• Today is: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Take our school safety survey here

Kidsburgh Staff
March13/ 2018

With the topic so much in the news these days, we want to know how you and others in the Pittsburgh region feel about school safety. Help us out, please, by taking this survey and stay tuned to Kidsburgh for the results.

Take the survey here.

Thanks to Echo Strategies for their help in creating the survey which you can see on  NEXTpittsburgh as well.


Best events for kids in Pittsburgh this spring

spring guide
Candy Williams
March13/ 2018

It’s nearly time to trade in snow shovels for garden tools. There’s so much for families to do as we get ready to welcome the return of spring.

Here are some fresh family-friendly ideas to get you started and keep your kids busy:

Through Sept. 2: The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh! A Mo Willems Exhibit, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Many familiar characters are featured in this play-and-learn exhibit from children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems, including best friends Elephant and Piggie, faithful companion Knuffle Bunny, and The Pigeon.




spring guide
All ages will get a boost from the beautiful blooms and fun activities at Phipps Conservatory.

Through April 8: Spring Flower Show: Scents of Wonder, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Rooms filled with nature’s most beautiful spring blooms on display, bursting with vibrant colors and favorite fragrances. A classic herb garden and animal topiaries are among the highlights.


March15-25: “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” Byham Theater. Pittsburgh Musical Theater presents the fairytale complete with all the familiar songs and characters.

March 16-18: “The Wizard of Oz,” Carnegie Science Center. The 1939 classic family film about Dorothy’s trip will be screened in the Rangos Giant Cinema.

March 16-23: Youth Invasion!, The Andy Warhol Museum. The program features teens’ unique take on Andy Warhol’s artwork, with their points of view, ideas, and creative expressions energizing the entire museum.

March 16-17: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Greensburg Garden & Civic Center. Play based on Roald Dahl’s story about how Charlie Bucket wins a ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory, performed by Greensburg Civic Theatre.

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Downtown. About 200,000 people attend the parade of 22,000 participants celebrating Pittsburgh’s Irish heritage.

March 17-20: Happy Birthday Mister Rogers Days: A 50th Anniversary Celebration, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Special events include visits with Mister McFeely and Daniel Tiger and neighborly-themed creative activities.

March 17-23, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” The Theatre Factory, Trafford. When one group of toys discovers a velveteen rabbit, they learn what it means to be truly loved by their owner. Adapted from the classic story by Margery Williams.

March 20: “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” 50th-anniversary celebration, Heinz History Center. Fred Rogers’ iconic sweater and shoes will be displayed beginning March 20, which would have been his 90th birthday. Special exhibitions and programs in March will mark the 50th anniversary of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

spring guide
The Andy Warhol Museum shows its softer side with activities for little ones.

March 21: Half-Pint Prints, The Andy Warhol Museum. Families work with The Warhol’s artist educators to create silkscreen prints during this drop-in silkscreen printing activity for ages 1 to 4 years.

March 22-24: Cityscape, Trust Arts Education Center. When a wily pigeon flies away with M.C.’s most prized treasure, she must leave the comfort of home and cross the big and busy Cityscape to get it back. The audience is invited to participate in the action via creative movement, music, and sensory play.

March 23: Camp-In Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Kids can sharpen their outdoor skills as they learn about nocturnal forest creatures, navigate by the stars, and discover the science behind fire. Sleepovers include a movie in The Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

March 24: Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions: The Tortoise and the Hare, McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside. Chatham Baroque’s PB&J sessions allow preschool children to actively engage with the music and the musicians through stories, dance, and games as they gain basic musical concepts in a relaxed atmosphere.

March 24: Family Day, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg. Enjoy free admission, art projects, scavenger hunts, and special discounts.

spring guide
The Easter Bunny has planned lots of egg hunts and other fun activities for kids.

March 24-25: Breakfast or Lunch with the Easter Bunny, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Breakfast or lunch buffet followed by an Easter egg hunt, cookie decorating and photos with the Easter Bunny.

March 30: ZooHop to Spring, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. See zoo animals search for treat-filled enrichment eggs hidden in their habitats. The event includes Easter egg hunt, Easter Bunny photos, craft stations, and other activities.

March 31: Easter Eggstravaganza, Frick, Frick Arts & Historical Center. Families with kids of all ages will enjoy traditional Easter egg rolling, along with an Easter egg hunt on the Frick grounds. Photo booths, face painting, snacks and prizes.

