The new year breaks open with lots of cool things to do with kids. Once again, Pittsburgh organizations rise to the challenge to create exciting encounters, intellectual diversions and the kind of entertainment that will knock your socks off. While many events remain virtual in nature, fun in-person activities come back into play. Make plans for these top 11 January events for kids in Pittsburgh.
1. Early Bird Feels: Wishes, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: Jan. 3
The Children’s Museum continues its Early Bird Feels series in 2021, focusing on New Year Wishes. In the virtual workshop designed for ages 3-6, kids will make wishing wands, then wave those wishes out to the world. The wands are made from a variety of basic supplies likely to be in your house. The session is a lovely way to promote bonding and socialization between little ones and their grownups. Registration is $10. Wishes are free!
2. Virtual January Community Day, Westmoreland Museum of American Art: Jan. 3
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s virtual January Community Day gives families lots of ideas for creative fun. Paint a watercolor portrait, remake a greeting card by upcycling household materials and build a DIY stuffed animal. Access the video instructions and activities, like the BOOM Jam Puppet Slam, at 10 a.m. Jan. 3. You’ll also find lists of supplies needed to follow along with the hands-on happenings. Registration is free.
3. Laser Galactic Odyssey and Laser Queen, Carnegie Science Center: Jan. 4-31
The Carnegie Science Center reopens with two dazzling laser shows in its newly renovated Buhl Planetarium. In Laser Galactic Odyssey, the full-dome laser show is choreographed to cosmic-themed music like John Williams’ “The Imperial March,” The Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” and Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song.” The Laser Queen show blares sing-along rock hits like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Check the daily calendar for times and dates. Tickets can be added to your general admission or can be purchased separately for a laser show-only visit.
4. Teen SciTALK Series, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Jan. 13, 20 and 27
In each Phipps’ Teen SciTALK session, high school kids meet a pair of scientists in different fields. Kids interested in pursuing studies in science will learn how these professionals approached their fields, their education and career paths. While the speakers explain what it’s like to be a scientist, kids can envision themselves in similar roles. Registration for the three-week virtual program is $65.
5. Afrofuturism: Hair Pride Day Camp, Assemble Pittsburgh: Jan. 18
Kids in grades 3-5 are invited to participate in Assemble’s Afrofuturism: Hair Pride Day Camp to celebrate curls, kinks and coils. Part of the Black culture programming examines the Crown Act legislation that will make it illegal to discriminate because of hairstyle. Registration is $20, with some $10 scholarships available, including a material kit pickup on Jan.15. The session is free for Garfield residents.
6. Young Chef Thrive Cooking Academy series, Phipps Conservatory: Jan. 19, 26 and Feb 2
These skills will benefit kids for a lifetime of healthy cooking. Phipps’ Plant Power cooking series for ages 10-14 will introduce young chefs to basic knife skills and culinary dexterity with a dash of nutrition. Chef Emily Larsen’s three Zoom classes cover plant-based Protein Basics with creative tofu prep; a Local Roots session starring root vegetables and dipping sauce; and a Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs entree. Grownups will receive a grocery list before each class. The three-week series costs $65 per household, which allows siblings to learn and cook together. Register here.
7. Hot Cocoa Hike, Schenley Park: Jan. 23
Pull on mittens and wrap mufflers over masks for an easy 2- to 3-mile hike through Schenley Park. Venture Outdoors hosts the Hot Cocoa Hike, where families can spot deer, birds and natural winter beauty. The invigorating outing ends with warm mugs of cocoa topped with marshmallows. Registration is $8 for grownups, $5 for kids, $20 for the whole family.