9 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from a Daddy-Daughter Dance to an intro to a baseball star

Photo courtesy of Sugar Plum Parties.

Oh, baby, it’s cold outside! But that won’t stop intrepid families from enjoying time together, cozy at home or venturing forth to in-person events. The week ahead offers lots of fun possibilities for creating and experimenting. Get the party started with these top things to do with kids in Pittsburgh.

1. Dress up for a Daddy-Daughter Dance (in person)

Girls can dress up in their fanciest outfits for an afternoon dance party with Dad. The royal treatment for daughters begins with a glittering manicure and sparkly sprinkle of fairy dust on their hair. Admission includes snacks and beverages, along with making a keepsake handprint. Reservations are $30 for the daddy-daughter duo and $15 for an additional child. Watch for upcoming events like a Valentine’s Day Dance and a Mother-Son Dance. Expect Covid safety protocols, including temperature checks at the door and masks.

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Cho.

2. Bake cookies with a secret (at home)

Join Kidsburgh and Remake Learning Days for a fun-filled, interactive series of baking and decorating sessions led by cookie activist and artist Jasmine Cho. These family-focused cooking classes open with a Valentine’s Day-themed session running from 3 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 6. Kids will learn how to make Love Letter Cookies that include a touch of magic. These special cookies break open to reveal a hidden message inside. Upcoming cookie class themes include Women’s History Month, World Book Day and 143 Day (Fred Rogers day of kindness). Registration is free. Once signed up, you will receive a list of ingredients, the recipe and the Zoom link. See you there!

Math Art. Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

3. Get registered for Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh workshops (at home)

Inventive kids who love to tinker and craft will find their bliss via the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and MuseumLab. You’ll need to plan ahead to register for many of the workshops. Each session is capped at 12-20 kids to allow for personal interaction. Prices vary, with a sliding scale as well as the chance to pay it forward. Some early registration deadlines this week are for classes happening later in the month, including Rocketry 101 (Feb. 4), Counting Stitches (Feb. 6) and  Match Art (Feb. 9). Browse through the museum calendar to find workshops running through April 14.

Image courtesy of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

4. Immerse yourself in spring color (in person)

The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show: A Splash of Brilliance is in full bloom at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Distract your kids from the cold weather within the vivid colors of  flower towers and hanging baskets. Kids will get a kick out of features like the fun-to-say “shishi-odoshi” fountain — once it’s translated as a “deer scarer” — that fills with water, then gently thumps when the bamboo fills and tips over. Another popular spot is the Garden Railroad: Rails and Trails exhibit.  Multiple trains chug along through tunnels and alongside the Biophilia Park. Kids love the hands-free controls that operate a pontoon, carousel and trolley. Timed tickets are required along with Covid precautions. The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show runs through Feb. 28.

5. Investigate the strongest shape in nature (at home)

United Way’s Be STEMtacular Summit challenges kids in grades 5 through 12 with free hands-on STEM activities. Sessions are filling up quickly with early registration. The Strongest Shape Class, intended for students in grades 5 to 9, runs on Feb. 16, but the deadline to sign up is Feb. 9. This lesson considers shapes in nature, like spiderwebs and leaves, to determine why the three-sided shape is the strongest. Register here and check out the other classes running through April 27.

6. Build a better superhero (at home)

Kids who like to draw, like to write and have a thing for superheroes will revel in Pittsburgh Heroes, a class for ages 14 to 18. Sessions from the Homewood-Brushton YMCA Lighthouse Project meet virtually every Wednesday and Saturday, beginning Feb. 10. Participants look at local history to create a Pittsburgh-based superhero community. Sessions involve creating writing, drawing instruction and world-building. Art supplies will be provided. Register here for this and other upcoming classes.

7. Join a book club (at home)

City of Asylum’s children’s book experts launched a new book club for kids ages 8 to 15 years. The Young Readers Book Club will focus on a diverse novel every month. Entertaining activities are included in the virtual meetings. Kids can prepare for the Feb. 14 discussion by reading the first book, “New Kid,” a graphic novel by Jerry Craft. Sign up via email to learn all the details.

A lifelike figure of Josh Gibson in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Photo courtesy of the Heinz History Center.

8. Hop into History with a baseball star (at home)

Heinz History Center’s Hop into History series brings Pittsburgh’s past to early learners ages 3 to 5. Featuring legendary baseball player Josh Gibson, the program on Feb. 10 will be of special interest to junior T-ball players. A star of the Negro League, Gibson played for the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. He was the second Negro League player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Registration is free, but donations are happily accepted.

Photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.

9. Travel to Tomorrowland (at home)

In the fantasy tale, “Mañanaland,” a boy named Max has many questions about his past and his future. Frustrated, he decides to set out on a dangerous journey to the land of tomorrow where he can uncover answers on his own. Fans of the book can meet virtually with author Pam Muñoz Ryan, the latest writer in the Words & Pictures series hosted by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Registration is free for the Feb. 7 event.

Bonus: Looking for more cool things to do? Check out 23 ways to make the most of outdoor winter fun.