10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from spinning to a puppet slam

Vim, vigor and vitality best describe the level of liveliness in this week’s top things to do with kids. These fun, high-energy activities will shake out the boredom. And once you’ve worn them out, kids can settle down with engaging virtual programming. This week, your kids will be treated to the best of both worlds.

1. Take a spin on Los Trompos (in person)

We first met the larger-than-life Los Trompos’ spinning structures at the 2019 Three Rivers Arts Festival. The interactive spinners moved to the Oasis lot, Downtown, for a while, then found a home inside the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Now, kids can hop on Los Trompos anytime outside the Children’s Museum. Each Los Trompos is made from bright, colorful fabric, woven by Mexican artisans who follow a traditional pattern. Check out this free, interactive exhibit and jump aboard for a dizzy spin.

2. Step up to a challenge (in person)

Threadbare Cider House hosts its final stair-stepping challenge of the year on Saturday, Nov. 14. Challengers will climb up some 170 steps and step down another hundred or so throughout Spring Garden and Troy Hill. Laura Zurowski, the creator of Mis.Steps, will be your guide on a tour that begins and ends at Threadbare. Kids ages 10 and older are welcome to take part in this vigorous 90-minute hike. Tickets are $15, masks are required and a social distance will be maintained between family parties. Register here.

3. Hear from a scientist (at home)

Prime Stage Theatre produces Willard Simms’ “Einstein, A Stage Portrait” on Friday, Nov. 13, as part of its virtual season. The one-man show, performed by Matt Henderson, explores Einstein’s witty personality, his reluctant celebrity and how he changed the way we see the world. Tickets are $20 per household, with a recorded link following the live stream that will be available through Nov. 21.

4. Wear a sweater with purpose (in person)

Friday, Nov. 13, is a trifecta of celebrations: World Kindness Day, King Friday XIII’s birthday – and WQED’s third-annual Cardigan Day. The whole family can take part by zipping or buttoning up their cardigans in honor of one of the world’s kindest people, Fred Rogers. Pack up the van and head over to WQED headquarters, where the party moves to the street between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Fifth Avenue will be closed to traffic so your family can do a drive-by visit of King Friday’s castle. As cars pull up, kids will be given kindness bags filled with snacks and supplies to make a crown. Click here to learn more about how to support kindness through Cardigan Day.

5. Watch kid flicks (at home)

Harris Theater @ Home screens “NYICFF Kid Flicks One” from the New York International Children’s Film Festival through Dec. 31. This program of inspiring shorts is aimed at ages 5 and up, but don’t be surprised if grown-ups are just as charmed and entertained. The collection includes animated flicks like “Boriya,” “My Brother Luca” and “Cat Lake City,” as well as a documentary short on “The Magic of Chess.” Your $8 ticket allows 48-hour access to the screening.

6. Paint a flamboyance of flamingos (at home)

Fun fact: A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance. We love that appropriate description for these beautiful exotic birds! This Saturday, Nov. 14, brings kids and grownups two opportunities to paint flamingos. The National Aviary’s Brush & Birds series features a flamingo in its live virtual class. Your $25 registration includes a list of materials, or you can pick up a supply kit for an additional $20. The Pittsburgh Zoo’s Animal Art Class guides ages 10 and older in their flamingo artistry. Expect a visit from some favorite animal ambassadors, too. Registration is $26.

7. Join the BOOM Slam Puppet Jam (at home)

BOOM Slam Puppet Jam (love that rhyme!) partners The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh with City of Asylum in a wild compilation of puppet videos on Saturday, Nov. 14. Puppeteer artists D.S. Kinsel and Dave English host the event that completes the month-long puppet series at the Children’s Museum. Register for the free live streaming event here.

8. Howl at the (new) moon (in person)

Dress for the weather and bring a flashlight to catch a new moon hike this weekend. The tiny sliver of light from a new moon gives hikers optimal stargazing opportunities. An L.L. Bean Moonlight Hike meets at Pie Traynor Field in North Park on Nov. 15 for ages 8 and older. Allegheny County Parks hosts its Latodami New Moon Hike in North Park on Nov. 14 for ages 10 and older. Park After Dark: Night Sky Hikes with Park Rangers are scheduled this weekend, too. The North Park hike is set for Nov. 13, Harrison Hills Park is Nov. 14, and Round Hill Farm takes place on Nov. 15. All events are free, but registration is required.

9. Head to a college fair (at home)

The Virtual Steeltown College Fair on Monday, Nov. 16, includes 18 colleges that kids can consider in their quest for higher education. Preview each school’s video to get a sense of what they have to offer. Once teens narrow down their choices a bit, they can talk one-on-one to college reps. The college fair is free but registration is required to receive the Zoom link and list of colleges and video.

10. Compete in the Pittsburgh Clean Energy Art Contest (at home)

Homewood Children’s Village and The Children’s Environmental Health Network invite kids to draw or paint their clean energy vision through the Pittsburgh #EnergyAndKidsHealth Art Contest. The idea is to help drive community change for a healthier future for kids. Submit your vision by Sunday, Nov. 15, and be eligible for a $100 grand prize. Online voting runs Nov. 16-25. Meanwhile, click here to learn more about the ways that dirty energy sources harm children’s health.