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      What to do with the kids? on this long holiday week

      If your kids are saying 'I'm bored,' here are some ideas to get them entertained, intrigued, and maybe even informed (educated?) during this break week:

      ~Open Hand Theater was doing puppet theatre on Tuesday with audiences of all ages enthralled. And, besides the performances, 'the Castle,' near St. Joseph's Hospital on Syracuse's Northside, is also doing puppet workshops the rest of the week, teaching both performance and the craft of building your own. After this holiday week, there are also puppet performances on Saturday mornings through the winter.

      ~The Erie Canal Museum near City Hall in Syracuse also has workshops, on Wednesday. Executive Director Diana Goodsight says they're teaching a little bit of history, a little bit of the math that was needed to make the canal system go, and the kids can roll up their sleeves and make gingerbread houses, too. It's also the busiest week of the year for the Museum's Gingerbread Gallery. Lots of families have discovered this close-to-home exhibit. And it's an inspiration to the children: there's a blue ribbon on the number one Peoples' Choice exhibit, done by nursery school students. The museum is open until New Year's Eve at 2pm, closed Sunday, then open daily--the Gingerbread Gallery closes January 8th.

      ~Holiday breaks are also busy times for Syracuse's Museum of Science and Technology. And, this year, the Dinomania exhibit holds extra fascination for youngsters. And not all are coming with their parents. On Tuesday, we met up with a 'field trip' from the Jewish Community Center's Vacation Camp. The camp goes all week, then next Monday, and signups are day by day.Director Amy Thrasher says they get the kids out and moving, and busy so they don't get sick of the same thing. Each day has a theme, and on Friday they'll do a bowling field triip.

      ~ The lack of snow has cut down on one traditional Christmas week activity: sledding. But there's lots of ice skating.The Clinton Square Ice Skating Rink has been packed--milder temperatures have made it a popular destination, and not just for Syracuse residents. We talked to one young skater who's visiting from Georgia, and loving it! And the downtown Syracuse rink may be outdoors, but there is also lots of indoor skating, including at other Syracuse parks, in Lysander and Cicero, and in many other spots around Central New York.

      Other possibilities: Highland Forest is doing horsedrawn rides, daily through Monday. Lights on the Lake, at Onondaga Lake Park, turns on the lights about 3pm daily--and you can walk through the park free.Ithaca's Museum of the Earth does a daily program, 'Winter Trinkets and Treasures.' It's at eleven am through Friday.Syracuse's Southwest Community Center is doing family-friendly Kwanzaa celebrations, nightly through Sunday at 6pm.Onondaga County Libraries also have lots of kid-and family friendly free programs.