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With school out — again — Southland parents look for ways to escape cabin fever

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Updated: March 3, 2014 3:01PM



Facing frigid temperatures and another two days off school for the second time this month, parents as well as their kids were clamoring to find creative ways to cure cabin fever.

They found plenty of fun indoor options, to allow kids to burn off that pent-up energy and stay warm.

“You got to get creative,” said Tiffany Drexel, of Tinley Park, who watched her own kids plus three more bounce around at the McDonald’s Restaurant Play Place in Frankfort. “First we went to the Jump Zone in Mokena, then we came here. We might go to the movie theater next. It’s only $5 on Tuesdays.”

Parents admitted they needed an outing as much as their kids and kept their fingers crossed that school would be back in session Wednesday.

Drexel said many of the places she normally takes her kids — including libraries and parks — were closed due to the cold or canceled programs Monday and Tuesday.

On the other hand, the Jump Zone in Mokena ­— an industrial-sized building filled with inflatables — usually is closed Monday and Tuesday, owner Mary Brown said. But she decided to offer parents a much-needed outlet when she heard schools would be closed.

They had 72 kids Monday and 119 Tuesday, according to day manager Jennifer Tidwell.

By Tuesday, parents had exhausted their options at home, and despite the cold weather, they headed out to find different sources of entertainment.

“We had a family game day Sunday and pulled out every game we could find. And you can only watch so much TV,” said Maureen Neibert, a New Lenox mother of two, who came to Jump Zone on Tuesday afternoon. “They should have been in school. But they get more exercise here than they would at school.”

“The moms need a break, too. It’s been a long winter,” said her New Lenox friend Colleen Staniszewski, who brought her two kids.

Gayle Litsogannis, also of New Lenox, was eager for a change of pace and a change of scenery and came to Jump Zone.

“We needed time to move our bodies,” she said.

Another option was the KidsWork Children’s Museum in Frankfort.

Supervisor Kristin Cobb said it usually is busy in the winter with the little kids, but Tuesday she saw kids of all ages.

“We wanted to keep warm and keep active, and not go stir crazy at home,” said Palos Heights mom Siobhan Gayduk, who sat at a table doing art work with her three children.

“There’s a lot of different things here. They have played with everything.”

Anna and Emily Thompson, of Flossmoor, were “getting bored at home,” but at KidsWork, they were dressing up and re-enacting “Cinderella,” said their mom, Sandy Thompson, as she snapped photos.

A quieter option, but no less creative, was the New Lenox Public Library.

Although it canceled its programs Monday and Tuesday, it remained open to the public.

“On days like this, people checked out a lot of DVDs,” circulation manager Jennie Suttle said.

Karli Lizana and her boyfriend, Marcin Hernik, came looking for ways to “spark the imagination” of 6-year-old Danika Lizana.

Back in the children’s department, she made a dragon out of Legos, read a few books about dragons and had a table full of puzzles in front of her.

“This is better than school,” Danika said.



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