• Today is: Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Kidcast: Top events this week

Kristine Sorensen
March26/ 2019

I love keeping you updated on events happening in the Burgh with the Kidsburgh Kidcast. This week you can be immersed in the music of Disney with the Pittsburgh Symphony, let your kids make their own music at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, or head to the theater for a fun show that highlights STEM curriculum. And now I want to know … what’s your favorite Disney song? Mine is “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast,” which I’ve been singing a lot lately since my daughter is playing Chip in her school musical.

 

11 best April activities for kids in Pittsburgh

Kidsburgh Staff
March25/ 2019

Hello, April! Even though spring officially started in March, April is the month that gives us the brightest outlook. Events planned for kids reflect the season with high energy activities, outdoor fun and a fresh, new place to visit.

Head to the Zoo Hop, a Science Tots Earth Day experience or meet a miniature horse.

Check out these and many more family-friendly events at NEXTPittsburgh.

Maker Monday: Yarn Share-A-Heart

maker monday
Sally Quinn
March25/ 2019

Crafters across the city have spread smiles and love with handmade hearts to help comfort those affected by recent tragedies. Some are knit, others crocheted, handstitched or made from clay and painted. The hearts are left in public spots where people who find them are instructed to keep them or share them with others.

Kids can get in on the trend, too, with this week’s Maker Monday: Yarn Share-A-Hearts.

While crafting the hearts, brainstorm about ideas of where to leave them. Perhaps a neighbor’s front porch or a nearby bus stop. Giving away these pretty hearts might feel like a sacrifice for a young maker, but anticipating the smiles they will elicit will be worth it.

maker monday

Supplies:

Corrugated cardboard

Yarn

Heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)

Scissors

Markers

Stiff paper (index cards or card stock)

maker monday

Draw heart shapes on the cardboard. We traced a cookie cutter to make ours, but you can do it freehand if you wish. Cut out the hearts. For the open heart, fold a cutout heart in half and trim out the center.

maker monday

Choose your yarn color and begin by tying the yarn around the cardboard heart. Don’t worry about the loose yarn. It will be covered up once you wind enough yarn onto the heart.

maker monday

Wind the yarn around the cardboard, pulling slightly to keep in place.

maker monday

Keep wrapping the yarn around the heart, filling in empty spots as you go, until you have a thick and puffy heart.  Snip the end and use your scissors to poke the end down inside the yarn. (It’s best to let a grownup do this step.)

maker monday

Write up messages to go with your hearts: “Love > Hate” or “Find it. Keep it. Or share it!” Or you can ask finders to let others know what they’ve found on social media with hashtags like #ShareAHeartPgh, #LOVE>hate and #PGHHandMadeHearts. The notes can be tied on to your hearts or tucked into the yarn.

Next: Go out and share your heart!

For more Maker Monday projects and other fun stuff for kids, visit the Kidsburgh Activities page.

Kristine Sorensen
March21/ 2019

Did you know the Pittsburgh Public Schools budget is even bigger than the entire budget for the City of Pittsburgh?  And it’s controlled by nine elected volunteers.

 Four of the nine seats are up for a vote this May to be on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and three of the seats have no incumbent.  Many people don’t pay attention to these races, but with the amount of money they control, maybe you should.

     Pittsburgh Public School Board meetings can last for hours, but that’s just the time we see the nine volunteer board members devote.  There are meetings to prepare for the meetings and a lot of work behind the scenes.

     While many people think school board business doesn’t affect them if they don’t have kids in the schools, it can.  James Fogarty, Executive Director of A+ Schools, says, “The thing that I always remind people is, one, this is a common good.  It leads to the success or failure of our region and our city.  Two, it’s your tax dollars. I mean, this board can, and may, vote on a tax increase.”

     A+ Schools advocates for improved Pittsburgh Public Schools.  Fogarty believes the success of the region is tied directly to the success of the public schools, in attracting residents and development and providing the future workforce.

    According to National Student Clearinghouse, only 31% of Pittsburgh Public School graduates go on to complete college or trade school within six years.  Fogarty says while the district does better than many schools with similar demographics, the board has a lot of work to do to improve.

     “We know younger folks, millennials, want to be in cities.  So as they start having children, how do we make sure that they have schools that they want to be in?”

     The school board is tasked with hiring the superintendent and then helping implement his or her vision.  They’re responsible for a $646 million budget.  That’s compared to $574 million for the city’s general fund.

     Fogarty says the school board can “drive a lot of decisions that can either impact a neighborhood to the positive or the negative, and so you got to know who the candidates are and you got to start asking them questions now.”

     A+ Schools asks the ten candidates questions and they provide answers online, on pamphlets and at a public forum April 24 at the Kaufman Center in the Hill District and also broadcast online and TV.

      In the past few elections, only about 25% of registered voters voted for the school board.  That’s about 20,000 people out of a population of 300,000.

     “What we really want people to do is to (not only) understand who the candidates are, but understand the issues of inequity that we care about and ask questions that are related to those,” says Fogarty.

     The deadline to register to vote in the May 21 election is April 22. Visit VoteSchoolBoardFirst.org for more information.

Kidcast and Dr. G offer advice on discussing tragedy with kids

kidcast
Kristine Sorensen
March19/ 2019

With the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand and the Tree of Life tragedy still so fresh, Dr. Debi Gilboa has advice on how to talk to children about tragedy — and whether to even bring it up at all.  Kristine Sorensen asks at what age should parents should discuss any emotionally difficult subject and how to present it. Get Dr. G’s expert advice.