Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Day of Play' gets kids away from the TV set

ST. PETERSBURG — The four blond children huddled up to the table, their wide eyes trained on a goopy mess inside the glass jars before them. Two teenage volunteers poured in the ingredients: water, Elmer's school glue, borax, green food coloring.

"Let's mix it up," said Danielle Morris, 15, a Dixie Hollins High School student lending part of her Saturday to Great Explorations Children's Museum.

"And then it makes it slime?" asked Austin Poirier, 6, sounding a bit unsure of this "slime" business.

"Yep," Morris said.

"Can I play with it now?" Austin said.

The substance still resembled pea soup. So, no, Morris told him. Not yet.

The volunteers added more borax. Austin's cousin, Claire Hoffman, also 6, stood from her bench.

"Sugar, sugar, sugar," she said, grinning.

Her dad, Chase Hoffman, leaned over.

"That's not sugar," he said. "That's borax."

Claire, disappointed, sat back down.

"Oh," she said.

The slime station at Great Explorations was an ode to Nickelodeon, the TV network that for years has dumped the gelatinous substance on people's heads as a sort of trademark. On Saturday, Nickelodeon held its 10th annual Worldwide Day of Play.

It suspended programming for three hours, urging kids to "get up, go outside and play." Millions worldwide were expected to participate.

Great Explorations took advantage of the opportunity and offered $5 admission, and an array of special activities, all day.

Hoffman, 29, had learned of it through a family member. He said his kids don't watch much TV anyway but he appreciated Nickelodeon's efforts.

"That's admirable," he said.

On the other side of the indoor playroom, about the size of a high school gym, staff coordinator Micah Madir watched kids compete in a Hula Hoop contest as I Like to Move It pulsed through the speakers.

"I think it's terrific," he said of the TV network's initiative. "I wish more channels did that."

At a science display nearby, Julian Llanio, 4, closely examined the brain size of a bear. His mother, Natalie, visiting Great Explorations for the first time, said managing her kids' TV and electronic usage (she also has a 7- and 14-year-old) is a challenge.

She allows no video games or violent cartoons. Her teenage daughter has a carefully monitored cellphone. Llanio prohibits Facebook.

When she was young, parents insisted that kids go out and play because that was just the thing to do.

"I try," she said, "to continue that."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

'Day of Play' gets kids away from the TV set 09/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2015 1:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  2. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  3. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  5. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond


    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.