This article first appeared in Kidsburgh.org, a media partner of NEXTpittsburgh. Sign up here for Kidsburgh’s free newsletter filled with local resources and expert advice on raising healthy, thriving kids in southwestern PA.
It’s that time of year, when Pittsburgh kids and their families can do everything from building robots and directing movies to exploring the outdoors, making their own music, printing their inventions with a 3-D printer and more. From May 12-23, hands-on Remake Learning Days events will be happening throughout the Pittsburgh region.
These events help kids discover things they’re passionate about and help families discover learning resources throughout their neighborhood and in the wider community. Places like the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Schell Games, Contemporary Craft and many more will be opening their doors to local families for workshops, performances and all kinds of hands-on learning experiences.
The best part? Remake Learning Days events invite parents and other caregivers to learn alongside the kids they’re raising. And that changes lives: After surveying hundreds of attendees at past Remake Learning Days events in the Pittsburgh region, the Global Family Research Project (GFRP) found that family engagement in STEAM learning makes students more likely to succeed academically, more likely to take advanced STEAM courses, and more likely to pursue STEAM-related careers.
This year, there’s plenty of STEAM learning available during Remake Learning Days, along with events focusing on the arts, outdoor learning and youth voice. Here are the details:
There are more than 175 events scheduled (nearly all of them free) at locations all around the region, from K-12 schools and universities to museums, arts centers, libraries, nonprofit locations like Boys and Girls Clubs, and many other places.
There are also lots of special guests joining in from around the country. During a series of free Wonder With Us events, kids and parents can meet and talk with remarkable people including rocket scientist Sylvia Acevedo, Elinor Wonders Why co-creator Jorge Cham and Coy Bowles, a guitarist, keyboardist, singer and songwriter for the Zac Brown Band.
Where can you find Remake Learning Days events?
Searching is easy on the remakelearningdays.org website. Click here to search for events based on your location or dates, or a keyword like “bugs” or “story time” or “sew.”
What kinds of events are happening?
With more than 175 events scheduled, there is so much happening. Just a few ideas: On May 12 at 5:30 p.m., learners of all ages can discover the fun of coding at Norwin School District. Then on May 14, the Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books happens throughout the day, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in East Liberty. This event gives families the chance to explore what it takes to make a book by using antique letterpresses, decorate cartoneras, and work with Braille machines to better understand readers with visual impairments.
That same day, the Heinz History Center hosts Neighborhood Stories, where kids and their grownups can discover stories about local neighborhoods through art-making, green screen photography, scavenger hunts and more. Then on Monday, May 16, visit WQED Steeltown Digital Media Create Night, which offers a hands-on media playground for middle and high school students. May 18 brings Family Engineering Night at South Fayette School District, where kids in grades 2-5 can work together with their parents to plan and build a unique Cardboard Creation and then spend time trying out their project.
There’s outdoor fun planned for May 19 during the Garden Treasures + Scavenger Hunt at the YMCA Lighthouse Project, where kids in grades K-6 can go on a scavenger hunt in Miss Mary’s garden and find hidden treasures to create a new piece of art. And on May 20, Assemble is hosting a Learning Party all about Afrofuturism, so that Pittsburghers of all ages can learn about BIPOC people from around the world doing incredible things in the past and present, while dreaming and planning the future.
May 21 brings a ton of events, including May Madness for grades 3-8, hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and a Mental Health Block Party hosted by the Staunton Farm Foundation, with live performances, education about mental health, free food, an art exhibit coming from Maine focusing on youth voice and more. And the fun continues on Sunday, May 22, with Papermaking for all ages at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
What about virtual events?
You can search for in-person or virtual events. There are lots to choose from, including hundreds of free classes, workshops and other events happening virtually throughout the country. This year more than 1,400 events are planned nationwide, from California to Florida, and so many cities in between. Festivals have already begun in places like San Diego, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
What if you can’t wait until May 12?
Some local and virtual events are happening even before the Remake Learning Days festival officially kicks off in our region on May 12. This weekend at the Sarah Heinz House you can attend the Super Science event, where kids will learn about the science behind their favorite superheroes and villains. Elementary and middle schoolers can make kryptonite slime, learn about the force of a Hulk smash and test “indestructible” Wolverine claws.
Like so many Remake Learning Days events happening around the country, this event came about through collaboration. Along with folks from the Sarah Heinz House, the event was created with help from Citizen Science Lab, New Dimension Comics, STEM Coding Lab and 501st Starkiller Garrison.