10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from art workshops to free museum admission

Photo by Sean Carroll.

Kids from toddlers to teens will find an outlet for their creative drive this week with a variety of art classes, puppet workshops and cooking classes. There are plenty of outdoor activities, too, for nature connections. Explore your family’s options for the best things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Explore color with Andy Warhol (at home)

Early learners, ages 3-6, can take part in virtual workshops offered by the Andy Warhol Museum. This week’s workshop, on Saturday, Oct. 10, explores Andy’s color palette of vibrant shades through storytelling, art-making and movement. Worksheets will be emailed to be downloaded and printed. Register here for the $10 class.

2. Be a giant in a tiny world (in person)

Phipps Conservatory unveils the newest Garden Railroad on Saturday, Oct. 10. This season’s miniature railroad, “Rails and Trails,” concentrates on park activities like hiking, cycling, horseback riding and festivals. Kids can control the action with touchless interactive stations that send a pontoon boat cruising around a lake, light up and spin a carousel and pump up the volume on an outdoor concert. Of course, trains chug through the countryside and tunnels amid the landscape’s tiny trees and plants.

The “Fall Flower Show: The Poetry of Nature” opens Saturday, too, with loads of fat chrysanthemums, seasonal color and tranquil beauty. Get your timed tickets here.

3. Play and perform with puppets (at home)

This weekend, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh launches a series of puppet workshops with two free events. On Saturday, Oct 10, kids ages 6-10 can participate in Puppets 101. They’ll learn the history of puppetry, how to perform with objects, and how to make puppets out of everyday material. On Sunday, the Shadows workshop aims at kids ages 10-13 to create shadow puppet theaters. Reserve spots in advance here and check out upcoming puppet programs.

4. Spend Sunday in the garden (in person)

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden plans a family education program every Sunday in October that salutes Autumn in the Garden. Kids see nature in action through subjects like fall foliage and bats. On Oct. 11, the lesson covers apples in the Heritage Homestead orchard. Craft tables reinforce the lessons, too. Autumn in the Garden activities are included in regular admission. Buy timed tickets here.

5. Get RADical days free admission (in person)

RADical Days offers free admission this week to popular family destinations:

Select timed tickets to the National Aviary on Sunday, Oct. 11, for exciting, immersive experiences. Visit the penguins, stroll through the tropical rainforest and watch the flock of flamingos. You can make reservations here and check out safety protocols.

Heinz History Center offers three days of free entry, from Monday to Wednesday, Oct. 12-14. Younger kids will recognize the stars of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, while older ones will find their heroes in the Western PA Sports Museum. Be sure to check out the “Smithsonian’s Portraits of Pittsburgh” exhibit, too. Reserve your times ticket here.

6. Go fish! (in person)

October is the final month for Venture Outdoors’ free TriAnglers lunchtime fishing sessions. Every Wednesday, kids can borrow a rod and reel to cast lines into the Allegheny River. Instructors are on hand to guide them on how to bait a hook and reel in their catches. TriAnglers is free for all ages, but those 16 and older require a PA Fishing license. Registration is not required.

7. Get hands-on with fall crafts (at home)

The autumn season of harvest, Halloween and pumpkins gives kids lots of opportunities for creative fun. These popular Maker Monday projects are sure to be a hit. Make playful Sew-It-Yourself Spider Webs with yarn and paper plates. Straddle the line between nature and art with Coffee Filter Leaves. And the glowing faces of Not-So-Spooky Night Lights can add a decorative touch to bedside tables.

8. Go birding (at home)

Kids will get a chance to learn more about backyard birds and those migrating flocks flying overhead with weekly virtual birding lessons on Wednesdays, Oct. 7-28. National Aviary ornithologist Bob Mulvihill will cover topics like preparing your yard for winter birds, the science of migration and the world of raptors, starring Pittsburgh Bald Eagles. The all-ages program is suitable for novice and experienced birders – and provides fun STEM lessons for kiddos. Registration is $15.

9. Learn to cook (at home)

During the Virtual Young Chefs Thrive Cooking Academy at Phipps Conservatory, Chef Emily Larsen leads junior chefs through the paces with virtual lessons on knife skills and culinary aptitude. Families receive an ingredient list before the classes, which includes cooking up a marinara sauce from scratch on Oct. 13, a better-than-takeout stir fry on Oct. 20, plus a first-course salad and bruschetta crostini on Oct. 27. Sign up kids for one or all the classes and help them develop a positive relationship with food.

10. Discover cool Halloween events (in person)

Ghost stories around a campfire. Drive-through trick-or-treating. Scavenger hunt. And monster pumpkins. Check out the Kidsburgh guide to 17 ways to celebrate Halloween and get the details.