11 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from teddy bears to trolls

Photo by Pixabay.

Our search for cool stuff to do uncovered a teddy bear outing, creative challenges and great physical exercise. Ready, set, go have fun!

1. Bring a teddy bear to Books with Bears (in person)

Your teddy bear-toting kids will get a kick out of this free outdoor event. Allegheny County Park Rangers will read a storybook about bears, then teach kids about bears in the wild. The program is geared for ages 3-7, but siblings can tag along. Bring a camp chair or a blanket to sit on — and don’t forget your favorite teddy. The sessions are presented on March 18 at Hartwood Acres, March 19 at North Park, and March 20 at Deer Lakes Park.

Photo courtesy of Girls on the Run.

2. Run like a girl (in person)

Girls on the Run of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital begins its spring program for girls in third to fifth grades on March 22 or April 12, depending on the team. Girls on the Run coaches blend physical activity with skill development to encourage girls to recognize their individual strengths and learn healthy habits for life. Outdoor sessions are planned with the flexibility to transition to virtual programming if needed. Choose your location and register here. Financial assistance is available on a sliding scale.

Image courtesy of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

3. Create your own troll (at home)

Troll pals Ivy and Fern will host the summer flower show at Phipps, the Hidden Life of Trolls, opening May 1. Kids will love seeing the trolls, who will be placed throughout the glasshouse. In anticipation of the upcoming show, Phipps is inviting kids ages 12 and younger to create a troll, name it and include details of its personality like its favorite color, hobby or snack. A select number will win the chance to appear in the Hidden Life of Trolls and many more will be included in the troll collection on Phipps’ Troll Crossing website. Find guidelines here and begin your troll creations.

Photo courtesy of Rachael Ragen.

4. Build an art-making zipline (at home)

Kids will make a mini-zipline out of recycled materials, then add on art supplies to create a cool piece of art. Remake Learning Days and Allegheny Intermediate Unit host this STEM maker activity. Art teacher Rachel Ragen leads the session that investigates the forces of gravity and friction. Register for the free event and gather materials in advance of the March 20 session.

Image courtesy of August Wilson Center.

5. Try your hand at creative writing (at home)

The 4th annual edition of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s free Youth Writing Camp begins March 20. Kids from middle school to high school will find inspiration from the works of August Wilson, who believed that our own voices and communities are essential to our art. Monthly camp sessions will be held virtually via Zoom. Sessions will address current events and social justice through discussions, reading, writing and sharing. Learn more and register here.

Image from the cover of “Brick Who Found Herself in Architecture.”

6. Follow a growing baby brick (at home)

This month’s Story Sunday program with Carnegie Museum of Art dives into Joshua David Stein’s book, “Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture.” The story follows a baby brick who tries to decide what sort of building she wants to grow into. Brick travels the world, checking out architectural wonders that prove every great building begins with small bricks. The virtual activity for kids 12 and younger includes an art-making project that follows the story. Register here for the pay-what-you-wish event on March 21.

Analog Animation. Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

7. Register for upcoming Children’s Museum workshops (at home)

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh continues its virtual STEM workshops for kids of all ages. Act quickly to catch early signup deadlines. Registration for April 3rd’s Weaving with Natural Materials closes on March 19. Registration for April 5th’s Analog Animation closes on March 21. Browse through the remaining dates on the calendar before these classes sell out. Registration is offered on a sliding scale for those who need it, and there is also the opportunity to pay it forward.

Photo courtesy of Alumni Theater Company.

8. Audition for Alumni Theater Company (at home)

Alumni Theater Company (ATC) welcomes kids in grades 6-12 to its annual auditions for upcoming productions. This year, auditions are being held virtually in three rounds. Round 1, which focuses on singing and acting, runs through March 26. Round 2’s dance auditions will be held April 16-18. Round 3’s callback will concentrate on writing and collaborating on April 19. Kids who are selected will begin their ATC experience with a Summer Intensive. Learn more about the audition process here. And break a leg!

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

9. Become a published author (at home)

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s annual Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is accepting submissions now through April 18. Allegheny County teens in grades 9-12 are invited to submit original works of prose or poetry. Prizes will be awarded in both categories, including $250 first-place prizes and $100 second-place prizes. The top submissions in both categories will be published in the “2021 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology,” a book of creative work distributed to Allegheny County public libraries. Find all the contest rules here.

Photo by Budgeron Bach.

10. Develop dance skills (at home or in person)

Tiny dancers ages 3 to 7 will find their muse in a series of fairytale-inspired dance workshops offered by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. This month’s session is “The Sleeping Beauty” class on March 21. Choose from a virtual or in-studio experience to explore a dance adaptation of the Bluebird variation. The workshop includes a ballet class and a storytime featuring the “Ella Bella Ballerina” book series. Next up is “Swan Lake” on April 21. The cost is $35 per workshop or $60 for two workshops. Register here.

Photo courtesy of Assemble Pittsburgh.

11. Think like an architect (at home)

Kids in grades 3-5 will be challenged to consider how their neighborhood houses and buildings were planned and structured during the Adventures of an Architect Day Camp on March 24. Part of the fun will be coming up with a design for their own dream home. The virtual workshop includes a material kit to be picked up on March 19. Registration is $20. Some $10 scholarships are available and registration is free for Garfield residents.

Bonus events: Check out these 11 ways to welcome spring in Pittsburgh, from the Easter Bunny to Passover games.