With spring break scheduled this coming week or next for most Dakota County schools, local libraries have plenty of fun (and free) activities planned. While some are full with waiting lists, many still have openings. A rundown follows. For a full library calendar and links to registration forms, see http://tinyurl.com/2fwjujs.


Monday: Kids will make artwork using nail polish and keys or old jewelry at the Robert Trail Library in Rosemount. (2:30-4:30 p.m. Registration required.)

Tuesday: From 10-11:30 a.m. in Apple Valley, kids can make creations with Legos and Duplos. That afternoon in Burnsville, the Works Museum features a workshop on building mini-catapults, straw rockets and circuits (1:30-3:30 p.m.), and in Rosemount, kids can play bingo and win used books (2-3 p.m.).

Wednesday: Kids in Apple Valley can play bingo to win used books (1-2 p.m.), and from 2-3:30 p.m., the Writers Club (ages 10-12) meets in Rosemount. According to Kierstin Fure, publications coordinator for Dakota County libraries, participants will do word and writing games and will get ideas for starting their own writers' clubs. (Registration required.) That evening, the Wentworth Library in West St. Paul invites kids and adults to a book trivia night. (6:30-8 p.m.)

Thursday: In Rosemount, kids can decorate T-shirts or jeans using bleach pens. (2:30-4:30 p.m. Registration required.)

Friday: From 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Eagan, kids can do spring-inspired crafts, such as coffee-filter flowers. From 2 to 2:45 p.m. in West St. Paul, kids can explore reflection and symmetry using mirrors and build kaleidoscopes to take home. (Registration required.) Starting at 2 p.m., the Burnsville library will show a film on the big screen for kids 9 to 15.

Saturday: From 11 a.m. to noon in Eagan, Zaraawar Mistry will perform stories from his childhood in India, accompanied by Greg Herriges on guitar, bouzouki and zither. Mistry said he plans to tell stories such as "The Demon's Wish," which comes from Hindu mythology, and stories from "The Panchatantra," which he likens to "Aesop's Fables." Said Mistry: "These are traditional classic stories that a lot of Indians in my generation knew as kids."


Lakeville and South St. Paul schools have their spring break.

Monday, March 31: In Lakeville from 1:30-2:30 p.m., kids can create colorful geometric shapes inspired by Kandinsky. (Registration required.)

Tuesday, April 1: The Minnesota Percussion Trio performs from 1 to 2 p.m. in Lakeville. "We sort of take a virtual tour around the world," trio member Eric Barsness said, playing "anything you can hit, scratch or shake," he said.

The tour features songs such as Minnesota's "March Time" on snare, bass, drums and cymbals, and the up-tempo "La Polka de Mama," featuring the marimba, the national instrument of Guatemala. The group will also play African instruments, such as Ghana's gourd Shekere; the Brazilian caxixi (a closed basket with seeds) and cuica, and Australia's lagerphone, an instrument made with bottle caps. The tour also includes Spanish flamenco,

Middle Eastern tar dance rhythms and West Coast jazz.

Wednesday, April 2: From 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the South St. Paul Public Library, another young writers group will meet.

Thursday, April 3: Fans of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" can enjoy a party in the honor of the popular book series at the South St. Paul library from 10:30-11:30 a.m. According to South St. Paul library youth services librarian Amy Commers, they will have games like "cheese touch" hot potato and a toilet paper wrap race, and kids can collect "Mom bucks" for prizes. (Registration required.) "It's one of the most popular book series that we have," Commers said. "We have a hard time keeping them on the shelf."

Liz Rolfsmeier is a Twin Cities freelance writer.