9 things to with kids this week in Pittsburgh, from a horse experience to ‘Hip Hop Nutcracker’

Please note: With new COVID-19 restrictions in place from Dec. 12-Jan. 4, many in-person events will be canceled.

Animal lovers will find their happy place with wild animal sessions and hands-on equine encounters. There are loads of options for art and maker enthusiasts, too. The variety of things to do this week with kids is impressive. Read on!

1. Gallop into a horse experience (in person)

Sunni Bell Stables in Burgettstown offers families the chance to get up close and personal with a horse. A private, COVID-safe session for up to three siblings includes riding, grooming and feeding. The one-hour Horse Experience with a professional trainer is priced at $75. For questions and reservations, call 412-973-4727.

2. Warm up to winter weather (at home)

The Frick Pittsburgh invites kids to a Winter Family Fun Day on Dec. 12. The morning of winter-themed activities includes a story reading, snowy-movement yoga and an art-making session inspired by cold weather joy. The morning’s events are free, but registration is required to receive the link and list of art supplies.

3. Discover another week of the re-invented Children’s Theater 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. Keep watching for new weekly content and lots more festival fun. This week’s highlights:

“Itsy”: Watch the puppet performance by String Theory Theater that gives the spider’s perspective of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Free, through Dec. 31.

Paper Bag Puppet Workshop: Learn how to make a puppet from a paper bag in a live workshop on Dec. 12. Free, but registration is required.

“Hip Hop Nutcracker”: The holiday mashup is available through Harris Theater @ Home through Dec. 31. Registration is $20 per household.

4. Uncover the winter secrets of wild animals (in person)

Junior Rangers will have their critter questions answered: Do bears take naps? Do foxes wear coats? Do squirrels cuddle with their families? This Allegheny County Parks Rangers program teaches kids how native wild animals survive and thrive in winter weather. The two sessions on Dec. 12 will be held in North Park Lodge. The program, geared to ages 5-12, is free, but registration is required.

5. Have a happy Waholiday! (at home)

This edition of Virtual Workshops for Early Learners, ages 3-6, references Andy Warhol’s work as a commercial illustrator, creating greeting cards and stamping. Kids will participate in a mix of storytelling, movement and hands-on art-making, using stamping and paint patterns to make wrapping paper. The live workshop takes place on Dec. 12. Your $10 registration includes the link, printable supplemental worksheets and a list of supplies.

6. Get gooey and slimy (at home)

No two ways about it: Kids love slime and oozing the goopy stuff through their fingers. Here’s their chance to satisfy their curiosity about the science of gooey and gross things through Slime Time Day Camp at Assemble Pittsburgh. The virtual camp for grades 1-3 explores polymers, slime activators and other scientific factors. The $20 registration includes a link and materials kit. The camp is free for Garfield residents. If you missed Slime Time Day Camp, catch up with the science on Assemble’s YouTube slime Crafternoon video. Or check out even more Assemble programming coming up!

7. Jump aboard the Jolly Trolley tour (in person)

Molly’s Trolleys hosts Holiday Sightseeing Tours that wind from the Strip District through Downtown in a decked-out trolley car. An expert guide shares details about Pittsburgh traditions and history along the way. Trolleys are sanitized between tours and group seating is arranged to allow proper distancing. The 30-minute tours, running weekends through Dec. 20, require reservations 24 hours in advance. Tickets are $10 for kids, $12 for their grownups.

8. Apply for WYEP Reimagination 2021 (at home)

Aspiring teen musicians and songwriters can submit an original song recording through Jan. 1 to compete for a spot in WYEP’s Reimagination Project. Launched in 2014, the Reimagination Project provides young musicians a chance to record songs and learn from music industry professionals. They’ll benefit from recording opportunities, songwriting workshops and other subjects to give them a well-rounded look at getting started in the music industry. Previous alumni include Grammy Award-winning Daya, Emmy Award-winning Jessica Bitsura, and blues phenom Pierce Dipner. Read the Kidsburgh story about the 2020 winners and find your inspiration.

9. Explore creativity with the Art Cat (in person)

This month’s Family Day at Carnegie Museum of Art begins with an Art Cat bag stuffed with kid-centered activities and takeaways inspired by the seasonal works of art on view. Roam the wide-open galleries and explore artwork along the way. Family Day activities on Dec. 13 are free with regular admission. Buy your timed tickets here.

Looking for more holiday-themed events?

Santa Zoom calls, a Chanukah Drive-in, and a free Kwanzaa celebration. You’ll find it all in the Kidsburgh guide to 21 ways kids can celebrate the holidays in Pittsburgh and 10 Pittsburgh light displays to brighten your spirit. Cheers!