10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from happy bugs to merry-go-round rides

Photo by Allan Mas.

Fresh air beckons with fun outdoor activities for inquisitive kids. Inspiration and education lead the way with exciting virtual programming, too. You’ll find it all in our guide to the top 10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Take a hike with a purpose (in person)

Gather the kids and set off this weekend on a couple of fun hikes hosted by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. On April 10, the Story Hike begins with a reading of the Laura Purdie Salas book, “A Rock Can Be,” followed by a stroll around Allegheny Commons to find different rock forms. On April 11, follow the self-guided Animal Signs Hike in McKinley Park to discover and explore critter tracks, calls and even smells. Register online for Story Hike and Animal Signs.

Image from “Happy Bug Day” book cover.

2. Have a Happy Bug Day (at home)

Andy Warhol’s series of bright and colorful “Happy Bug Day” illustrations from the ‘50s continue to connect with kids in 2021. Those fun-loving bugs are the focus of this month’s Virtual Workshop for Young Learners taking place on April 10 via the Andy Warhol Museum. Kids ages 3-6 will create an assortment of whimsical bugs using recycled materials. The session includes storytelling and movement along with hands-on art-making. Registration is $10.

Photo by Javon Swaby.

3. Search out spring blooms (in person)

Families can join Point State Park educators for April Showers and Spring Blooms. Kids will look for plants that are in bloom, buds ready to burst and those that will find their glory in warmer weather. This educational program is free but requires registration for specific time slots on April 10 and 11 to limit group size. Dress for the weather for this outdoor event. Masks are required. Save your space here.

Photo courtesy of Randyland.

4. Celebrate color at Randyland (in person)

If your kids haven’t yet made a stop at Randyland, they are in for a treat. The bright colors and details throughout this courtyard space are amazing and will likely inspire a few improvements to bland backyards. Randyland just reopened and is all spruced up for the season. There’s always something new to admire, but kids love the sandpile with trucks and dinosaurs for some hands-on fun. Randyland is free, but donations are accepted to buy more paint and continue the site’s cheerful mission. Learn more about creator Randy Gilson and preview your visit here.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

5. Climb aboard a carousel (in person)

It’s a sure sign of spring when the 16 animals begin their circular journey in the Victorian-styled PNC Carousel in Schenley Plaza. Kids can choose their favorite beast from the likes of a sea dragon, dolphin and giraffe. This season, animals will be sanitized between rides, masks are required for riders older than 2, and markers will assist with social distancing while standing in line. Each ride requires a $2 token, purchased on-site, or a $60 family season pass that’s good for two adults and up to four kids. All 2020 passes will be honored. The carousel will operate from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning April 9.

Photo courtesy of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

6. Prepare for a sunny day (at home)

April 10 is the deadline to register for Celestial Portraits at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art scheduled for April 24. The workshop is part of the museum’s Virtual Children’s Saturday Studio for ages 7-10. Kids will create a 3D-style painting of the sun, moon or stars. Material kits can be picked up or mailed to your home, but acrylic paint and brushes will be needed as well. Registration is $15 for pickup or $23 for delivery.

Youth program manager Lo Zemanek is one of the instructors for the Environmental STEM Course. Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

7. Unearth Environmental STEM classes (at home)

Venture Outdoors’ Outdoor Learning Lab invites kids in grades 3 to 5 to its Environmental STEM Course. The three-session program includes weekly online instruction and offline projects for immersion in activities. Some grownup involvement will go a long way toward a more enriching experience. Parents will receive weekly supplemental Family Challenges, too. Registration is $35 for the three-week course, which runs April 8-22.

Malaika Uwamahoro stars in “Miracle in Rawanda.” Photo courtesy of Prime Stage Theatre.

8. Watch “Miracle in Rwanda” (at home)

Prime Stage Theatre partners with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh to produce “Miracle in Rwanda,” a powerful tale of overcoming incredible hardships running from April 10-26. The play is based on the life of Immaculée Ilibagiza, the New York Times bestselling author of “Left to Tell,” who survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Despite the tragic nature of the story, the play offers an uplifting message of forgiveness and compassion. Rwandan actress and social justice activist Malaika Uwamahoro takes on the starring role in this one-woman play that’s best for kids from middle school to adults. A variety of study and activity guides are available. Catch the talkback discussion following the opening night performance on April 10. Buy tickets here.

Image courtesy of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

9. Catch the last chance to be STEMtacular (at home)

April is the last month to take advantage of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s free Be STEMtacular Summit, in operation since mid-January. The hands-on STEM activities excite all those kids, from grades 5 through high school, who love gizmos, gadgetry and design. With the remaining sessions on April 10, 13, 20 and 27, kids will make a pom-pom launcher while investigating kinetic energy, take a master class in social media photography, plus record and edit video. The final program focuses on finding your brand to build your following. Register here to save your virtual seat and receive the Zoom link.

Photo by Pexels.

10. Discover outdoor adventure (in person)

Human fledglings, ages 3 to 5, are welcome to join the monthly Audubon Society program that launches little ones onto a lifetime of outdoor adventure. A new theme is presented each month with Bunny Hop in April, followed by You Little Stinker in May, and Dragonfly Jewels in June. The April 8 Fledgling program takes place at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Succop Nature Park hosts the program on April 13. Tickets are $6 for kids older than 2. Browse the Audubon calendar for lots more open-air family outings.