Fun Ideas to Shake off Cabin Fever

Baby, it’s cold outside. You might be going a tad stir crazy if you and the kids have been cooped up indoors. So get moving, eh? It’s time to come out of hibernation, kick up your heels and enjoy some special winter activities.

Start by taking a trip through geological time at the Canadian Museum of Nature’s newly renovated Earth Gallery. You can explore a large-scale limestone cave, identify fossils, create a volcano (without any mess in the kitchen) and trigger a virtual earthquake. You’ll all think it rocks!

Discover the wonderful world of books at your neighbourhood library. You can easily spend a couple of hours turning pages, perusing the shelves and picking favourite books to take home. Movies and music CDs may also be borrowed. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the schedule of programs offered for parents and children. And when you get home, make a point of having story time. Forget the housework for a bit. Round up some pillows, snuggle up and spend time reading to and with your kids. If a pillow fight happens eventually, that’s okay too.

To celebrate Family Literacy Day January 27, make one of the kids’ beloved books into a home movie. With a little advance planning, it’s a fun and easy activity. Start by reading the story together a couple of times, then let the kids choose the parts they want to play. Even the simplest tales, such as Three Billy Goats Gruff or the Three Little Pigs, are great for young actors.

Next, get them to help you make a simple script. In the process, they’ll be sharpening their word recognition and printing (or typing) skills. After that, the house. Ready? Action! Even if you don’t have a camera or camcorder rolling, the kids will enjoy turning words into theatre.

Get tickets for the family to attend a professional production at a local theatre. There are plenty of great shows coming up. Take a look:

Nepean Student Players present Don’t Drink the Water at Centrepointe Studio Theatre December 14 and 15. This comedy tells the tale of a Canadian family’s holiday adventure in an eastern European country.

Ballet Jörgen presents The Nutcracker, A Canadian Tradition December 15 at Centrepointe Theatre and December 17 and 18 at the Shenkman Arts Centre. There are afternoon and evening shows.

Younger kids will look forward to seeing Max and Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite at Centrepointe Theatre December 18. There are shows at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre presents Felicity Falls January 13 at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Geared to children in the kindergarten to Grade 3 age range, this production uses stuffed animals to tell tales about families in an imaginary animal village in the Ottawa Valley.

The award-winning book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is brought to life in a funfilled stage adaptation at Centrepointe Theatre February 16. You can expect lots of action, music and happy kids in the audience.

Strawberry Shortcake and her colourful friends are in the spotlight February 16 at Centrepointe Theatre. A musical adventure, Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat features special guests the Doodlebops.

When you’re looking for a change of pace from building snow forts, pretend it’s summer and go swimming. That’s right. Grab your bathing suits and towels and head for the nearest indoor pool. There are public and family swim times at numerous local recreation centres, with many opportunities to jump in the water during the day. You can make a splash, float around, play water games and burn off plenty of energy.

For a cold-weather treat, head to Orléans and Fête Frissons Saturday, February 9. Hosted by The Heart of Orléans BIA and Shenkman Arts Centre in partnership with Winterlude, the special morning at the Shenkman Centre starts with a free pancake breakfast. Proulx Farms will be serving pancakes in the Lower Lobby from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Live entertainment by local musicians, taffy, hot chocolate and crazy winter hats are also part of this family affair.

Join the annual Winterlude festivities February 1 to 18 at Confederation Park, Jacques-Cartier Park and the Rideau Canal. There will be tons of kid-pleasing attractions and activities, from the Ice Hog family and famous ice sculptures to obstacle courses, bed races, giant snow slides and craft lessons. Winterlude sites will be open for Family Day, February 18.

Celebrate Family Day Weekend February 17 and 18 at Funatorium Explorium. The two-day event at the CE Centre, 4899 Uplands Drive, is packed with great stuff youngsters and oldsters can do, see, touch and try. Parents and kids can actually play together, enjoy live entertainment, discover new activities and visit a family-friendly marketplace. Check for details.

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