gingerbread man and covered the circuit.
When someone pushed on the gingerbread man’s hand, the battery would make contact with the copper, and the tie would light up.
But Ava and Elin’s gingerbread men were not lighting up.
“This is what science is all about,” Katey said while trying to troubleshoot Ava’s circuit. “Trial and error.”
The librarian was also working on Elin’s project and noted that there was a tiny tear in the copper tape, which broke the electrical flow.
Nearby, Dallas Elementary School first-grade teacher Heather Pitcavage was teaching children how to make an origami gift box out of colored paper.
In the back of the Children’s Library, Dallas resident Monique Pritchard was eager to teach guests about Sinterklaas, a custom from her native country, Holland.
Sinterklaas, also known as St. Nicolaas, has some similarities to Santa Claus, she said.
Sinterklaas originated from Turkey, Pritchard said.
Sinterklaas’ image does have some resemblance to Santa Claus such as he wears red and white, brings gifts for children and has helpers, she said.
Sinterklaas’ helpers are called Piet (pronounced Pete), Pritchard said.
“There is a Piet for everything, cleaning, cooking and taking care of the horse,” she said.
Sinterklaas does visit homes by going from roof top to roof top, but he rides a magic white horse, Pritchard said.
“His helpers go down the chimney to deliver the gifts because Sinterklaas is too old to do that,” she said.
Pritchard gave the children a chance to dress up like Sinterklaas and his helpers.
The evening event ended with light refreshments.