Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kidsfly.jpgForget the Halloween basket, our day planner is loaded with goodies this week, from a free airplane ride where kids can take the stick to a great science festival and a huge gathering of sci-fi fans to the Fab Five gymnasts from the Olympics. We've got that and much more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids

Kids ages 8 to 17 can actually take the stick in flight at the Young Eagles Flight Rally and explore the world of aviation for free. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over the beaches area. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and closes at 11:15 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 458-4420. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

gymnasts.jpgIt’s the Fab Five! The golden darlings of the Summer Olympics are coming to Tampa for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and an injured McKayla Maroney, who will still make an appearance. And there’s more. Tour producers also confirmed these gymnasts: Nastia Liukin, who took home the gold all around medal in 2008; and from the men’s team, Jonathan Horton, who won silver in 2008, along with his 2012 teammates John Orozco and Steven Gluckstein. 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$200. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

There's a great day in store for young science fans on Saturday, MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The annual family-friendly Marine Quest, an open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, brings science to life with hands-on exhibits and activities for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida’s waters. You can also create “fish prints” (gyotaku), catch fish in a barrel, and get your face painted. At the same time, the nearby USF St. Petersburg campus is hosting the St. Petersburg Science Festival with nearly 100 hands-on exhibits celebrating the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. There will also be food trucks on hand. They both run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Marine Quest is at the institute’s campus at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg and the USF campus is a block away on Seventh Avenue. Free.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kidsfly.jpgForget the Halloween basket, our day planner is loaded with goodies this week, from a free airplane ride where kids can take the stick to a great science festival and a huge gathering of sci-fi fans to the Fab Five gymnasts from the Olympics. We've got that and much more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids

Kids ages 8 to 17 can actually take the stick in flight at the Young Eagles Flight Rally and explore the world of aviation for free. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over the beaches area. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and closes at 11:15 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 458-4420. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

gymnasts.jpgIt’s the Fab Five! The golden darlings of the Summer Olympics are coming to Tampa for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and an injured McKayla Maroney, who will still make an appearance. And there’s more. Tour producers also confirmed these gymnasts: Nastia Liukin, who took home the gold all around medal in 2008; and from the men’s team, Jonathan Horton, who won silver in 2008, along with his 2012 teammates John Orozco and Steven Gluckstein. 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$200. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

There's a great day in store for young science fans on Saturday, MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The annual family-friendly Marine Quest, an open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, brings science to life with hands-on exhibits and activities for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida’s waters. You can also create “fish prints” (gyotaku), catch fish in a barrel, and get your face painted. At the same time, the nearby USF St. Petersburg campus is hosting the St. Petersburg Science Festival with nearly 100 hands-on exhibits celebrating the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. There will also be food trucks on hand. They both run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Marine Quest is at the institute’s campus at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg and the USF campus is a block away on Seventh Avenue. Free.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kitefest.jpgFrom stilt walkers and magicians at an art walk to 10-cent trolly rides to the sky full of kites, we've got lots of wallet-friendly diversions to choose from this week. Read on for this week's picks of the best free and cheap things to do with your kids:

Now with stilt walkers! The monthly Gulfport Art Walk now includes lively street entertainment to engage the strolling audience. Keep an eye out for stilt walkers, jugglers, costumed strolling characters, magicians and more as you browse the arts and crafts along Gulfport’s main drag along Beach Boulevard. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Kite fliers from all over the world will color the sky over Treasure Island Beach for KiteOberFest, with hundreds of kites up to 100 feet long this weekend. Demonstrations include aerial acrobatics set to music, kite boarding and more. There will also be family activities, food, a kite auction, raffles and kite supply vendors. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday behind the Thunderbird Resort, 10700 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kitefest.jpgFrom stilt walkers and magicians at an art walk to 10-cent trolly rides to the sky full of kites, we've got lots of wallet-friendly diversions to choose from this week. Read on for this week's picks of the best free and cheap things to do with your kids:

Now with stilt walkers! The monthly Gulfport Art Walk now includes lively street entertainment to engage the strolling audience. Keep an eye out for stilt walkers, jugglers, costumed strolling characters, magicians and more as you browse the arts and crafts along Gulfport’s main drag along Beach Boulevard. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Kite fliers from all over the world will color the sky over Treasure Island Beach for KiteOberFest, with hundreds of kites up to 100 feet long this weekend. Demonstrations include aerial acrobatics set to music, kite boarding and more. There will also be family activities, food, a kite auction, raffles and kite supply vendors. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday behind the Thunderbird Resort, 10700 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free.

