Candy, marshmallows, “Magic: The Gathering” and teens at Catoosa library
Starburst candy, marshmallows, powdered sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch. Some food coloring thrown in for good measure. If you’re thinking this sounds like an experiment more than a recipe, you’re sort of right.
One Tuesday each month at the Catoosa County Library is “Play With Your Food” night for teens. Kids get to do things Mom isn’t likely to allow at home. And they learn a few science principles in the process.
“With the Starburst Taffy and Marshmallow Playdoh we made,” says Erica Tuggle, Teen/ Tween coordinator for the library, “the kids learned about oxidization and caramelization.”
The kids also have fun and they get to taste their concoctions. As gooey mixtures oozed through their fingers late Tuesday afternoon, the kids made appropriate comments, “Oooh, yuk, this feels like preparing a pork loin.” This last from a young fellow who admitted that he had not actually ever
prepared a pork loin.
Characteristic of events for tweens and teens at the Catoosa Library is the relaxed atmosphere and easy camaraderie among even young people who have never met each other before. While four of the attendees worked on their food experiments, three teenaged boys sat at a corner table playing a game called “Magic: The Gathering” as a fourth gravitated between the two groups and all the kids exchanged banter and opinions about school and other things.
“We’re really flexible about what we do,” says Shannon Neal, head of the children’s department at the library. “We have all kinds of activities for kids of all ages and we’re always working on new ones. We also have a student advisory group that helps decide on activities.”
On April 17, teens will be making Mochi (a Japanese rice cake) filled with things like Nutella, jelly and ice cream). But there’s no need to wait that long to get involved. The library has activities many days every week.
For pre-teens and teenagers, the Catoosa Library is turning into the place to be. Besides “Play With Your Food” night (afternoon, really), there are game nights, a Mad Scientist Club, Art Club, Coffee Book Club, Guitar lessons, tween breakfasts, board game nights, movie nights and craft activities (how about “Make a duct tape wallet”?).
And for the younger crowd, there’s just as much – crafts, science experiments, music, Legos, movie times and story hour.
When school lets out for the year, what the library offers for children and young people will increase to complement the Summer Reading Club.
“I’m really excited about what we’re doing,” says Neal. “The kids love it and our numbers keep growing.
To learn more about what the Catoosa County Library offers, visit catoosacountylibrary. org or facebook.com/ catoosacountylibrary. You can also email the library at Info@ catoosacountylibrary. org or call 706-965-3600. Library hours are Mon. and Wed. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Tues. and Thurs. 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The library is located at 108 Catoosa Circle in Ringgold.
Teens gathered at the Catoosa County Library on the first day of spring to create edible science experiments. (Catoosa News photo/Tamara Wolk)
Above: Sometimes your Marshmallow Playdoh at the library turns out just the right color. Right: These three young men gather regularly at the Catoosa Library to play “Magic: The Gathering,” a complex trading card game. (Catoosa News photos/Tamara Wolk)
Purple was the color of choice for this teen making her own Playdoh out of marshmallows, coconut oil and corn starch. (Catoosa News photo/Tamara Wolk)