Today's indoor recommendation

Here in central Ohio the roads are a little treacherous this weekend for getting out and about, so just wanted to share a neat little website that my son and I have been having fun with while we are stuck indoors.

When I lived in Vermont about 10 years ago, we lived in the most beautiful northern part of the state near Lake Champlain, and it was winter by early October and did not go away until May. So it was no surprise that, in our town, the most notable resident with a claim to fame was the long deceased "Snowflake Bently". He examined snowflakes under the microscope and became the first person to photograph a single snowflake in 1885. After photographing more than 5,000 snowflakes, he realized none were identical. Same could be said about the interactive website "Make-A-Flake" where you can virtually cut out a piece of white paper and create your own snowflake. By the site's count, more than 14,000 snowflakes have been cut by visitors to the site. I bet none of them are the same either! It's a lot of fun, and if you're reading this, you already have an internet connection, so it will cost you nothing for a little quality time and a lot of fun. Here's an example of what you can do:

We're Back! Happy 2009

Well, we are back. Happy 2009. Now that you’ve spent a gazillion quality hours with your kids over the holidays it’s time to, well, think of more things to do, right? Especially on those slow, cold, winter days when everyone is suffering from extreme cabin fever.

Well, to kick off the new year, I’d like to introduce the first in the countdown of “100 Things to Do With Your Kids in Columbus”. It will be in no particular order as far as better or worse, but will start with 100 and countdown to 1 by the end of this year. That way, by the end of 2009, we’ll have a snappy new button to add to our site that will give our readers a great resource for getting out and about around town with your kids. We’re already working on the “50 Things To Do Around the House with Your Kids That Doesn’t Involve Finger Paint” and “The Top Ten FREE Things To Do With Your Kids in Columbus”. If you have any tips and ideas, please feel free to send them off to

So, to start off the new year, I present to you #100 on the list of “100 Things To Do With Your Kids in Columbus”.

As a kid in the 80s in New Jersey, when the ponds used to actually freeze, I had my own snazzy pair of girly white ice skates. The local police department had a hotline that you would call to check whether it was safe to skate. It was simply a dull recording that told you which pond in the town was safe to skate on (anybody from either Red Bank or Fair Haven, NJ would know exactly what I am talking about). I would be so elated when I would hear that it was safe to skate on the pond just a block away from my house, and I would get all my winter gear on—hat, gloves, parka, leg warmers (it was the 80s you know)—and sprint to the pond where I would skate for hours. It was so. much. fun.

Hoping to rekindle a little of that magic, late last winter I took my son to Chiller to go ice skating for his very first time. Most of his time was spent wobbling and hanging onto the railing, as I lapped him many times. He fell each time I grabbed his hands to pull him along the ice, and next time we go, I plan to bring his bike helmet for a little added safety (he’s still debating whether this is “cool “enough). While he never quite got the hang of balancing on the thin blades, he loved it and has talked about going back ever since. Which we plan to do very soon.

While it’s not the most inexpensive thing to do around town, the price wasn’t too bad, and we almost had the whole rink to ourselves since we went during a less crowded time. We went to Chiller Dublin for the noon skate during a weekday, and for each of us, the price was $4 for skating and $2 for the skate rental. There are other rates for skating at different times such as Friday and Saturday nights and weekends which get more expensive. But if you can steal some time away from work and school during the week, the noon skate was the cheapest way to go. Check their website to confirm schedules.

So until the ponds freeze again, enjoy the indoor ice rinks in town!

Ice Skating: #100 of “100 Things To Do with Your Kids in Columbus”.