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Child actor plays a zombie hunter

carkgrimes.jpgYou may not let your kids watch the much-buzzed about zombie hit The Walking Dead, but how would you feel about your kid was starring in it? Our colleague Eric Deggans interviewed Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl Grimes on AMC’s blockbuster zombie adventure drama, The Walking Dead and had some interesting revelations you can read below.

Fans of the show can meet the wee zombie killer this weekend when he makes an appearance both days of Tampa Bay Comic Con at Tampa's Doubletree Hotel

From Eric's interview:

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

halloweenegg.jpgFall is in full swing, and so are many of the festivals and family-friendly events to get you of the house without emptying your pocket. We have an only-in-Florida Halloween pool party, dollar day at the county fair, free movies and music in the park and already lots of Halloween treats.  Read on for more ideas from this week’s list of things to do with your kids:

Eggs for Halloween? Eh, seems the holidays are a bit scrambled, but what the heck. Kids 12 and younger can hunt for orange and black eggs underwater Saturday at the Egg Haunt at St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center. Then stick around for trick-or-treating on the pool deck and other surprises. It starts at 11 a.m. at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. $4. (727) 363-9245.

Author Lisa Fleming will be at the Tampa Barnes & Noble to sign her celebrated children’s book Cat and Crow: An Amazing Friendship. A portion of the proceeds from every book benefits St. Francis Society Animal Rescue. Representatives of St. Francis will be on hand with photographs of cats that need homes. They also will answer questions about their organization. It’s free at 1 p.m. Saturday at the bookstore at 11802 N Dale Mabry Highway. …

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

halloweenegg.jpgFall is in full swing, and so are many of the festivals and family-friendly events to get you of the house without emptying your pocket. We have an only-in-Florida Halloween pool party, dollar day at the county fair, free movies and music in the park and already lots of Halloween treats.  Read on for more ideas from this week’s list of things to do with your kids:

Eggs for Halloween? Eh, seems the holidays are a bit scrambled, but what the heck. Kids 12 and younger can hunt for orange and black eggs underwater Saturday at the Egg Haunt at St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center. Then stick around for trick-or-treating on the pool deck and other surprises. It starts at 11 a.m. at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. $4. (727) 363-9245.

Author Lisa Fleming will be at the Tampa Barnes & Noble to sign her celebrated children’s book Cat and Crow: An Amazing Friendship. A portion of the proceeds from every book benefits St. Francis Society Animal Rescue. Representatives of St. Francis will be on hand with photographs of cats that need homes. They also will answer questions about their organization. It’s free at 1 p.m. Saturday at the bookstore at 11802 N Dale Mabry Highway. …

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Update: Boy wins right to hand out Easter invitations at school

We have an update on the story of the boy who was forbidden from handing out fliers to his friends at school inviting them to an Easter egg hunt. As you may recall, I had said I thought the kid had a case. Turns out, the judge thinks so too.

According to this story by our colleague Robbyn Mitchell the Hillsborough School Board lost in the latest round of this cae.  The fourth-grade student at Lewis Elementary School in Temple Terrace asked for permission to hand out invitations to the egg hunt that promised to teach kids the "true meaning of Easter."  He later got a note from the principal that said, "We are not allowed to pass out fliers related to religious events or activities."

U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Jenkins ruled Oct. 5 that the School Board rules did not meet the standard that allows schools to restrict personal speech. …

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Review: NickMom block of comedy shows on Nick Jr.

nickmom.jpgWhen an editor here called me wondering if I wanted to review the new NickMom block of comedy shows on the Nick Jr. channel my first reaction was, "Has that started up already?"  I've seen the ads for it and was vaguely interested but that channel, formerly my beloved Noggin channel, is rarely on past 4 p.m. in our household. So the idea of firing up Nick Jr. at 10 p.m. never even crossed my mind. But it did indeed get started Oct. 1, so I was able to check it out that very night.

