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Residents entertain children on extended winter break

Sycamore resident Sara Jennings shows her 3-year-old son, Cohen, how to paint Monday at home. Schools were closed because of the cold weather.
Sycamore resident Sara Jennings shows her 3-year-old son, Cohen, how to paint Monday at home. Schools were closed because of the cold weather.

SYCAMORE – Monday was craft day for Sycamore resident Sara Jennings’ two children.

Liliana, 7, and Cohen, 3, spent the day at home rather than being in school because of Monday’s frigid temperatures. Jennings said she wanted to find a creative way for her children to spend their time on the day they were supposed to be back in school after winter break.

“We’re always trying to do something creative,” Jennings said. “They can be a little more creative doing crafts.”

The children painted at the designated craft table and played with building blocks and stuffed animals while drinking hot chocolate and eating a cup of marshmallows.

Liliana painted a picture of the sun and Earth and drew a picture of something she called “a roller coaster stair rainbow,” her favorite creation of the day.

Jennings called Liliana a creative child who even created her own game called “blodgeball,” which the family plays using a ball and their netted trampoline with a 5-foot diameter.

The game has two versions: one requires one player to lay inside the trampoline on their back while the other player throws the ball inside, trying to score by having the ball touch the bottom of the trampoline.

The other has both players outside of the trampoline with one trying to throw the ball inside the trampoline while the other bats it away with their arm.

“She’s really good at inventing new ways of using toys or crafts,” Jennings said.

Other families were out grocery shopping Monday at Hy-Vee with their children.

DeKalb resident Erin Surwillo was shopping with her 4-year-old daughter, who attends day care.

Surwillo decided to not take her daughter to day care because she wasn’t working at her regular job at Northern Illinois University.

“I figured if I’m going to be home, might as well make her stay,” she said.

Sycamore resident Mike Wakeland took his son, 7-year-old Liam, with him and his wife to Hy-Vee on a family excursion which included doctor’s appointments.

The Wakelands said Liam would play with his building blocks and that the family would have soup for dinner when they got home.

“It’s a good chance to spend family time together and sit in front of a fire,” Wakeland said.

Wakeland said he didn’t mind having Liam at home because it was safer than going outside and risking a bus breaking down in the cold weather.

“Just going from the [Hy-Vee] parking lot to here was good enough,” he said.

Adam MacNeille, of DeKalb, didn’t wait until Monday to entertain his family. After hosting his brother and his brother’s girlfriend for dinner Sunday, they tried to emulate a video they saw on YouTube in which people in Canada filled a large water gun with boiling water and watched the hot water evaporate when sprayed into minus 41 degree air.

They couldn’t get it to work so well with water guns, but tried it a few different ways with larger containers.

“We found the hotter we got the water, the less it wouldn’t freeze,” MacNeille said. “The kids were loving it.”

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