By Christine Mouser
Let’s face it. Most kids aren’t exactly fans of Social Studies homework or those crazy Algebra equations. They don’t choose their own classes, so the enthusiasm may not be there. But if you want to find a way to get your child excited about learning without all the mounds of homework and projects, take a look at this guide to some amazing, local classes that packs appeal to just about every kid out there.
Credit: The Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Public Market, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Museum of Art and Schoolhouse Yoga each compiled their own list of classes.
Robotics Workshop (Ages 10-12): Can robots help clean your room AND play basketball? Get up close with some binary beings in roboworld™ and learn about how they were designed and built. Build a robot and then take command! (Carnegie Science Center-Sun, April 1st 2012 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; $36 members/$40 non-members)
Produce Terminal Building
Hours: Fridays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Farm-to-Table Kids’ Activities (all ages): Learn how to engage children in the garden through hands-on experiences for kids and adults. Lunch included. Pre-registration is required via the Market. Limited to 40 participants. (Pittsburgh Public Market-Fri, March 9th & 16th 2012; free)
Exotic Eats: Rebecca Gilbert of Yummyplants hosts a “get to know your fruits and veggies class” for kids, featuring day-to-day fruits and veggies like cantaloupe & apple, as well as some exotic treats like mango, papaya, pomegranate, dragonfruit and others. Limited to 25 participants. Pre-register via the Market. (Pittsburgh Public Market-Sun, March 25th 2012 from 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.; $2/person)
Make Your Own Pasta (children 12+ or younger ones assisted by adults): Learn how pasta was made in the old days, and make some yourself! Hand-crank pasta machines will be on-site for use. Limited to 20 participants. Pre-register via the Market. (Pittsburgh Public Market-Sat, March 31st 2012 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; $10/person or $15/2 people)
Cook Together (ages 6-12, plus parent): This new program will give parents and children a unique opportunity to cook a family-style, healthy meal together. The meal consists of tomato soup with croutons, turkey risotto and grilled fruit. (Gaynor’s School of Cooking-Sat, March 17 at 3 p.m.; $50 for 1 parent and 1 child
Wearable Art Saturdays (ages 5-7): Disguise yourself as a painting and blend into the museum’s collection. Learn about printmaking and silkscreen a T-shirt. Create a wearable sculpture to show off to your friends and family on the last day of class. (Carnegie Museum of Art-Saturdays, April 28th -May 19th 2012 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. OR 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.; $49 members/$57 nonmembers for FOUR sessions)
Comics and Cartoons Saturdays (8-10): Find humor and stories in art! Get inspiration from characters and settings in the museum’s collection, and then develop your own ideas into characters and a comic strip to share with family and friends. (Carnegie Museum of Art-Saturdays, April 28th -May 19th 2012 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. OR 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.; $49 members/$57 nonmembers for FOUR sessions)
Grandma’s “ARTtic” (ages 7-10): Explore trunks full of treasures from Grandma’s Attic and create and recreate sculptures made from unwanted fabrics, trinkets, and surprise materials while tinkering with how structures stand up and stay together and how parts move! Pre-registration required via the Market. Maximum of 10 children. (Pittsburgh Public Market– Sat, March 17th 2012 from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.; $8/child)
Yoga for Kids (ages 4-8 & 8-12): Schoolhouse Yoga offers two weekly yoga classes for kids. The classes combine the use of traditional yoga poses and ideas with playful, creative exercises. The goal is to help build confidence and self esteem, as well as teach children to connect their bodies, thoughts and feelings. These classes run through May 2012 (Shadyside location, ages 8-12-Mondays from 5 p.m. – 5:50; Squirrel Hill location, ages 4-8-Wednesdays from 5 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.; $10/class or $80/12 classes.
Mornings at the Museum: J is for Jar (ages 5-13): The J is for Jar session contains a collection of jars that preserve natural specimens such as reptiles, insects, and birds! Recycle jars to create a mini-ecosystem, a temporary bug house, and to analyze backyard biodiversity by setting up a pitfall trap. One jar per participant is provided. Bring more jars from home if you want to take home several projects. Register by April 17. (Carnegie Museum of Natural History-Sat, April 28 from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Non-Members, $26 per adult/child pair. Additional guests $11 each (up to two per adult/child pair)
Learn and Glow (ages 3-5 with adult helper): If a firefly can glow, why can’t I? Learn why certain insects and animals can glow and the science of luminescence. Then, make some glow creations of your very own. (Carnegie Science Center-Thurs, March 22 from 11 a.m. 12 p.m.; nonmembers, $12)
Springtime in the Italian Garden: Hosted by the Italian Garden Project, this class will center around life for a young person in early 20th century Italy. The focus will be on seeds and seed-starting and the importance of creating a good soil. Pre-register via the Market. (Pittsburgh Public Market-Sat, April 28 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; Nominal fee)
Congas for Kids: Drums! Drums! Drums! (ages 6-13) : An interactive demonstration on interesting hand percussion instruments from around the world (congos, bongos, cajon, djembe, etc.). The clinic will be hosted by local professional percussionist, composer, and music educator Vince Wallace. Pre-register via the Market. (Pittsburgh Public Market– Sat, April 14th 2012 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; $20/child; some scholarship money available)
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.