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Kids on winter break? Some arts happenings for families to fill the ‘between times’

I’ll bet I’m not alone in wondering what we’re going to do to keep things festive once the high of Christmas morning has passed. While our family has things covered through the end of the week, I know I’ve been tucking away a few back-up ideas for ways to keep the little one occupied in the holidays’ “between times.”

If you’re scouting for the same, I’ve got some tips for you. Here’s my holiday fun insurance plan:

“Boxing Day” at Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Saturday, Dec. 26 (10:30 a.m.)
The day after Christmas, Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul is hosting a lovely family activity in honor of Boxing Day. Paper artist Mary Holland will guide kids through the process of creating delicately folded origami boxes, into which they can put handmade missives expressing a bit of the love and gratitude they feel for the special someones who bring them cheer all year long.

“New Year’s Eve Sparke-rama” at the Children’s Museum, St. Paul, Thursday, Dec. 31 (6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly way to ring in 2010, the Children’s Museum’s “New Year’s Eve Sparkle-rama” looks like fun. The museum is inviting the under-5-foot set to come, glammed up in sequins and sparkly outfits, and burn off some holiday sugar with a dance party (enlivened by Will Hale and the Tadpole Parade) and art-making activities (not to mention the usual array of fun stuff to do in the galleries), as they count down to the big 8 p.m. ball drop.

“Hooked on Books” at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Saturday, Jan. 2 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
The Walker’s “Free First Saturday” programs are always a good bet, but this next one, “Hooked on Books,” looks like an especially promising lineup. All day, you’ll find literary-themed family activities, including cartoon-making with artist Terry Beatty; screenings of the silly, short film “Sleeping Betty” in the lounge; a guided, interactive tour through the new exhibition, “Event Horizon.” But here’s what I’m looking forward to: a live performance by author and illustrator Calef Brown with local musicians Kate Lynch and Chris Beaty (aka Clementown), “Polkabats and Octopus Slacks.”

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