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Best activities for freezing weather in South Jersey

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When arctic weather and below freezing temperatures settle over the Northeast for a few days, kids can get restless from being couped up in the house. Parents can combat this with activities that get kids thinking, running, exploring, and out of the house.

Chilling Science- During the first polar vortex drop, weathermen across the country were showing off experiments that can only be done in freezing weather. Kids will love to see just how cold it is and what freezing weather can do. The how-tos for these experiments are available on The Weather Channel's website. For more weather experiments, visit Weather Wiz Kids.

Visiting Sharks- Families that do not have an annual pass to Adventure Aquarium should get one. All families have to pay for each visit is parking (which is discounted, thanks to a voucher that can be picked up at the information desk), and the initial cost of the pass pays for itself after just a couple of visits. The aquarium has visiting exhibits throughout the year, so there's almost always something new to see there. (From Jan. 17-April 27, Frogs: Nature's Messenger is the limited-time exhibit.) On chilly days, the waterfront can be even colder, but as long as you don't arrive before the aquarium opens, there's usually no waiting outside when you have the pass. If the aquarium is not your family's thing, area museums, like the Garden State Discovery Museum, also have annual passes or family membership that make multiple visits easier on the wallet.

Running Inside- The mall may not usually be the place where parents want their kids to run, play and hide, but the Moorestown Mall has a play area just outside Macy's where young children can do just that, for free. And, if families are at the mall during lunchtime, PB&U will thrill kids with special peanut butter and whatever sandwiches. If the kids need a little bigger space to run and play, Little Sport is in nearby Maple Shade. There are reasonable costs to play at this huge sports-themed play arena where small kids can shoot basketballs, practice batting and run a track.

Reading Out- Both local libraries and Barnes & Noble stores have various free story times throughout the week where kids can not only be read to, but can interact with other kids. Many places also have areas where kids can play with blocks or trains, which are always more fun than playing with the same items at home. While at the library or bookstore, parents may want to pick up a book about polar bears or penguins so kids can learn about animals that love cold weather when back at home.

Planning Summer- Sometimes, just thinking about warm weather can take away the winter blues. Now is a great time to sign up for summer camps or to plan summer vacations because the places aren't fully booked yet. Discounts may also be available for registering early. Let the kids explore websites and watch videos (with supervision) for different places and get their feedback on what they want to do and see. When summer arrives and it's time to do what the child has planned, the child will show pride and even some leadership skills because of the research they did.

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