March 31: Easter Egg Geocaching, Venture Outdoors, North Park. Family-friendly Easter adventure involves a special mission to find hidden treasures and learn about the hand-held GPS units used to locate Easter eggs. Fee includes a GPS rental.

March 31: Bunny Fun, Gateway Clipper Fleet, Station Square. Hop onboard an afternoon riverboat cruise with the kids and meet the Easter Bunny. Enjoy music and dancing and treats.

March 31: Super Science Saturday: Egg-cellent Egg Hunt, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Oakland. Follow clues that lead to treats, and meet live springtime animals. Designed for ages 3–10.

March 25: Duquesne Light Community Day, Carnegie Science Center. Free general admission and parking, plus a movie in the Rangos Giant Cinema.

March 29-April 1: PAW Patrol Live, Benedum Center. In “The Great Pirate Adventure,” it’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration – but first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern.

April 4: Mummenschanz in you & me, Byham Theater. Swiss-based theater troupe creates a playful yet compelling experience through the inventive use of shadow, light and creative manipulation of objects while reviving the historic tradition of acrobatics.

April 5-8: “Disney’s High School Musical,” New Hazlett Theater. This series combines kids in the Richard E. Rauh Conservatory with professional talent from Pittsburgh Musical Theater for a rousing fun time.

April 6-8: Tekko 2018, David Lawrence Convention Center. This Japanese pop culture event features cosplay, music, anime, and gaming.

spring guide
Favorite tales are covered in “Dragons Love Tacos and Other Stories.”

April 10-16: Dragons Love Tacos and Other Stories, Byham Theater and area schools. When a boy throws his new dragon friends a spicy salsa taco party, red-hot trouble ensues.

April 13: Medieval Science Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Take a step back in time and discover the cutting-edge science of the Middle Ages. Sleepovers include a movie in the Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

April 14: Second Saturday Studios, Frick Art & Historical Center. Natural connections: use art and nature together to create a masterpiece

April 14: Jammie Jam, Carnegie Science Center.  Take a step back in time and discover the cutting-edge science of the Middle Ages. Sleepovers include a movie in the Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

April 14: “Imagination Destination,” Heinz Hall. This sensory-friendly performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will explore music, art, technology, and creativity.

April 14: Wild Kratts Live, Benedum Center. While the brothers activate some fan- favorite Creature Power Suits, Zach and his Zachbots steal one of the Wild Kratts team’s most important inventions, and they are off “To the Creature Rescue!”

spring guide
Everybody dance now! Kids are not likely to stay in their seats for this lively show.

April 15: Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour, Benedum Center. Sing along to Disney Junior’s greatest hits with Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia The First, and Puppy Dog Pals.

April 21: Earth Rocks! Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center.  Celebrate Earth Day by discovering some amazing features that make our home planet special. Sleepovers include a movie in the Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

April 27: It’s Electric Sleepover: Carnegie Science Center. Prepare to be shocked by all of the illuminating, hair-raising, and buzzworthy things you can do with electricity. Play a piano made of fruit, light up a Play-Doh creation, and explore paper circuits. Sleepovers include a movie in the Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

May 2-10: Second Grade Schooltime: “Meet the Orchestra,” Heinz Hall. Join the Pittsburgh Symphony in an exploration of the instruments and families of the orchestra, as well as the role of the conductor on a musical journey through the colorful sounds of the symphony.

spring guide
Kennywood opens the season with a complete Thomas Town starring Thomas the Train.

May 5: Opening Day at Kennywood Park. New attractions this year include Thomas Town, featuring four new family rides based on characters from the beloved children’s program, a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine traveling on a redesigned Olde Kennywood Railroad, new games and stage show, plus a Birthdays and Special Events Pavilion.

May 5-6: Hands-On History Days: Old Economy Village, Ambridge. This event brings history to life for visitors of all ages who can try their hand at 19th-century crafts, trades, and games.

May 6: Children’s Heritage Day, Depreciation Lands Museum, Hampton.    Storyteller Robin Moore will share stories from the Pennsylvania frontier and demonstrations of old-time living skills, including hands-on activities.

May 9: Hop Into History: Super Fans: Heinz History Center. Play and show your team spirit for Pittsburgh teams in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and make a souvenir to take home. Hands-on session designed for ages 2-5.

May 11-13: Daniel Tiger’s Weekend, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Chartiers. Welcome Daniel Tiger from the hit PBS KIDS series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” to the museum. Activities include a PBS Kids outreach table, children’s games, and free refreshments.

