10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from Valentine fun to a fluffy baby penguin

Photo: Courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Love is in the air this week with Valentine’s Day-themed events that warm the heart and entertain kids. Dip into some fascinating aspects of Black history. And catch up with the kind of news Pittsburgh families care about. Read on for lots of fun stuff to do with kids this week.

1. Party at Hearts in the Park (in person)

Take the family out to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The outdoor, socially distanced Hearts in the Park revelry takes place in front of the museum from 4 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 13. Expect kid-friendly activities and exhibits that spread joy, creativity and kindness. Excavate ice blocks for treasure, add to a balloon-splatter work of art and have a blast playing on the interactive ROPE, Los Trompos spinning tops and Merry-Go-Cycle installations. Click here to learn how to add your kid’s Valentine’s Day drawings and personal messages to the video projection. Hearts in the Park is free, with no registration required. Parking is free, too! Activities will be undercover and take-home options will be offered in case of bad weather. Get the details here.

Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

2. Visit a fluffy baby penguin (in person)

First-time parents Buddy and Holly invite penguin lovers to meet their one-month-old chick at the National Aviary. Like all modern parents, Buddy and Holly take turns feeding and brooding their fluffy youngster. Watch their baby grow and develop during twice-daily appearances in the Avian Care Center. Don’t put your visit off for too long. The chick will be fully grown within two months. The appearances are included in general admission timed tickets. Learn more about African Penguins, which is an endangered species, and ways to support the flock here.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

3. Design a logo and win a $500 prize (at home)

Kids up to 18 years old with budding graphic design skills are welcome to submit designs to the Venture Outdoors 20th-anniversary Youth Logo Contest. The winner will receive a $500 scholarship to an educational or enrichment program of their choice. The logo should be a simple design inspired by the outdoors and include the words Venture Outdoors. The deadline for submission is Feb. 26. Click here for more details.

Images courtesy of Fred Rogers Productions.

4. Send an Encouragement Card to your favorite kid (at home)

The Mentoring Partnership is teaming up with Fred Rogers Productions to help kids keep their spirits up with cheery notes of support. These Encouragement Cards feature favorite characters like Daniel Tiger, Peg + Cat and Mister Rogers himself. Download and print the cards out to send by mail or to tuck into a pocket or lunchbox. Take a screenshot of a card to email or text to someone for a boost of inspiration. Find the Encouragement Cards here and share the love.

Photo by Sarah Dietz.

5. Make Love Potion Soup (at home)

Well, it’s not literally soup, but it is a love-filled creation inspired by Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Can prints. Early learners ages 3 to 6 are invited to this virtual workshop presented by the Andy Warhol Museum on Feb. 13. The session combines art, movement and storytelling. Kids will be challenged to create a personal flavor of “soup” for their Valentine. Registration for the Love Potion Soup workshop is $10. A list of materials will be sent following registration.

Image courtesy of YMCA Lighthouse Project.

6. Be a beatmaker (at home)

The YMCA Lighthouse Project offers a beatmaking class for teens that uses mobile devices to produce original beats. The virtual class examines the influence of sample-based beatmakers on the national music scene, as well as Pittsburgh’s musical legacy. Teaching artists, producers and DJs Amos Levy (DJ Thermos) and David Shoemaker (DJ Shoe) will lead discussions and skill-building activities. Register here for the class that starts Feb. 17 and runs every Wednesday for 10 weeks.

Delana Flowers as Sojourner Truth. Photo by Connie Brinda.

7. Meet Sojourner Truth (at home)

Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth takes the Prime Stage Theatre stage in ”Sojourner,” written by Richard LaMonte Pierce. The play uncovers the hard life of a woman born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree, who was sold four times before escaping to freedom with her baby daughter. Baumfree gave herself the name Sojourner Truth when she was compelled to “sojourn for the truth” and speak up for the rights of Black people and women. Running Feb. 12-26, the Prime Stage virtual production stars Delana Flowers. Tickets are priced at a pay-what-you-can rate, beginning at $5 per household. Want to learn more about this remarkable woman? Visit the Prime Stage website for a list of resources. And catch the live webinar with Sojourner Truth’s great, great-grandsons, Thomas and Cory Mcliechey, on Feb. 21.

Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army.

8. Go shopping for free (in person)

Shop with kids ages 5 to 18 at the newly opened Blessings Boutique. Hosted by the Salvation Army Homewood-Brushton Worship & Service Center, the shop’s inventory includes jackets, shirts, pants and toiletries — all brand new and all free. The goal is to support families in need while uplifting kids’ self-esteem and confidence. The space mirrors the feel of retail shops with new shelving, flooring and decor. Blessings Boutique is currently open by appointment only by calling 412-242-1434. Want to help? Click here to donate a registered gift online or go  here to make a monetary donation.

Image courtesy of Assemble.

9. Learn about African American inventors (at home)

Calling all kids who love to tinker! Assemble Pittsburgh is hosting this virtual day camp celebrating African American inventors on Feb. 17, with the supply kit pickup on Feb. 12. Kids in first through third grades are invited to explore the remarkable discoveries of inventors who likely started out as curious and inquisitive kids, too. Day camp participants will be challenged to create a few inventions of their own. Registration is $20, which includes a supply kit, with some $10 scholarships available. The camp is free for Garfield residents.

Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Symphony.

10. Travel the world with Fiddlesticks (at home)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s scruffy mascot, Fiddlesticks, engages with kids ages 3 to 8 through Fidd Kits. The activity kits encourage music exploration with a comprehensive range of hands-on fun. Included are craft supplies, a letter from Fiddlesticks, snack recipes and instrument trading cards. The kits are designed to support Family Concert themes. The deadline to order a $10 kit for the upcoming “Around the World” concert is Feb. 12.

Bonus: Looking for more cool things to do? Check out 23 ways to make the most of outdoor winter fun.