Turn It Off! 

Get up, get out, get fit

SAT 10/25

Given the choice between Lizzie Maguire and a little run around the local field, most kids would choose running -- to the remote, that is. Sadly, the most popular after-school activity is an idle combination of TV and computer play, the evidence of which can be found on the larger physiques of today's youth, a precursor to a much greater national problem of obesity. How exactly does one go about catapulting her kid from the couch to the court? How about starting at home with a little help from VERB, a Health and Human Services' program targeting tweens from nine to thirteen. VERB is urging families to join its campaign on Saturday with its Extra Hour for Extra Action Day. And all you have to do is help your kid download an application, then cheer as he or she plans a personalized activity program. Those who meet their goals earn rewards, and a healthy glow that no screen can match. You'll find everything you need to get started at the Web site www.cdc.gov/verb, and for helpful hints and wacky game ideas, you can contact other members at VerbParents.com -- Justine Nicole


Nice Mice on Ice

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, America's most durable married couple (they are married, aren't they?) and arguably the hardiest of the Disney stable of characters, evidently need a vacation. So they're going to Hawaii, the undersea kingdom of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan's tree house, and on a romp with the 101 Dalmatians. And they're doing it on ice skates. Yes, it's time for this year's installment of Disney on Ice, Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey, visiting the Oakland Arena for nine performances through October 26. Forget metal detectors, luggage-sniffing dogs, and passport controls -- the lovable little rodents are using their imaginations for this trip. You and your family should, too. DisneyonIce.com or 510-762-2277. -- Kelly Vance



The Fairyland way

Halloween celebrations are endemic in the month of October, many of them shoddy and overly commercial, but there are some spooktacular children's events that even a parent can relate to. Chief among those is the Jack O'Lantern Jamboree at Children's Fairyland in Oakland this weekend.The big draws are the elaborate tunnels -- two of them, filled with costumed characters, bouncy houses for bouncing, and interactive booths. Kids can attend the Halloween Academy to earn certification as Wizard's Assistant, Clown Cadet, etc. The treats are mostly healthy, including free apples and popcorn. Then there are the Mad Science wizards and their wacky experiments. And don't forget the real-life heroes from the Oakland Fire Department and their fire truck. Costumes are encouraged. Admission is $8, and includes all rides, shows, and hilarity. Fairyland.org -- Kelly Vance


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