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Beat cabin fever by freezing bubbles, being artist, more

Had enough of the bitter cold? Bet your kids have, too.

Here are some tips for keeping youngsters entertained when it's too yucky or treacherous to be outside for long:

Build the ultimate fort

Empty the linen closet of every sheet, blanket and beach towel you own. Tuck them underneath couch cushions or into dresser drawers. Use anything sturdy and upright, such as a music stand or T-ball tee, to fortify your structure in the middle of the room. Then get some pillows, flashlights, books and snacks, and snuggle in.

Blow bubbles

You'll have to head outside for this, but it's worth it. In extremely cold weather, soap bubbles freeze solid and settle to the ground as intact spheres, then collapse slowly. Pretty cool, right? Try it and see.

Have a dance party

Clear some space, crank up the tunes and go wild. Give young children a scarf or some ribbon and let them twirl it around.

Be an artist

Mix equal parts shaving cream (non-menthol) and white glue. Spoon several dollops of the mixture onto construction paper and spread it around to make a shape or scene. It will dry and harden in about 48 hours. Or, make lots of paper snowflakes for the windows or paper chains to hang from the curtain rods.

Get the camera

Use your video camera (or borrow one) to make your own funny commercials, cooking shows or movie spoofs. Or set up a photo studio — use a sheet as a backdrop — and host a silly portrait session.

Get cooking

For kids, the kitchen is great entertainment. Make dough for cookies, breads or pretzels that you can knead, braid, shape and decorate. Or cook up a big pot of vegetable soup.

Make cards

Gather paper, stickers, markers and other supplies — or buy a box of plain cards at a craft store — and let the kids make their own stationery. Use them as thank-you cards, or just to brighten someone's day.

Set up an obstacle course

Use pillows, couch cushions, ride-on toys, tunnels, big boxes, hampers, Nerf guns and targets, whatever you can find. Scatter them around the house to establish the course. For older children, add a ball toss or even a math problem to solve.

Have a camp-in

Get out the sleeping bags and eat around a pretend campfire (or the fireplace, if you have one). After dinner, make s'mores. Sing campfire songs. Tell stories by flashlight.

Hunt for eggs

Dig out your stash of plastic Easter eggs and fill them with questions, riddles, charades ideas, candy or loose change. Hide them around the house for a midwinter egg hunt.

Have fun with yarn

Give youngsters a ball of yarn and let them make a "spider web" by wrapping it around table legs, window cranks, door knobs, etc. Or teach them to knit and whip up a scarf.

Dig out your games

Play an old favorite — Trouble, anyone? —or that new one you got for Christmas. Dump out a huge puzzle and get to work. Play Wii tennis. Combine forces to build an enormous Lego structure or a roller coaster out of K'Nex.

Just talk

Find a comfy spot, make some hot chocolate and tell a story or have a nice long conversation.

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