8 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from spray parks to pick-your-own strawberries

We’re stoked about the official start of summer this weekend. With the new season comes opportunities for outdoor excitement, creative endeavors and scientific discoveries. Check out these 10 cool things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Jump into a splash dance

Citiparks spray parks opened this week to the delight of screaming, splashing kiddos. These cooling playgrounds include movement sensors that – abracadabra! – magically turn on the water. You’ll find tunnels of misting jets, tall flower showers, and squirting tubes. The spray parks are designed for all ages, from the smallest toddlers to fun-loving teens. No swimming skills are required, just a love of liquid refreshment on a hot sunny day. A few spray park openings are delayed as repairs and inspections are completed. Catch updates here.

2. Try your hand at creative writing

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s free Summer Youth Writing Camp moves online this year, beginning June 22. Kids ages 11-15 will find inspiration from the works of August Wilson. The first session filled up so quickly, two more sessions were added. Don’t miss out! Register here.

3. Pick Some strawberries

Annual strawberry festivals are canceled this year, but you can still get kids out in a couple of fields. Plump red strawberries are ready to pluck and toss in a basket to take home. Pick-your-own is open daily from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Triple B Farms with some restrictions. Earlier times, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m., are reserved for seniors and those with health issues. At Simmons Farm, berry pickers hop aboard a free hayride to the fields. Strawberry picking is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays. Call ahead or check Simmons’ Facebook page for updates.

4. Experiment with science outside the box

Outside the Box Labs sets up in Allegheny County Parks for exciting summer programs for kids ages 10 and older. Design, build and launch rockets or learn the chemistry and physics of explosion science. Arrowhead making and human hovercraft shuffleboard are included in the lineup, too. Check out park locations and fees here.

5. Watch cat shenanigans

Watching our silly pets was a great distraction during stay-at-home pandemic orders. See what cats have been up to with this new movie presented by Row House Cinema. Quarantine Cat Film Festival was put together with video footage from amateur filmmakers around the world. The whole family will get laughs from the goofiest, cutest, bravest cats. Row House promises the “most purr-fect, a-meow-zing and totally fur-tastic cat videos ever seen.” Watch the trailer and buy your ticket for the June 19 online screening.

6. Immerse yourself in summer reading

Summer Reading 2020 involves a lot more than books. Sign up to get a weekly Bingo card with reading prompts and themed activities. Complete the card and submit to qualify to win a prize, chosen at random. Head offline for a change of pace and take part in a Storywalk planned throughout neighborhood parks. Parents have easy access to terrific resources like Common Sense Media and WQED Education. Kids can register at Summer Reading 2020 as individuals or you can register as a family and begin tracking all those books you’ll be reading.

7. Bee there or bee square!

Middle and high school kids who care about environmental issues will be engrossed in “The Pollinators.” Phipps Conservatory offers an online screening of the documentary on June 19, followed by a virtual discussion with entomologist Dr. Ryan Gott. The film looks at the endangered populations of honey bees and their importance to feeding humans and our food security. RSVP by June 18 to receive a password for the film and discussion. Watch the trailer here.

8. Find urban adventures with CitiCamp @ Home

Citiparks moves summer activities for kids into the virtual world with CitiCamp @ Home Urban Adventures, running through July 24. The six-week program presents weekly STEAM projects, games and the chance to win prizes. Box kits can be picked up at Grab ‘n Go Meal Distribution Locations, but if you can’t make it in person, print the week’s booklet and activities. Check onto Citiparks Facebook page for the daily activity and share your kids’ creations.