10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, including a trip to outer space

Photo courtesy of Jumping Jack Theater.

Family-focused adventures range from space-age fun to Colonial villages. Explore nature outdoors or discover the beauty of engineering. Our guide to top things to do with kids this week has it all.

1. Blast off to “Starshine!’ (in person)

The Andy Warhol Museum welcomes kids in grades K-5 and families with sensory sensitivities to “Starshine!,” a theater experience developed by Jumping Jack Theater. Journey through the galaxy as you admire constellations, dance with asteroids and listen to the soothing sounds of space. The production takes place outdoors in the Warhol Greenspace and Jumping Jack’s new storytelling trailer. Safety protocols include limited seating and masked performers. Multiple performances are scheduled on May 15 and 16. Tickets range from $2-$5 (free for caregivers).

Photo courtesy of the Oliver Miller Homestead.

2. Check out fashion from the olden days (in person)

As a touchstone to Pittsburgh’s early history, the Oliver Miller Homestead opens its season on May 16 with a look at 18th-century fashion. It’s hard for kids today to imagine the frontier practice of making wool and linen that would be cut and sewn into clothing. The demonstrations and activities include a fashion show of clothing for kids and grownups. Watch for upcoming special events at the homestead like Tools of the Frontier and a Revolutionary War Encampment. Admission is $2 on special event days. Otherwise, your $1 admission includes a self-guided tour and interactions with costumed docents. Get all the details here.

Photo courtesy of Jeremiah’s Place.

3. Give yourself a break (in person)

Jeremiah’s Place offers free emergency childcare for kids from infants to age 6. But beyond the big emergencies that parents face, Jeremiah’s Place has seen a growing need during the pandemic for respite programming for families who need a break. The organization does not operate as a drop-in center. Begin by completing an intake appointment, then schedule your visit. Sometimes a few hours’ break is all that a mom or dad needs to regroup and refresh. Knowing their children are in a safe, caring spot helps tremendously.

Image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

4. Name that beaver (in person)

Kids can combine a scavenger hunt with their visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium through June 30. The Name that Beaver scavenger hunt includes five riddles located throughout the zoo that kids use to discover the winning word. Everyone who submits the correct word will receive a prize that includes a Busy Beaver cookie cutter. Every week, five winning word submissions will be eligible to win a full-sized youth bicycle. The scavenger hunt is included in the zoo’s general admission.

Image courtesy of WQED.

5. Engineer a family night (at home)

WQED and PBS stations across Pennsylvania offer a fun learning experience on May 13 at 7 p.m. Family Night: Engineering is a one-hour TV special geared to kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. Kids will learn about careers in engineering and the skills needed, from math and science to problem-solving. Hands-on activities will put kids’ engineering skills to the test. No special tools or supplies are needed. Just have paper and pencils handy. Learn more about this cool program here and check out these terrific web resources from WQED.

Image courtesy of Mariposa Theatre for Young Audiences.

6. Have a laugh with Zak the Yak (at home)

Mariposa Theatre for Young Audiences continues its 2021 season with performances of “The Queens, The Cake, and Zak the Yak” at multiple times on May 14, 15, 21 and 22. The interactive, Zoom-based show is geared to kids ages 5-11. Kids will help the rulers of two kingdoms learn to work together in a story about developing friendship and cooperation. Each performance will be limited to no more than 10 families to allow the most fun and personalized experience. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, starting at $10 per household.

Photo courtesy of Fred Rogers Productions.

7. Meet the people who helped build ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ (at home)

Learn how Fred Rogers created his much-loved TV program and how his legacy lives on. This virtual discussion at 7 p.m. May 20 includes three people who had prominent roles in developing and continuing his “neighborhood:” Bill Isler, former president and CEO of Fred Rogers Productions; Hedda Sharapan, a producer of the show for more than 30 years; and Aisha White, who helped bring Fred’s lessons to classrooms. The session will be moderated by Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski, authors of “When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kid.” You will have the opportunity to ask questions, too. Registration is free.

Photo courtesy of the Depreciation Lands Museum.

8. Celebrate an 18th century Friendship Day (in person)

The Depreciation Lands Museum celebrates Friendship Day with free admission on May 16. The pioneer village will be populated with costumed interpreters who will demonstrate daily life in the 18th century. Browse through the site’s collection of wares sold by Colonial craftspeople. Can’t make it this weekend? The museum is open every Sunday through October.

Photo by Sally Quinn.

9. Learn about the weather (in person)

Younger kids and their grownups will enjoy a fresh air outing at Point State Park this weekend. Through the Wonderful Weather – DiscoverE program, kids will explore nature while learning about weather and how it affects our daily lives. Multiple one-hour time slots are available on May 15 and 16. Registration is free.

Image courtesy of DreamWorks.

10. Cruise to a free drive-in movie (in person)

This week’s Family Drive-in Movie Series with the Allegheny County Parks Department screens Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” (PG) on May 14 at Boyce Park and on May 15 at Settlers Cabin Park. Parking spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with movies beginning at dusk. Ekernally Yours will be on hand at both locations with popcorn, candy and other movie treats. Place your order online and receive a text when your munchies are ready to be picked up.

Bonus events: Check out all that’s happening during the last weekend of EQT Children’s Theater Festival and Remake Learning Days.