160 (mostly free) activities at Remake Learning Days spark excitement for Pittsburgh kids

Photo: Students share their future hopes at a Remake Learning Days kickoff event. Photo by Ben Filio.

Please note: All photos were shot pre-pandemic, without masks.

After a year’s hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, Remake Learning Days Across America returns with a lineup of events designed to engage kids of all ages. While there are some in-person events, many activities will be virtual due to ongoing concerns about safety and health.

But that isn’t necessarily a limiting factor. Remake Learning Days takes place in 17 regions, and most of the activities will be accessible to any kid with an internet connection.

“It’s a regional festival and we celebrate all these regions,” says Dorie Taylor, producer for Remake Learning Days. “Now you can go to San Diego, you can go to Eastern Kentucky, you can go to Greater Cincinnati, and you can explore what kids, youths and families are doing in these very specific regions.”

Events in Southwestern Pennsylvania start on May 6 and run through May 16, featuring more than 160 in-person and virtual events. Some regions already have launched virtual activities, which can be accessed here.

A pre-festival discoverED RLD Kickoff event involving nearly 1,000 second-graders throughout Pennsylvania is planned for May 4, when students will virtually swap classrooms to plan and create marble maze designs.

The Heinz History Center hosted a landscape painting workshop for kids to create their own version of the city skyline at sunset. Photo by Ben Filio.

Launched in 2017, the mission of Remake Learning Days is to explore creative and fun ways of learning. That often means out-of-the-box experiences that kids don’t find in schools.

“This year’s Remake Learning Day’s festival is showing youth different ways to learn,” Taylor says. “Some of the events are coming out of schools, but a lot of the events are coming out of community spaces.”

Examples include Exploring Neon and Plasma at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, a virtual trip to the site’s Hodge Gallery, and Why Animals Don’t Smoke, a tobacco prevention program sponsored by the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission.

Events are searchable among neighborhoods, ages and six categories:

  • Arts
  • Maker
  • Outdoor learning
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Youth voice

There are professional development sessions for educators, too, including STEM in Action with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a free virtual one-hour workshop on April 28.

This family workshop at a community garden took place in Braddock. Photo by Ben Filio.

After a year of online classes due to the pandemic, many kids are champing at the bit to join in-person events. The live activities will be held indoors and outdoors, with social distancing protocols in place.

“I feel like people will do what they are most comfortable doing,” Taylor says. “But they are going to be a draw for people to get out of their house and see what’s happening at the Children’s Museum, which is opening back up, or the Sarah Heinz House, two North Side happenings.”

Here are a few highlights of the many events happening throughout the Pittsburgh region:

Bite-Sized Buhl, 10:30 a.m. May 6 and 13. Virtual. Through the Carnegie Science Center’s Stellarium software, kids will be able to explore constellations and stars in the night skies over Pittsburgh.

Origami Circuits, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 6. Hybrid. The Bridgeville and South Fayette public libraries will provide Origami Circuit Take and Makes, while supplies last, for students to take home to make their own origami robots.

Pizza Day Story Walk, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. May 6-16. In-person. Kids and parents are invited to read Melissa Iwai’s “Pizza Day” as they stroll through Kennedy Park in Sharpsburg. The event is being held in conjunction with the Sharpsburg Community Library, a branch of the Cooper-Siegel Community Library.

The Cryptid Critter Crawl. Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

The Cryptid Critter Crawl, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 6-16. In-person. Installations inspired by eight folkloric creatures known as cryptids, including Bigfoot and the Mothman, are displayed outdoors at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. A website, Cryptid Critter Crawl, offers each cryptid’s backstory.

Yo-Yo Challenges, 9-11 a.m. May 7. In-person. Yo-Yos — from the history of the toy to fun activities that engage kids with math and science problems — will be the center of attention at California Area Intermediate School.

Kids Comic Con Kickoff, 3:30-5:30 p.m. May 8. In-person. Sarah Heinz House will host a kickoff event for its eight-week series of Media Lab STEAM program’s Kids Comic Con All Summer Long. Kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superheroes or villains and can participate in other comic-related activities.

Art + Yoga @ Yogamotif, noon-12:45 p.m. May 8. Virtual. This all-level yoga class for the entire family hosted by Alecia Dawn of Yogamotif will feature yoga and drawing activities.

Black Monarch, noon-3 p.m. May 8 and 15. Virtual. Kids can learn about public art and murals with instructors from the Black Monarch Collective. Through hybrid instruction, a fine art piece will be created using a paint-by-number format.

Pennsylvania Pig Farm Showcase, 9:30-10:30 a.m. May 11. Virtual. National Pig Farmer of the Year Chris Hoffman will take kids on a virtual tour of his farm and tell stories about how pigs impact the lives of all Pennsylvanians. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation.

Homewood Children’s Village Presents: HCV Cooks, 6-7:30 p.m. May 12. Virtual. Homewood Children’s Village will conduct a virtual cooking class for select families, delivering food and supplies in advance.