Don’t Run Out of S.T.E.A.M: The Complete Guide to After School Programs in Pittsburgh

Every parent knows that sometimes school just isn’t enough to keep curious kids satisfied. So what’s a mom or dad to do? If you’re running out of Netflix documentaries to occupy your budding botanist, or your junior chemist has depleted your pantry’s stock of vinegar and baking soda, have no fear! There are plenty of after school S.T.E.A.M. activities around Pittsburgh that will keep both you and your kids happy!

Snapology

Recommended Ages 

1 - 14 years old

Activity details 

Snapology is a locally-owned organization dedicated to inspiring children to pursue S.T.E.A.M. projects and careers throughout their lives. Founded by sisters Lisa and Laura Coe, Snapology now has Discovery Centers in cities across the country. Snapology offers a wide variety of S.T.E.A.M. and S.T.E.M. programming designed to get children of all ages excited about their education. They offer programs in robotics, game design,and team building, among other things, and they also have an anti-bullying initiative and offer accommodations for children with special needs.

Contact

Via website to reach Snapology’s corporate headquarters, or find a Discovery Center near you

A child in a blue t-shirt holds a controller to operate a robot made out of lego-like blocks in the foreground of the photograph.
A child participates in a robotics class at a Snapology Discovery Center. Image courtesy of Snapology website.


MyStem Academy

Recommended ages

Kindergarten - 8th grade

Activity details

MyStem Academy was founded by professional engineer and former Carnegie Mellon University faculty member who wanted to open up the exciting world of engineering, computer science, and robotics to kids ages 4 to 14. They offer after school activities for kids with any level of experience with S.T.E.M., making MyStem Academy a great place for your kids to try something new or to put skills they’ve already learned into practice with fun, hands-on workshops.

Contact

Via email at info@mystemacademy.com

A student wearing headphones works on code at a computer.
At Academy, students can gain valuable technology skills through workshops in JavaScript and other essential programming languages.MyStem


Lab Ratz Science Club

Recommended ages

Elementary (Kindergarten - 5th grade), or Middle School (6th - 8th grade)

Activity details

Lab Ratz Science Club is an organization that will bring fun and engaging science activities right to your children’s school at no cost to the district. Their program of after school classes includes one meeting every week for five weeks and covers a wide variety of S.T.E.M. concepts. Whether your child is interested in animals, circuits, or even bubbles, the engaging lessons are sure to have something to pique every student’s interest.

Contact

By phone at 412-965-3497

Lab Ratz Science Club exposes students to a variety of engaging S.T.E.M. activities, including fun chemical reactions like this one.


Carnegie Science Center’s Early Childhood S.T.E.M. Center

Recommended ages

2 - 6 years old

Activity details

The Carnegie Science Center is an old favorite for many families in the Pittsburgh area. In 2016, the museum expanded its hands-on learning activities to a younger audience when they opened the Early Childhood S.T.E.M. Center. The Early Childhood S.T.E.M. Center is designed to help kids use their natural curiosity to explore the world around them. Little ones can participate in weekly activities or even sign up for “semesters” that allow them to explore a scientific concept in more detail during one two-hour session a week for five weeks.

Contact

By phone at 412-237-1637

A young child explores nature with a Carnegie Science Center Preschool Program. Image courtesy of Carnegie Science Center website.


Sarah Heinz House

Recommended ages

6 months - 6 years old, or 1st - 12th grade

Activity details

After registering with the Sarah Heinz House, members are eligible to enroll in a variety of exciting after school electives. The Design Lab elective gives kids the opportunities to create computer aided-design (CAD) models to design and create buildings with support from Carnegie Mellon’s Steinberner Institute and the University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Design. Other electives include arts and crafts projects and robotics.

Contact

Via email at frontdesk@sarahheinzhouse.com, or by phone at 412-231-2377

The University of Pittsburgh's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and Carnegie Mellon University's Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research have teamed up with Sarah Heinz House to make The Design Lab a relevant and exciting after school activity for kids.


Protohaven (formerly TechShop)

Recommended ages

16 years old and up

Activity details

TechShop, one of the first public fabrication and prototyping centers and Pittsburgh, may be getting a new look and a new name, but the heart of the organization remains the same. Now under the name of Protohaven, the organization will continue providing a space for people to learn how to make their ideas a reality. Protohaven is slated to open its doors sometime next year, and it is expected to offer lessons on woodworking, metalworking, and design, which will be open to older teens and adults. Protohaven may also host Youth Studios for younger inventors, as TechShop did before it.

Contact

By email at hello@protohaven.org

Image result for protohaven
S.T.E.A.M. enthusiasts take advantage of TechShop's design space. Image courtesy of Protohaven website.

Pittsburgh’s growing influence in the world of professional S.T.E.A.M. and S.T.E.M. has created an abundance of opportunities for the next generation of great scientists and engineers to start flexing their mental muscles early. With amazing programs like these right outside your door, there are plenty of options to continue feeding your child’s interest in S.T.E.A.M. even after the school day is over.