8 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from free ice-skating lessons to the ultimate DIY

There are plenty of reasons to love winter weather this week with exciting ways to embrace the cold. Kids who prefer staying cozy indoors have loads of virtual, hands-on endeavors, too. Jump into our top things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Register for free ice-skating lessons (in person)

Ice skating’s high-energy exercise will keep kids fit and fine throughout the brisk season ahead. Happily, North Park and South Park ice rinks offer free beginner skating lessons for kids ages 5 and older. Register in advance for classes running from Dec. 8-Jan. 5. Kids between the ages of 4 and 9 can check out the “Try Hockey for Free” sessions or free hockey skating classes for those 5 years and older. Masks and other COVID safety protocols will be followed.

2. Be a singing superstar (at home)

Kids in grades 6-12 are welcome to compete in the Williams Sing-off Competition, part of the Highmark First Night celebration. Kids can perform their video audition individually or as a group. Judges include Broadway star Eva Noblezada from “Miss Saigon” and “Hadestown.” KDKA will record finalists to air as part of the First Night broadcast on Dec. 31. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 7. Find the application and complete rules here to launch your kids into superstar status.

3. Discover another week of the re-invented Children’s Festival (at home)

The EQT Children’s Theater Festival continues fun programming in its @ Home edition running through Dec. 31. Kids will love the cool hands-on projects and activities. The growing content adds a move-making lesson in Goldfish Stop-Action How-Tos. Dan + Claudia Zanes offer a dancing, singing and signing party with American sign language. And Buzzword Pittsburgh brings a five-day lineup of Talk & Play Activities. Keep watching for new weekly content and lots more festival fun.

4. Pick up a craft kit and be a maker (at home)

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and MuseumLab extend their formula for fun with Museum at Home. Their creative team packaged all the pieces needed into craft kits to take home and build along with an Instagram Live workshop. The kits are available for free pickup from the museum porch on select dates. On Dec. 4, pickup for the Gingerbird House Kit runs from 3-5 p.m. The DIY Gift Wrap & Gift Tags Kit is available from 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 11. Can’t make it to the pickup? There is a wealth of other Museum at Home activities on the website.

5. Invent an animal (at home)

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hosts a virtual storytime featuring “What Would You Do With A Tail Like This?” on Dec. 8. The story will inspire kids to create an animal with crazy features from their imaginations. Come to the session prepared with paper and crayons or markers. Register here for the free activity to receive the Zoom link.

6. Applaud Penguins on Parade (in person)

What’s more fun than a lineup of waddling penguins frolicking in winter weather? Penguins on Parade returns to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, giving us the best reason to love the cold. The annual event has been reconfigured to allow best safety practices. Cheer on the birds of winter every Saturday and Sunday in December. Penguins on Parade is included in your timed ticket, sold in advance.

7. Try the ultimate DIY (in person)

Carnegie Science Center wows inquisitive kids with Fab Lab 101 Workshops. The technology crash courses cover a range of digital fabrication tools like a 3D printer, laser cutter and milling machine. Choose from workshops planned for Dec. 4 and 11. Register for the $30 workshops here and learn how to design and build a prototype from scratch.

8. Join team Teen Time (at home)

Creative kids in grades 6-12 can click into Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s weekly Teen Time @ Home every Wednesday via YouTube and Instagram. The library’s teen specialists offer games, activities and hands-on projects that support literacy, technology skills and collaboration. Watch for Grab & Go Activity Kits at library branches in your neighborhood.

Bonus: Looking for holiday-themed events? Checkout the Kidsburgh guide to 21 ways kids can celebrate the holidays in Pittsburgh.