Photo by Rachellynn Schoen.

Senator John Heinz History Center
Saturdays through May 31
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This Saturday, turn off those cartoons and head to The Senator John Heinz History Center for a day filled with giant games, life-sized toys and full-on fun for children of all ages.

Photo by Rachellynn Schoen.

If your family missed opening day for the new exhibition, Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s–on view at the Strip District-based destination through May 31st–you’ve got plenty of chances to take a hands-on trip through time and introduce your kids to games of the past and present.

On April 16th–and every Saturday through May 28th–the History Center’s spacious Great Hall will be transformed into a bustling Game Hall during “Toys Takeover,” as larger-than-life versions of classic games and toys come alive for kids, teens and families.

Test your physical and mental skills playing giant Jenga (named for the Swahili word meaning “build”), as you take turns carefully removing one block at a time from a tall tower constructed of 54 blocks (hint: try hard to keep the structure stable and balanced!).

Photo by Rachellynn Schoen.

Next, become a Connect Four master as you and a partner take turns dropping colored discs into a vertically suspended, seven-column, six-row grid. Compete with your opponent as you attempt to connect four discs of the same color next to each other vertically, horizontally or even diagonally.

Ready to yell “checkmate!?” Hone important life skills such as logic, memory and collaboration during exhilarating rounds of chess–the iconic game played by millions of amateurs and professionals alike around the globe. Concentrate hard as you maneuver everyone’s favorite king, queen, rooks, knights, bishops, and pawns across a checkered board featuring 64 squares and an eight-by-eight grid.

Photo by Rachellynn Schoen.

Be sure to pop into the new exhibition, Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, to see hundreds of vintage toys. Located on the first floor, the 8,000-square-foot exhibition also features interactive displays, life-size games, hands-on play areas, and a toys trivia game. Don’t miss the Smithsonian artifacts, such as a 1950s Mr. Potato Head, a 1970s Digi-Comp1 computer game, and hands-on replicas of plastic bowling pins, Nerf footballs and hula hoops. Kids and families can even play classic retro games like Hungry Hippos and Rock’em Sock’em Robots, race Slinkys down a staircase and step into a 1960s-era living room modeled after a Barbie Dreamhouse.

Toys Takeover runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is included with regular museum admission.

Looking for more fun with retro toys? On Wednesday, April 13th, the Center will host the children’s program, Hop into History: Toy Time, from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in April and our 8 great family adventures in Pittsburgh in April features.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...