May 11: Robot Roundup – Girls Night, Carnegie Science Center. Visit with R2D2, Gort, and Robby while getting hands-on with robots of all shapes and sizes. Assemble robots with Cubelets, navigate Sphero and BB-8 through obstacle courses, and carry out space missions with Lego Mindstorm EV3’s.

May 12: Second Saturday Studios, Frick Art & Historical Center. Paper Explosion: Families explore different and unusual materials or find fresh new ways to use familiar paper, paint, and pencils.

spring guide
The entire Girl Scout family — from Daisies and Brownies to Juniors and Cadettes — is invited to a special day at the Fort Pitt Museum.

May 12: Girl Scout Day, Fort Pitt Museum. Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes are invited to enjoy a full day at the Fort Pitt Museum to learn about early Pittsburgh and women in the 18th century.

May 12: Fiddlesticks Outdoor Overtures, Heinz Hall. Discover the music of the great outdoors with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing Copland’s Hoe Down, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, and Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite.

May 17-20: EQT Children’s Theater Festival, Downtown. Live performances from professional, international artists engage children of all ages from different cultures and perspectives, showing them different ways to express ideas with exciting performances, free activities, and family-friendly art. Theatrical performances include The Rainbow Fish, Panda’s Home, Terrance Simien, The Young King, Poggle and  Sunjata Kamalenya.

May 17-25: Remake Learning Days. Kids experience hands-on, technology-infused, and relevant learning fun in neighborhoods across southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

May 18: Mad Science Sleepover, Carnegie Science Center. Channel your inner Mad Scientist as you try your hand at some spectacular science experiments. Become a chemist for the night as you carry out colorful chemical reactions that bubble, fizz, and even glow! Sleepovers include a movie in The Rangos Giant Cinema, live shows, themed activities, evening snack, continental breakfast, and admission to the Science Center the next day.

May 19-Sept. 9: Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The exhibit combines exciting play opportunities with STEM concepts as visitors explore the Island of Sodor surrounded by the island’s iconic locations, including Knapford Station and the Sodor Steamworks.

May 20: Ultimate Play Day, August Wilson Park, Hill District. A celebration of playfulness for people of all ages. Hosted by the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, the event invites people from throughout the Pittsburgh region to raise awareness of the benefits of play for everyone.

May 20: Opening Day at Idlewild Park. Attractions include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”, SoakZone water park and Story Book Forest. Open weekends and Memorial Day through June 1 when daily operations begin.

spring guide
The story of “Cinderella” is presented in a magical Broadway musical.

May 22-27: “Cinderella,” Heinz Hall. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Broadway musical features the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more – plus some surprising new twists. A PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh production.

May 26: Discovery Garden Day, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Enjoy a day of hands-on, sensory fun for the whole family, featuring games, potting stations and crafts covering a variety of nature-inspired topics.

What is a computer camp, really? (And why should your child attend one?)

Kidsburgh Sponsor
March09/ 2018

This article is sponsored content from iDTech.

The “computer camp.” Sure, the name is accurate…it’s a summer camp—with computers. But in much of the same way that an outdoor camp takes place outdoors, there is actually much more going on that the name doesn’t imply. 

So then, what is a computer camp? 

Well, underneath the misunderstood labeling lies a summer opportunity offering skill-building in some of the most in-demand, lucrative career areas your child might ever experience. A place where kids learn to code, design video games, mod Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, print 3D characters, work with AI, build laptops, and more.

Who would have thought? 

Here are a few other things you probably assumed computer camp was…so you can replace your old definition with all of the magnificence of what computer camp actually is.

1. No, computer camps don’t take place in dungeons.

Let’s face it, you hear “computer camp” and you can’t help but think about dark and dingy; with the only light in the place provided by illuminated monitors or perhaps a crack in the doorway. I get it.

But, it’s a flat out falsity. 

The computer is merely a piece of equipment in what would otherwise resemble the camp you’re used to seeing. Music is blaring, kids are laughing and socializing; games are being played. Outdoor time and exercise are normal and encouraged. Yes, it all happens at computer camp.

It’s summer camp after all. There are just more wires and screens. 

2. And no, computer camps are not only attended by geeky boys.

First of all, “geek” is greatly misunderstood in its own right. If it’s considered “geeky” to be curious and impassioned about a topic; and/or dedicated to a craft with an unwavering attention to detail, then sign me up. 

