“Remake Learning” Activities with the Sprout Fund

The Sprout Fund is partnering with several local organizations to create educational projects about the environment and sustainable living.  Some highlights: making bean seed germination necklaces with Grow Pittsburgh, creating animal habitats using natural materials with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, seeing a full-scale windmill and then building a smaller model with the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, building hydroponic growing systems with the South Fayette School District, and many more.

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse’s “Reuse-A-Palooza”

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse brings a gigantic collection of reclaimed craft materials to the festival for its “Reuse-A-Palooza,”  where children can learn about recycling/reuse while creating their own works of art.

Friday, June 6th-Sunday, June 15th; 12-6pm; Giant Eagle Creativity Zone

Zoo Beats

Zoo Beats is an interactive experience for 2 to 5-year olds designed by WYEPElectric Owl Studios, and the Sprout Fund.  Kids can experiment with sound creation and music-making in portable kiosks.

Friday, June 6th-Friday, June 13th, 12-6pm, Giant Eagle Creativity Zone

TRAF also offers interactive activities that specifically expose kids to different art media.  For example, children can take a turn at the potter’s wheel with the Union Project, learn about mosaic-building with the Pittsburgh Glass Center, try their hand at calligraphy with the Calligraphy Guild of Pittsburgh,  create jewelry with the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and make paper with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Another “Must See”

The Miniature Marina

During TRAF, the Fountain at One Gateway Center is transformed into a Miniature Marina filled with small model sailboats. Children can use wooden pushing rods to sail their boats, while parents can relax on nearby park benches or shop in the adjoining Artist Market.

Friday, June 6th-Sunday, June 15th; 12-6pm; Hertz Gateway Center Plaza

Miniature Marina, photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Last-Minute Tips

Here are a few other tips from a seasoned festival-goer/parent:

If you lose your bearings, head toward Point State Park where the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone is located.  This space contains most of the kid-friendly activities at the Festival.

If you are concerned about parking in Downtown Pittsburgh, consider alternative modes of transportation, such as the subway, bus, or your bikes. The Festival is even offering complimentary valet bike parking!

Your kids may surprise you.  Last year, my children really enjoyed some of the musical performances and visual art displays geared more toward adults. My suggestion? Expand your visit beyond the traditional”kid-friendly” parts of the Festival. Wander through the Artisan Market, listen to some bluegrass, build a collaborative art project, veg out on a park bench, run around Point State Park, dance. Feel proud that Pittsburgh offers such a unique and impressive showcase of its creative talent–for all ages.