August 23, 2023

IPA-USA National Day of Loose Parts Play

The International Play Association-USA chapter presents National Day of Play on September 16, 2023! 

To celebrate this international recognition of the importance of play, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is hosting a special, pop-up play day on Saturday, September 16 at Lytle Land and The Elizabeth Street Parklet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Playful Pittsburgh “IPA-USA National Day of Loose Parts Play” event is a free, family-friendly opportunity for all communities throughout Pittsburgh to enjoy a day of play. The event will focus on embracing loose parts play to highlight how everyday items, such as cardboard boxes, paper tubes, string, and various fabrics can be representative of items from around the world. Using our imagination, we will celebrate cultural differences and similarities of play through a range of activities.

When: Saturday, 9/16 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Lytle Land Park, 5113 Lytle Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15207 (Hazelwood)

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. We know you’ll leave the play day feeling inspired and creative, so the fun can continue wherever your family travels! Loose parts are all around us!

Don’t miss this celebration of play from perspectives around the world!

Partnering Organizations Include:


August 17, 2023

Hazelwood Tree Appreciation Day!

Come to the Hazelwood community in September for a special appreciation event for trees!

Join Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Landforce, Tree Pittsburgh, and Arts Excursions Unlimited on Friday, September 22 as they collectively celebrate the importance of play in nature at Lytle Land and The Elizabeth Street Parklet in Hazelwood.

When: Friday, September 22 | 4 – 6 p.m.

Where: Lytle Land, Hazelwood, 5113 Lytle Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15207

During this appreciation event, participate in a tree walk where you will learn about the life cycle of a tree and a nature scavenger hunt.

This event is FREE and open to the community, and is family-friendly.

For more information, contact Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative at


March 10, 2023

Natural Playscape Makeover! Practical Design Tips for Supporting Child-Directed Play In Natural Spaces on Any Budget

Join Early Childhood Investigations Webinars and Rusty Keeler, natural playscape designer and author, for a fun, interactive, and inspiring webinar focused on helping to inspire attendees to dream and plan their own natural playscape makeovers “in any yard, on any budget”.

Attendees will learn how to add natural elements to support play and, learning, how to assess local resources for free and inexpensive materials, how to tap into the expertise and generosity of your communities, and how to plan a volunteer build day to bring your natural play space dreams to reality.

Rusty Keeler will offer advice to participants on how to improve their yards. If you are interested in being chosen, send pictures of your outdoor space to

Session Details

Thursday, April 20 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Learn More

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recording, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

You can earn .2 CEUs for this webinar. The cost is $15 paid to University of Oklahoma online when you apply.

To learn more, visit the Early Childhood Investigations website.


May 15, 2020

Changes Made to Summer Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic

On May 15, the City of Pittsburgh announced how summer activities will be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While many activities will be allowed, others will be cancelled or postponed. All decisions follow federal and state guidelines.


In a City press release, Mayor William Peduto praised Pittsburgh residents, stating, that “Pittsburgh residents have done a great job during these trying times staying safe and looking out for each other.” However, he recognized that the battle against COVID-19 is far from over, and social distancing and other measures must remain in place to win this fight.

With a larger number of residents venturing outdoors as the weather warms, the City has outlined lists of activities that will or will not be permitted during the pandemic. Decisions on closures and activities may be revisited as pandemic circumstances and federal and state guidelines change.

Permitted Summer Activities

Activities that can safely comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines will be allowed. Permitted activities include the following:

    • Drive-in movies (by the Special Events office)
    • Farmers Markets
    • Pickup of bulk trash
    • Road closures in City parks (more information below)
    • Tennis courts (singles matches encouraged)
    • Pickleball courts (singles matches encouraged)
    • Skate parks
    • Fields (but not for organized group sports)
    • Frisbee Golf
    • Lawn Bowling
    • Bocce
    • Expanded summer food program (likely to begin June 15)

City crews are working to reopen facilities starting May 15 and will continue their work into next week. Drive-in movies organized by the Special Events office will begin June 13. More information will be released later. Farmer’s Markets will begin June 3 in Carrick and begin in other neighborhoods thereafter. Social distancing and safe purchasing requirements will be in place.

Non-Permitted Summer Activities

Large group events that cannot safely comply with social distancing will not be allowed. Non-permitted activities include the following:

    • July 4 fireworks
    • City-sponsored concerts
    • 5Ks, the Great Race and other races (though they can be held virtually)
    • Summer Camps
    • Citiparks summer youth baseball
    • Summer Line Dancing
    • Pistons in the Park

Playgrounds, park shelters, and spray parks will remain closed until further notice. Swimming pools (including the Oliver Bath House) will also remain closed. While the CDC says that swimming itself is safe, the guidelines require at least six feet of distance between users and no more than ten people would be allowed at any time. It has been determined that city pool waiting areas, locker rooms, and lounging areas are too cramped to allow for appropriate distancing under these guidelines.

Activities To Be Determined

Final decisions on other activities and facilities have not yet been made, including decisions on the following:

    • Recreation centers
    • Senior Healthy Active Living centers
    • Block party permits
    • Mellon Tennis Bubble
    • Art Cart
    • Water fountains and water features
    • Park restrooms
    • Organized group sports including deck hockey, soccer, baseball, and basketball

DOMI Task Force

The City Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) has established a task force to study methods of using some streets and sidewalks to allow for safe recreation and business activity. Its recommendations will be issued soon. In the meantime, plans are underway to close some streets in City parks to vehicular traffic. No timetables are yet set, but plans are for the following closures:

More Information

For more information, read the full press release.