Secondly, a camp like iD Tech holds a camper population comprised of 25% girls. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a number that is increasing every summer. Heard of Alexa Café? It’s a “computer camp” (for an obvious lack of a better term) specifically designed to empower girls in STEM. 

Thus, computer camps are for anyone who wants to stop simply consuming technology and instead figure out what makes it all tick…so that they can innovate on their own.

3. Last, you’re way off—computer camp is nothing like school.

Instead, it’s about personalized learning; iD Tech boasts guaranteed small classes of just 5-10 students per instructor. Such learning ends with students walking away from their courses with a completed project—not homework. And instead of being lectured to, students work hands-on, and regularly collaborate. (Or, they can work on their own, at their own pace. The point is that it’s up to them and not dictated by anyone else). Plus, there are no grades or tests. Just fun and valuable STEM skill-building. 

Given all of that, why should your student attend?

Because where else can your child spend part of their summer exploring a prestigious campus, making friends as they master new tech skills, and ultimately join a community of 350,000 alumni? 

Only at iD Tech, the original computer camp, and now #1 summer tech program on the planet. With world-class instructors and innovative courses in coding, game development, robotics, and design, our programs instill in-demand skills that embolden students to shape the future. Find us at 150+ locations nationwide, including Carnegie Mellon, Villanova, and others.

Exclusive to Kisdburgh readers, receive $75 off when you register with code KIDSBURGH18 before 5/31/18! Visit www.idtech.com or call (888) 709-8324. Get started at www.iDTech.com.

Kristine Sorensen
March08/ 2018

Two local girls are seeing their dreams come true.  They’re cast in the Broadway touring production of the musical “Waitress” while it plays here in Pittsburgh through Sunday.  The show tells the story of Jenna, who’s in a bad relationship with the father of her new baby, Lulu.  That baby grows up to be the little girl played by 4-year-old Ainsley Christof from Ben Avon and 6-year-old Camlyn Reace from Pine Township.

They auditioned with 60 local girls.  Christof says she wanted to do the show because “I thought it would be fun.”  Reace said, “because I thought it would be a dream for me.”  She says it’s her dream to sing, dance and act.

Once they got the role, they watched video of their part and memorized their two lines — “Hi momma” and “a lot”. Reace rehearsed with the cast for the very first time just a few hours before the show.  “It’s kind of hard,” she said before the rehearsal, “but I think it’s going to be easy for me… because I do a lot of singing and acting and dancing.”

Desi Oakley, who plays Lulu’s mom, loves acting with new girls from each city.  “Every little girl is so different, and they bring this element of youth and excitement to our show and newness,” she said.  Reace says she is, “super super super super excited!”.

Oakley says they guide the little actress on stage but that by the second show, she’s usually an expert.  “I think it’s exposing them to this world, and not lightly. This is a professional Broadway show. The caliber they are coming into is huge, so it’s definitely something I hope will shape their lives.  Whether they go into theater or not, it’s going to shape them for sure.”

She thinks this is probably just the beginning of a stage career for many of these little girls, and once they hear that applause, it’s easy to see why.

Even though the girls are in the show, “Waitress” is for mature audiences and not appropriate for most children, but if your child is interested in musical theater, Kidsburgh has many resources, including a Guide to 7 Time-Tested Pittsburgh Theaters.

10 great STEM summer camps for Pittsburgh kids

Candy Williams
March07/ 2018

Above photo: Safety goggles are a good idea during Wreck-It-Camp. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

For kids who just can’t seem to get enough of STEM studies at school, there are many opportunities to dig deeper into science, technology, engineering and math at summer camps. These STEM camps will keep kids’ attention while challenging their intellect.


Sometimes the only thing more fun than building up is knocking down. Carnegie Museum of Natural History offers Wreck-It-Camp July 16-20 for kids ages 6-7. The camp is all about how nature builds things up and tears them down. Kids will delve into the science of decomposition, exploring how structures as diverse as plants, animals, and ancient architecture all eventually break apart. They’ll compete in a design challenge to figure out why pyramids last. And they’ll experiment with physics and chemistry to explore the forces that shape Earth’s surface — and smash it up.

summer camps
Makeshop Camp brings out the inventor in creative kids. Photo by Christopher Sprowls

Makeshop Camp

Kids with a knack for turning gizmos and gadgets into really cool creations will have a blast at Makeshop Camp from July 31-Aug. 3 at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Young inventors from ages 7-10 will explore circuitry, animation, weaving and building with recycled materials. Plus, there will be plenty of time for museum exhibits and outdoor activities.

