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9 things to do with kids (at home) this week in Pittsburgh, from a dance party to a magic show

Sally Quinn
April28/ 2020

Pittsburgh never fails to surprise and entertain. Groove to the music, get your baseball fix and enjoy the best rainy day ever. We’ve got you covered this week with inventive ideas to keep everyone happily engaged.

1. Go Irish

Pittsburgh Irish Festival includes kids programming in its streaming lineup of foot-tapping music. Scythian Presents: Cake for Dinner’s Quarantiny Toons is a silly story about a pair of carrot-stealing bunny puppets. Musical interludes from the Dirty Bottom Boys keep kids hopping and laughing with their goofy songs and campfire nonsense. When’s the last time you clapped and slapped to a speed round of Flea Fly Flo?

2. Dance, dance, dance

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh hosts weekly virtual dance parties to add a bit of energy to kids in quarantine. Connect with the host, award-winning DJ Joshua S. Walker, through Zoom. Each week features a different theme or a special appearance from childhood icons. Past dance parties include an ‘80s party and a neon theme. Check in at 7 p.m. Friday for this week’s Star Wars dance party.

The virtual dances are part of the YMCA lineup of events. Every day, the YMCA holds at least five activities for kids, from toddlers to teens. Look for reading circles, craft classes and virtual field trips to places like the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Berkeley Hills Fire Company.

3. Hop on a Frog Stop Scavenger Hunt

We won’t see the EQT Children’s Theater Festival in its traditional form this year, but plans are in the works for a virtual celebration. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is working with featured performers and artists to pull together a re-imagined version of the festival from May 14-17. (We’ll keep you posted when the details are announced.)

Meanwhile, get in the mood for festival fun by hopping onto the Frog Stop Scavenger Hunt. Your family is challenged to work through four of the six suggestions to watch, move, dance and read from home. Shoot a photo and upload it to the Trust website to be eligible to win a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory. Your family could also be featured on the Trust social media outlets.

4. Bake with your kids

Find delicious recipes and lots of tips for baking with kids at Giant Eagle’s Baking Adventures site. Try out kid-friendly dishes like Unicorn Pie, Jam Thumbprint Cookies and Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. Tips include making a game plan before beginning and pairing kids with age-appropriate tasks. Reading and math lessons are part of the experience of following a recipe and measuring ingredients. Baking together can be a joy that ends with a sweet reward for everyone.

5. Make a Frida Kahlo-inspired headpiece

Use your Carnegie Library card to access the Creativebug collection of 1,000-plus online crafting tutorials. The collection includes a whole section of kids’ classes broken into age groups. We were taken with this bright Frida Kahlo-inspired headpiece made from a plastic headband, felt, ribbon and a glue gun. Creating the freeform floral touches requires simple artistry that’s easy to do. The finished headpiece will be a fun addition to Taco Tuesday dinner or a backyard Cinco de Mayo family fiesta.

6. Just hit print

The Pittsburgh Pirates education team continues to add more activities and cool printouts. Make a 3-D, fold-up Chris Archer figure, navigate a maze and create a baseball game fortune teller. Eagle-eyed kids can spot the differences in photos and spy treasures on a tropical island map.

Play a game of Spring-o Bingo with Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Look for signs of nature in your backyard or out your window and check off the items on your bingo card. The printout suggests additional activities and nature lessons along the way.

Kennywood Park is open to fun even if the gates are still closed. With these printable downloads, kids can puzzle out the answers to Scramblewood Park, Word Up and the Matching Mix Up. Kids who can’t read will have fun filling in the Thomas Town coloring page.

7. Enjoy a rainy day (really!)

There’s been no shortage of showers in the forecast lately, but there’s plenty of amusement to be found between sprinkles and downpours. Phipps Conservatory lists a bunch of activities that require rain to take part.  Kids can make a rain gauge as part of a scientific investigation, go on a worm search-and-rescue party or conduct a rain symphony. They’ll soon learn that a storm offers plenty of ideas to seize the day!

8. Make aluminum foil art

This art project from The Frick Pittsburgh’s assortment of virtual kids’ activities finishes as a textured and colorful piece of modern art. Fun With Foil is a terrific lesson in making art from objects at hand. This undertaking starts with cardboard, yarn and aluminum foil. The final product is stylish and fresh.

9. Be amazed!

Are your kids intrigued by card tricks? Expect that fascination to deepen with Liberty Magic @ Home. The live, closeup magic show live streams at 7:30 p.m. Friday nights on YouTube and Facebook. This week’s episode features Chris Capehart, who turns old-school magical props into mind-blowing illusions, and Jon Tai, who includes quirky storytelling and humor in his magical mysteries. Have a few decks of cards handy for your little tricksters to begin practicing after the show.

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Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn is an award-winning writer and editor who has been covering her favorite city for more than 30 years. She appreciates all that Pittsburgh offers families and has a blast guiding her 10 grandkids to new discoveries. Sally welcomes your comments and story ideas for Kidsburgh.

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