First of all 10 p.m. to midnight? How many moms are still awake? They do replay the whole lineup after that, so nursing moms up at 1:30 a.m. may appreciate this.

So I turned to the true best friend of TV-watching moms, TiVo. Recording your favorites to watch on the odd hours you have free is the greatest invention ever and I hope the Nobel Peace Prize committee considered this for its contribution to world peace and maternal sanity.

The NickMom lineup is likable, mining the familiar laughs of kegels and kids who never listen. Except for one huge dud that besmirches the Brady name, the shows are a pleasant diversion. I just wonder who wants to watch this stuff after the kids are off to bed and you finally have some quiet time at night.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

Kids can can take advantage of free tennis play or check out a great folk art and music fest this weekend or see a free movie on the beach. We have all that and more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with kids.

The swanky revamped USF Sun Dome in Tampa is the hot venue of the moment. Sir Elton John. Florence + the Machine. Elmo. Oh yeah, baby. Because rock may rule, but nobody throws a kickin’ party like the hipsters from Sesame Street. Elmo, Big Bird and other lovable characters are in town Friday through Sunday in the live show “Elmo Makes Music.”  Tickets are $12-$57 with showtimes at 7 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. (813) 974-3002.

dragonboat.jpgLong an annual event in Tampa, now it’s St. Petersburg’s turn to catch dragon boat fever. Paddles Up St. Pete has signed up 18 teams to compete in St. Petersburg’s first dragon boat race in a 350-meter course in Bayboro Harbor on Saturday. It’s an unusual sight: a 41-foot boat with a dragon head on the front and 20 paddlers keeping pace with the aid of a drummer. There will be an educational village set up in Poynter Park at 1000 Third St. S where you can test drive kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. There will also be food vendors, a beer garden and an awards ceremony with live music. The first qualifying races begin at 8:30 a.m., the educational village and vendors set up 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by awards ceremonies. Free to watch. 

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

Kids can can take advantage of free tennis play or check out a great folk art and music fest this weekend or see a free movie on the beach. We have all that and more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with kids.

The swanky revamped USF Sun Dome in Tampa is the hot venue of the moment. Sir Elton John. Florence + the Machine. Elmo. Oh yeah, baby. Because rock may rule, but nobody throws a kickin’ party like the hipsters from Sesame Street. Elmo, Big Bird and other lovable characters are in town Friday through Sunday in the live show “Elmo Makes Music.”  Tickets are $12-$57 with showtimes at 7 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. (813) 974-3002.

dragonboat.jpgLong an annual event in Tampa, now it’s St. Petersburg’s turn to catch dragon boat fever. Paddles Up St. Pete has signed up 18 teams to compete in St. Petersburg’s first dragon boat race in a 350-meter course in Bayboro Harbor on Saturday. It’s an unusual sight: a 41-foot boat with a dragon head on the front and 20 paddlers keeping pace with the aid of a drummer. There will be an educational village set up in Poynter Park at 1000 Third St. S where you can test drive kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. There will also be food vendors, a beer garden and an awards ceremony with live music. The first qualifying races begin at 8:30 a.m., the educational village and vendors set up 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by awards ceremonies. Free to watch. 

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How much food ends up in school trash?

fruits-and-veggies.jpgInteresting to read this story in the Orlando Sentinel about how changes in federal school-lunch rules mean students are not allowed to turn down healthy fruit and veggies, which means much of it can end up in the trash. That prompted Lake County school leaders to say they want staff to use surveys, or even trash cams — cameras mounted on cafeteria garbage bins — to study what's being thrown away.

Last year Lake County schools were already enforcing these rules before they were required. And they estimated that students tossed $75,000 of produce in the garbage. This year, School Board members say they want stricter trash monitoring to figure out what's working and what's not with the new federal policy.

The new rules have dramatically reshaped school lunches by placing calorie limits on meals, requiring a colorful variety of veggies. Districts that don't comply risk losing thousands of dollars a year in federal money a year.

Uneaten lunchtime food nationwide costs taxpayers about $600 million a year or more, according to a 2002 congressional report.

What do you think of this effort to get more healthy food in the school lunch. Is it wasted if it ends up in the trash? …

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