summer camps
Self-driving Optibot designers road-test their mini-vehicles. Photo courtesy of Camp Invention

Camp Invention’s Fast Forward

The world of robotic technology comes alive for kids in grades 1-6 at Camp Invention’s Fast Forward program. In the week-long camps held in 18 schools in and around Pittsburgh, campers will design their own self-driving Optibot that senses changes in light, build tracks for their mini-vehicles to follow and explore impact sensors using a small-scale crash test dummy. In a ‘Mod My Mini Mansion’ component, they’ll dream up a futuristic smart home filled with gadgets, LEDs and technology.

summer camps
Campers do some exploring at Powdermill Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History

Eco Rangers

Conservation-minded kids can become Eco Rangers for a week at a camp offered by Carnegie Mellon University Center for Architecture Explorations and Carnegie Museums. Powdermill Nature Reserve is the setting for Eco Ranger adventures from July 16-20 for ages 9-12. Campers will focus on conservation science as they hike to an avian research center and create designs to protect birds from colliding with windows. They’ll explore Powdermill Run, an exceptional-value stream, build a model watershed and screen-print an endangered animal T-shirt. A field trip to Carnegie Museum of Natural History is part of the fun.

summer camps
Campers look for clues to decode a new mystery at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Photo by Paul G. Wiegman

Rockin’ Researchers Decode Nature

Campers will become science sleuths as they unravel a new mystery every day while investigating fish, birds and insects during Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ Rockin’ Researchers Decode Nature summer camp Aug. 13-17. All that detailed detective work can make a kid hungry, so the new camp for ages 6-10 features a healthy lunch prepared with Let’s Move Pittsburgh each day.

summer camps
A new challenge awaits these drone pilots-in-training. Photo courtesy of JCC of Greater Pittsburgh

Drone Flying Camp

It’s the latest craze to take flight with young aviators. JCC of Greater Pittsburgh is offering four camps this summer to teach kids the basics of drone technology and start them on the path to safe take-offs. Intro to Drone Flying Missions for kids in grades 1-2 will be held July 9-13 in Squirrel Hill. Campers will use iPad flight simulators to learn the basics and safety tips before taking to the air. The week culminates with Ultimate Drone Games that include Tic-Tac-Drone, Drone Darts, and Duck-Duck-Drone. Advanced classes will challenge older kids with drone coding and superhero drone games.

summer camps
Carnegie Science Investigators taking a really good look. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center


Kids ages 10-11 can put their detective skills to the test as they analyze evidence and solve mysteries as CSI Carnegie Science Investigators. Campers will hone their powers of observation and deductive skills, and then step into the Science Center’s new laboratory to carry out chemical tests, identify microscopic clues and perform DNA analysis to solve mysteries. Two sessions are offered: June 18-22 and Aug. 6-10.

summer camps
Assemble students design and film their own stop-motion animations. Photo courtesy of Assemble

We Have the Power

Does your 6- or 7-year-old have a personality with spark? Assemble offers We Have the Power, a summer camp running July 16-20, for just those kinds of kids! Through hands-on activities, campers learn all about different types of power – from electricity to the energy in our bodies to people power that changes our world. Projects will include circuit block inventions and body-positive snack science.

summer camps
A camper observes a few feathered friends. Photo courtesy of The National Aviary

National Aviary Teen Week

Older kids ages 13-16 can connect with nature, meet beautiful birds up-close and learn about veterinary science during The National Aviary’s Teen Week summer camps July 30-Aug. 3 and Aug. 6-10. Teens will explore birds’ free-flight habitats, work among flocks of lorikeets, flamingos and penguins, and prep meals for the birds alongside aviculturists. Kids have a chance to travel to a natural habitat and take birding hikes through Allegheny Commons for nature photography or sketching.

summer camps
The University of Pittsburgh Computer Science Department hosts high school kids in an intense computer boot camp.

Pitt Technology Leadership Initiative

The Computer Science Department of the University of Pittsburgh offers this free summer intensive for high school kids running June 25-July 11. Kids entering grades 8-12 can apply even if they have no experience. The camp will provide the tools, motivation and opportunity to navigate the world of computer science. They will work with big data, mobile apps, web design and opportunity systems. The project-based curriculum will produce an end result each week, with parents invited at the program’s end to see their kid’s final project. Check the website for the application process and deadlines.