*Information provided by the City of Pittsburgh


February 20, 2020

Nurturing Connection to Nature for Health and Wellness

Join APOST and Pittsburgh Parks Rx at the Frick Environmental Center on February 28 to learn how spending time in nature can support physical and mental wellness.


Attend this workshop to explore how to plan engaging experiences that nurture a connection to nature by incorporating active play and mindful reflection. Participants will try out activities, share ideas, and receive tools and resources to help you connect youth with nature in parks or any outdoor space! A light lunch will be provided and free parking will be available on site.


To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

More Information

For more information, contact APOST at 412.456.6876.


December 13, 2019

2019-20 Carton 2 Garden Contest Receiving Entries

Are you interested in building or enhancing your school garden? Evergreen Packaging and are hosting the sixth national Carton 2 Garden Contest!


The Carton 2 Garden Contest is open to public and private schools, with contest winners selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative, sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Schools can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from homes, the community, or their cafeteria. After gathering the cartons, schools design and construct purposeful garden items and structures using them. For ideas, view last year’s winners.

Eligibility & Entry

Carton 2 Garden is open to all K-12 public and private schools in the United States. Schools do not need a garden to participate. Pre-k classes located at schools serving additional elementary, middle, and/or high school grade levels may also enter the contest. With this, all entries must document and share their gardening experience through an online entry form and submission of up to 10 photos.

To be eligible for the grand prize and specialty prizes, entries must also include a video link (under five minutes) that tells the story of the project in its entirety. View the Entry Form Checklist. Every student that appears in photos or videos must have an accompanying signed parent release form submitted with your entry. The form is also available in Spanish.

All entries must be submitted by midnight on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Click here to access the online entry form.


Fifteen entries will be selected to receive award packages for their efforts, including:

    • one grand prize winner who will receive a prize valued at $5,000;
    • four winners, selected for exemplary demonstration in the following specialty areas: Carton Act in the Garden, Environmental Stewardship, Health and Nutrition, and STEM; who will receive a prize valued at $2,000 each; and
    • ten winners (five middle/high schools and five elementary schools) who will receive award packages valued at $1,000 each.

More Information

To learn more about the Carton 2 Garden Contest, visit the Kids Gardening website.


December 9, 2019

Project WET: Getting Little Feet WET

This Project WET workshop will provide early childhood educators with developmentally appropriate water-based curriculum and activities for their early childhood classrooms. PQAS hours offered.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

    • properly utilize the Project WET: Getting Little Feet WET educator guide as a curriculum reference;
    • participate in four Project WET activities that can be utilized in an early childhood classroom; and
    • walk away with at least 10 new ways to incorporate water into the early childhood classroom.


To register and learn more, visit the Pennsylvania PD Registry website.

PD Registry Event ID: 306821

More Information

Please visit the Allegheny Land Trust website to schedule this workshop for your center or location and for pricing. Email Julie Travaglini at 412.741.2750 or for more information. For more courses like this, please click here. 

*Information provided by The Pennsylvania Key


September 20, 2019

Engaging Indoor Classrooms: Natural Materials & Loose Parts

Join Cindy Gennarelli, M.Ed., Director of Early Childhood Education Innovation at William Patterson University, for her upcoming webinar exploring opportunities to engage indoor classrooms using natural materials and loose parts.


This free webinar was designed to support the use of nature-based materials and loose parts in indoor classrooms. Common questions and concerns include:

    • How will these materials change the indoor environment?
    • Where do they go and how do I introduce the materials to the children?
    • How will these materials support children’s learning?
    • How do we integrate these materials without compromising the integrity of our curriculum and/or physical classroom space?

These questions and others will be discussed and answered. Photos of classroom environments, children’s engagement in inquiry-based, hands-on, STEAM-related explorations and discoveries will be used as examples. Examples will highlight the use of combining indoor classroom tools, materials, and equipment with outdoor materials to create richer learning experiences.

Learning outcomes will be relevant and aligned with approved developmentally appropriate curricula, pedagogy, children’s learning styles, and 21st-century skills. This webinar will be of particular benefit to pre-k teachers. Time for questions will be provided.


To sign-up, register via the event webpage.

More Information

To learn more, visit the edWeb website.

*Information provided via EdWeb


September 4, 2019

Kids and Caregivers Nature Walk in Frick Park

Kids and caregivers are invited to join the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association for an interactive, kid-friendly nature walk in Frick Park. Participants will meet at the soccer field at the end of the Fern Hollow parking lot, located at the bottom of Lancaster Avenue.


To register, visit the event webpage.

Learn More

For more information, contact Lindsey-Rose Flowers at or 412.371.8779, ext. 123.


August 14, 2019

Nature in Your Neighborhood

Join the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on August 23 for “Nature in Your Neighborhood” to experience nature in Homewood and in nearby areas. For this event, community members are invited to explore Frick Park while enjoying nature hikes and activities. Bring your group, your camera, and your curiosity! Lunch will be provided.

Registration is required and limited to 4o participants.


To register, contact Sarah Byrne-Houser via email at

Registrations must include:

    • the number of adults attending,
    • the number of children attending,
    • the name of the program (if applicable),
    • a phone number,
    • and any dietary restrictions.

More Information

For more information, contact the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy at 412.682.7275.