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Checkups can be play dates

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Six-year-old Sameer Sakrikar, right, of Rochester, gets help building a mouse from Ashley Narum, a Mayo Clinic child life intern, at the inventor’s workshop table.
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Sameer Sakrikar put the finishing touches on his craft musician-mouse in the Children’s Center waiting room Tuesday morning.

The mouse, made from a paper cone with pompoms for ears, sported a red checked scrap of fabric and an orange cape.

"He sings a song," Sakrikar said. "The name is, ‘I want a friend.’"

A few minutes later, he’d started making that friend from more craft supplies.

Sakrikar, 6, was missing school for an allergy testing follow-up at Mayo. He’d expected to sit in the waiting room for what felt like hours — probably closer to half an hour — before being called in to discuss his test results.

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He hadn’t expected to find fun.

The Inventors’ Workshop, a new installment on the 16th floor of the Gonda Building, only popped up for one day in January and February. Families visiting the Children’s Center can keep an eye out for the monthly craft table, though it’ll mostly return on the last Tuesday of the month.

The Children’s Museum of Rochester and the Children’s Center teamed up to provide two events — the monthly Inventors’ Workshops and quarterly Teddy Bear Clinics at the museum — for Rochester families.

Several museum staffers passed supplies (egg cartons, cardboard tubes, glue, string, pompoms) to the busily crafting children.

"It’s amazing. You just put the materials out, and they go," said Beth Sherden, the operations and experience manager at the museum.

At one corner of the table, 6-year-old Ethan Strong taped a blue cardboard cone to a tube and laid a string fuse down one side. He was quiet all the while.

"Is it a missile?" asked his mother, Anna Strong. "Is it going to shoot us back to Green Bay?"

"How long would it take that to get you there?" asked Becca Stiles Nogosek, the development events and volunteer manager for the museum.

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The corners of Ethan’s mouth twitched up.

"Maybe 15 minutes?" Anna Strong posited.

"Yeah, it looks like a 15-minute rocket," Stiles Nogosek continued.

The Strongs have visited Mayo Clinic once or twice a month for the past year and a half, since Ethan was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

"This is nice for him — to do something a little more normal," Anna Strong said. "He didn’t really want to visit the clinic and was tired this morning — and then he saw this."

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Six-year-old Ethan Strong, of Green Bay, Wis., builds a rocket at the inventors’ workshop table hosted by the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester on Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in downtown Rochester.

Related Topics: MUSIC
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