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The days after Christmas mark the end of the holiday season. The presents have been unwrapped, the cookies have been devoured, and you won’t see your in-laws again until after New Year’s. You survived, and for that you deserve a medal, or at least a firm pat on the back. As much as you want to climb in bed and slip into a deep turkey coma, you can’t.  Alas, school won’t resume for another week and your children are filled with an absurd amount of energy. Thanks in part to all of the fudge your mother sent you, they are headed towards a serious sugar crash and it’s important to keep them busy before they turn on each other. So grab your car keys, wrestle the little ones into their coats, and get ready for a family outing because I have the top 5 places for family fun around Columbus!

5.     The Chiller Ice Rinks

It’s winter in Ohio, so chances are we will not have the luxury of enjoying outdoor skating. Luckily, The Chiller has public ice rinks conveniently located in Lewis Center, Dublin, and at Easton Town Center. Rinks are open seven days a week and no reservations are required! Skating is a wonderful winter activity that is fun for the whole family! Not only is skating great exercise but it also strengthens your children’s gross motor skills.

Even if you have never been on the ice, there is no shame in the hugging the wall and allowing even the tiniest of tots to skate passed you. Free Wi-Fi is also available. However, we do recommend that you put down your smart phone and watch your children. Pricing varies daily and can be found on their website at http://www.thechiller.com/

4.     Skate Zone 71

Previously United Skates of America, Skate Zone 71 offers roller skating, arcade games, and laser tag!  Children are less likely to participate in unstructured outdoor play during the winter months which is why it’s so important to make sure they remain active. Between dodging enemy fire during laser tag and skating to their favorite music you can be sure that your children will be up and moving!

Skate Zone 71 provides an interactive environment the whole family can enjoy. Convenient hours and affordable admissions give you a chance to concentrate on spending quality time with your children. At Skate Zone 71 you can leave stress behind and focus on fun! More information is located on their website at http://www.skatezone71.com

3.   Bowling Alleys

When in doubt, go bowling! Regardless of where you live there is bound to be a bowling alley nearby. Bowling provides a quieter, more relaxed setting which allows you more talk time with your children. It’s always important to emphasize communication, especially during their school age years. Bowling offers an opportunity to sit down and engage your children while still allowing them to be active.

Special discounts and events vary based on bowling alleys but more are very affordable. Food and drinks are usually available for purchase, so make a day out of it! Bonding with your children over some friendly competition is a great way to spend a cloudy winter day.

2.    Sky Zone

Although their website eludes that they are a trampoline park, Sky Zone more closely resembles a trampoline world. Angled trampolines from floor to ceiling allow your children to actually bounce off the walls. Pricing is determined by the number of minutes your child spends jumping. Jump times begin at 30 minutes. Can you imagine 30 straight minutes of jumping? Your children will be so exhausted after this outing they won’t even have the energy to fight with each other!

Not only will taking your kids to an indoor trampoline park ensure your status as the “coolest parent ever” it will undoubtedly let your kids release all the energy they’ve acquired over winter break. Located in Lewis Center, Sky Zone is also a great place to hold birthday parties! Pricing and hours of operation can be found on their website at http://columbus.skyzonesports.com

1.     COSI: Center of Science and Industry

COSI offers tons of great learning opportunities for school age children. As a parent, it is critical to help your children develop a love for math and science because they are fundamental to the world we live in. An outing to COSI can encourage your kids to associate science and math with fun which can open doors for them later on in school.

Admission to COSI can be fairly expensive. Fortunately, the last Friday of every month is Family Fun Night. After 5:00pm families are granted admission for only $9.95 per adult and youth ticket. This is a great deal that I would encourage all parents to take advantage of! Scheduled exhibits and events can be found on their website at http://www.cosi.org

Although the holiday season can be time consuming and stressful, it’s important to take advantage your children’s winter break. Seasonal breaks are a great time to bond with your children and connect with them more deeply. Planning time with your kids will mean the world to them. Strengthen your parent-child bond and have fun doing it by treating the family to a day out!

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