We all welcome the return of outdoor activities that challenge and energize kids. There is plenty of fun indoor entertainment, too, for those days when April showers keep us inside.
1. Sound All Around Fidd Kits, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Through April 16
Since kids can’t visit Fiddlesticks at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) concerts, their mascot is sending music appreciation to kids. To help make that happen, the PSO created a series of Fidd Kits for ages 3-8. The current theme, Sound All Around, helps kids recognize the music that surrounds them in their daily lives. Each kit is stuffed with craft supplies, instrument trading cards, an activity book and concession stand recipes. The deadline to order the $10 Fidd Kit is April 16.
2. Allegheny County Family Drive-in Movie Series, Boyce and Settlers Cabin parks: April 2-May 22
Yippee! The entertaining lineup of Allegheny County’s free drive-in movies sets the tone for the season. Beginning with “Hop,” the schedule includes other PG-rated family favorites like “Tangled,” “Zootopia” and “Up.” Pack blankets and snacks for a cozy evening with showtimes set for dusk on Fridays at Boyce Park and Saturdays at Settlers Cabin Park. Ekernally Yours will be on hand at both locations selling popcorn, candy and other treats. Place your order online and receive a text when your order is ready for pickup. Easy peasy!
3. Let’s Move Pittsburgh Playful Pop-up Series, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: April 7, 14, 21, 28
Wiggly fidgety kids will have a ball in these energetic Playful Pop-up sessions from Let’s Move Pittsburgh and Phipps. The weekly series engages kids ages 5-8 and their grownups in virtual programming that combines education with movement and games. Subjects range from learning about pollinators and forest animals to butterflies and exotic birds. Playful Pop-up ends with a glorious Full Bloom Ballet session that’s sure to entertain. Registration for the complete four-week series is $28.
4. Environmental STEM Course, Venture Outdoors: April 8, 15, 22
Venture Outdoors’ Outdoor Learning Lab invites kids in grades 3 to 5 to its Environmental STEM Course. The three-session program includes weekly online instruction and offline projects for immersion in backyard fun. Kids will receive material kits for STEM experiments, nature crafts and outdoor educational activities. Grownup involvement will go a long way toward a more enriching experience. Parents will receive weekly supplemental Family Challenges, too. Registration is $35 for the three-week course.
5. Fledglings Program, Succop Nature Park and Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve: April 8 and 13
Human fledglings ages 3 to 5 are welcome to join this monthly Audubon Society program that launches little ones onto a lifetime of outdoor adventure. A new theme is presented each month with Bunny Hop in April, followed by You Little Stinker in May and Dragonfly Jewels in June. The Fledgling session on April 8 takes place at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Succop Nature Park hosts the program on April 13. Tickets are $6 for kids older than 2. Browse the Audubon calendar for lots more open-air family outings.
6. Reopening of the PNC Carousel, Schenley Plaza: April 9
It’s a sure sign of spring when the PNC Carousel‘s 16 creatures begin their circular jaunt in Schenley Plaza. Kids can choose their favorite creature from the likes of a sea dragon, dolphin and giraffe. This season, animals will be sanitized between rides, masks are required for kids older than 2, and informational markers will help riders maintain social distancing while standing in line. Each ride requires a $2 token, purchased on-site, or buy a $60 family season pass that’s good for two adults and up to four kids. All 2020 passes will also be honored. The Victorian-style carousel will operate from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
7. Miracle in Rwanda, Prime Stage: April 10-26
Prime Stage Theatre partners with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh to produce “Miracle in Rwanda,” a powerful tale of overcoming incredible hardship. The play is based on the life of Immaculée Ilibagiza, the New York Times bestselling author of “Left to Tell,” who survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Despite its tragic nature, the play offers an uplifting message of forgiveness and compassion. Rwandan actress and social justice activist Malaika Uwamahoro takes on the starring role in this one-woman play that’s best for kids from middle school to adults. A variety of study and activity guides are available. Catch the talkback discussion following the opening night performance on April 10. Buy tickets here.
8. STEMtacular, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania: April 10, 13, 20, 27
April is the last month to take advantage of United Way’s free Be STEMtacular Summit, in operation since mid-January. The hands-on STEM activities excite kids in grades 5-12 who love gizmos, gadgetry and design. With the remaining sessions, kids will make a pom-pom launcher while investigating kinetic energy, take a master class in social media photography, plus record and edit videos. The final program focuses on finding your brand to build your following. Register here to save your virtual seat and receive the Zoom link.
9. Go Ape! reopening, North Park: April 17
Kids who relish physical challenges and high-flying adventures will be thrilled to learn that Go Ape! opens for the season on April 17. This forest canopy course takes adventurers through 39 obstacles, including tree-to-tree crossings, Tarzan swings and zip lines, the longest of which is a screaming 440 feet. Some of the platform elements allow you to choose between easy, advanced or expert levels, which can add more competition among siblings. Minimum age and height requirements are 10 years and 55 inches tall. New this year is a separate Axe Throwing feature. Covid rules include staying one gorilla (6 feet) apart, full-fingered gloves, cashless payments and wearing masks during check-in. Book your treetop adventure here.
10. Celebrate World Book Day with Jasmine Cho, Kidsburgh: April 23
We’ve had great fun following Kidsburgh and Remake Learning Days’ Cookie Table series with the remarkable Jasmine Cho. The programming continues April 23 with a session that celebrates World Book Day. The virtual session includes a reading of the much-loved book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” In the cooking class portion, Cho will share instructions on baking chocolate chip cookies three different ways: Thin and crispy, chewy, and soft and puffy. Once signed up, participants will receive the recipes along with the Zoom link. Registration is free.