USF Children’s Festival March 3

The event features learning games, tame animals from Busch Gardens, “exergaming,” funhouse photo booth and more.


By Kim Tucker

Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2012) – “Learning is WonderBull!” is the theme of the University of South Florida College of Education’s annual Children’s Festival, taking place Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Children of all ages can interact with small, tame animals at the “Busch Gardens Live” booth and enjoy a variety of other fun-filled learning activities. The Children’s Festival is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the unreserved spaces surrounding the College of Education (Lot 1).


The Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s (FCIT’s) iTeach Lounge will also be open. The Lounge features several stations with activities designed for children, including “Photo Booth” software with funhouse mirror-type filters that can be used to create unusual images. Participants will be able to e-mail the pictures to themselves and others. Children will also get the chance to try several learning games, including those related to geography, typing and music. One such program, “Garage Band,” allows users to sing and play different instruments with keyboard accompaniment.


The XRKade Research Lab in the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science will also be available for use. The laboratory is a teaching and research facility established to investigate and promote the use of interactive gaming technologies.  This movement is known as Interactive Fitness or Exergaming – technology-driven screen-based games that require the participant to use his/her body to play that game.  Exergaming is increasingly being used in school systems, YMCA’s, recreational centers, and private fitness clubs to help children of all ages increase levels of daily physical activity.


Also in attendance will be VSA (formerly Very Special Arts) of Florida leading participants in chair painting and other activities.


The Children’s Festival at the USF College of Education was launched 33 years ago, in 1979, held annually through 1996 and attended by thousands of Tampa Bay area children and their families, who participated in approximately 100 learning activities sponsored by classes, clubs and organizations. The festival was revived in 2006.

Kim Tucker can be reached at (813) 974-7440.